maandag 24 januari 2011

Diary of a Fashion School Student: Introduction

Editor’s Note: We’re always getting emails from readers asking where they should go to school if they want to work in fashion, what to expect when attending a fashion school, etc. – it’s clear that this is a topic you guys are interested in! However, admissions brochures (and old episodes of The Hills) can only tell you so much – it’s much more valuable to learn from someone who’s actually been there.

So, in this new biweekly column, our resident fashion school student, Caitlyn, will recount her day-to-day experiences attending FIDM in Los Angeles, in order to shed some light on what fashion school is REALLY like. We hope you find it enjoyable and informative!


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Two weeks after walking across the stage in a purple robe to receive my high school diploma, I packed up my most important belongings, hopped on a plane, and moved halfway across the country to begin my college experience.

As a girl who had lived in small Midwestern towns her whole life, moving to a completely new location was certainly nerve-wracking. But that wasn’t the biggest problem on my mind. Funny enough, I also didn’t experience most of the fears associated with first-time college students: being entirely alone in a brand new place, trouble making friends, or missing home too much – none of those really crossed my mind. Instead, I was seriously intimidated by the prospect of attending fashion school.

Mostly, I was nervous about my wardrobe. After all, during high school, the closest mall had been over an hour away and had little room for a fashionista to enjoy herself. I did my best with Gilt Groupe and other online shopping destinations, but I was no California girl and I knew it would show. My nightmares revolved around other students wearing Louboutins or Balmain booties while toting their beautiful Alexander Wang bags and smelling of expensive perfume.

That’s not to say I didn’t know about fashion. Back in high school, I was constantly reading fashion blogs, magazines and news sites, but what I understood about the industry was purely knowledge; I had no practical grasp of what it was like. Which, in essence, is why I chose to attend The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.


Photo Credit: 1, 2

You may recognize FIDM from The Hills (Lauren Conrad attended FIDM), HGTV’s new show Design School, and Season 6 of Project Runway. In fact, many Project Runway contestants graduated from the fashion design program at FIDM, including Leanne Marshall who won season 5. Also, Nick Verreos, a contestant from season two, teaches for the third-year fashion design program.

To rewind a bit, I first visited FIDM before my junior year of high school. Although it sounds cheesy, I completely fell in love with the school as soon as I stepped on campus. After all, I had never been able to picture myself attending a traditional university. I couldn’t care less about a huge campus, a bachelor’s degree, or football games. When I visited FIDM, it became obvious to me that the other students felt the same way. Plus, the school has lime green and purple walls with tons of natural light. How fabulous is that?! I instantly knew it was the place for me.


Photo Credit

Once I arrived in sunny Los Angeles, my concerns of not fitting in dissipated. Not only did I fit in, but I had never felt more at ease in my entire life. I was surrounded by students that shared one universal passion: the fashion industry. I was finally where I wanted to be, with a whole lot of ambition and enthusiasm about my brand new life.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share more details about my adventures at FIDM with you guys, including what the classes are like, what it’s like to live in LA, and the things I’ve learned during my time here as a student. I hope you’ll enjoy reading about my experiences – I’m looking forward to sharing them with you guys!

What are your thoughts?

What do you want to know about my fashion school experiences? Have you ever considered going to fashion school? Have you heard of FIDM? Do you have any questions about FIDM or life in LA? I’ll try my best to answer your questions in the comments or in one of my future posts, so let me know what you think.

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