I've always been in love with the fashion industry; it's almost unbelievable how vast, unique and important it is. A few weeks ago, I fell even more in love when I visited the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in California.
I had the amazing opportunity to go to their San Diego campus for the 3 Days of Fashion program with one of my best friends. It was such a cool, motivating experience - not only to learn about the industry and hear from successful alumni, but also to be surrounded by other high school students with the same passion as me.
While the three days flew by and definitely felt like a blur looking back now, I am going to do my best to summarize my experience with FIDM's 3 Days of Fashion.
- Career tables/tour: When we first arrived, we checked in and went straight to an area of tables where there were flyers with information on majors and FIDM students' portfolios. After my friend and I took every single flyer we could and looked through students' stunning portfolios, we went on a quick tour. The campus is small and intimate; it is one story of a pretty big building and usually only has 150 students going there. A lot of students start out there for their first year before switching over to the bigger, busier L.A. campus.
- Breakfast & talk show: We went up to the 15th floor, which had an amazing view, and the breakfast was WAFFLE TACOS. I was so mad I had eaten beforehand. After watching everyone eat their beautiful waffle creations, we all sat down and FIDM alumnus Octavius Terry came out for an interview and talked to us about his success in the fashion industry. It was super interesting to listen to his story and advice.
- "Fashion as 3D Art" workshop: So, we went back to the FIDM floor, and my first workshop started! We learned a little bit about fashion as an art and then we got white t-shirts and a bunch of supplies to design our own shirts. We only had a limited amount of time, so the pressure was on and I basically felt like I was on Project Runway. My shirt didn't end up turning out great, but I took it home to fix it later.
- 4. "C to C" workshop: C to C means Concept to Consumer. In this workshop, we were required to choose a specific style, create a type of customer, and design a mood board around those two things. This was one of my favorite workshops!
- Lunch: The lunch for this day was Greek food and it was SO GOOD. Plus, we got donuts and Twinkies at the end. I was in food heaven.
- "Make Your Mark" workshop: This was a graphic design workshop. We were asked to create our own brand, and then, basically, brand it. We were to create its name, design the logo, make a mood board, and just give it an overall look/vibe. This was another one of my favorites.
- "Redefining Retail" workshop: Although it was the end of the day and I was super tired, I still really enjoyed this workshop! It was all about how technology and "generation Z" were changing the game in the retail world. We got into groups and were assigned a certain area in Target (cosmetics, clothing, shoes, etc.) to create a line, technological innovation, and an advertising campaign. My group was assigned the jewelry section, and we decided to go with a bohemian line. All of the pieces would be made with Fair Trade certified products and every purchase would go to help women in impoverished countries. Customers would be able to track the progress of their money on Target's website. To promote the line, we would have Gigi Hadid do a photo shoot with Teen Vogue with some of the pieces. I think my group collaborated really well!
- Breakfast: Today, I actually didn't go to the main breakfast. There was a special breakfast for Fashion Club presidents that I was invited to, and it was a lot of fun. We got to talk with each other about ideas and accomplishments in our clubs, we received some gifts from FIDM... oh, and we got to eat croissants, muffins, fruit and cheese.
- Talk show: After that, we went up to the 15th floor to listen to FIDM alumnus Jason Shinn speak. It was super cool to hear someone on the business side of fashion talk about their journey and success.
- Trend tour: Right after that, we hopped on a bus and went to the South Coast Plaza for a trend spotting scavenger hunt. We were given a list of clues to stores we had to go to, and when we arrived at the store, we had to find one current/upcoming trend from a list. Plus, we were given $12 each for lunch. I was a little bit too excited about that.
- Breakfast: Again, I made the mistake of eating beforehand! I went to Starbucks... but they served breakfast burritos and they looked SO good.
- "Draping the Dress" workshop: This was another one of my FAVORITE workshops! Our teacher was so fun and taught us a bunch of different draping techniques. Then, we were able to choose from a whole rack of fabric and drape away!
- "Sketching" workshop: This is where we learned every step in sketching the nine-head fashion figure. It was a super helpful class, and I will definitely use this knowledge in the future.
- Lunch: Today's lunch was hamburgers, hot dogs, salad, chips... oh, and COTTON CANDY. There was an actual cotton candy machine there and everyone was so excited.
- "Event Promotion" workshop: Yet another one of my favorites. Am I saying that about every workshop? They were all just so fun. In this one, we got to choose a brand (either MAC, Marc Jacobs, or Vans) and plan an event to promote one of their new products or lines. My group chose Marc Jacobs. We decided to host an urban tea party and fashion show to promote their new spring line and fragrance. Below is our mood board, and here is the ad we created: Marc Jacobs Spring Launch Project
- "It's a Wrap" talk show: This was probably the highlight of the three days. We went back up to the beautiful 15th floor and were treated to an appearance from Nick Verreos (FIDM alumnus, Project Runway star, designer, etc.) He was so hilarious and full of energy. He talked to us about his life, his artistic childhood, gave us advice, interacted with the audience a bunch, and showed us his dresses on one of his models. After all of this, there was a raffle for his signed bags and then we got to have a meet and greet! It was crazy fun.
Overall, these three days created one unforgettable experience. I would highly recommend this program to anyone interested in the fashion industry. You learn so much, make tons of memories, and meet a so many cool and inspiring people. I hope to attend 3 Days of Fashion next summer - and every summer after that if I could!