Three 2013 graduates from FIDM’s Merchandise Product Development program came back as FIDM guest speakers recently, sharing with students in the Premiere MPD Group their success stories. Kelsey Farrar, Jilli Joffe, and Rebecca Bunker are all now working together at the hot new swim and lingerie brand, Hot As Hell (HAH). They shared their paths that have led them from FIDM to their glamorous careers at HAH, and offered valuable career advice to the students.
While at FIDM, Kelsey participated in the both the Surf & Action Sports Study Tour and the Denim Study Tour. While on the Denim Tour, she visited Guess and learned about an internship opportunity in their design room. She applied that summer, was hired, and fell in love with design. When she graduated, Guess hired her as an assistant designer. Kelsey helped style Guess at NYFW, then went on to PacSun as a designer.
The founder at Hot As Hell approached Kelsey about working for her, and the rest is history. Now Kelsey does HAH’s creative content and marketing, including look books, website, and social media. Immediately after she was hired, she travelled to Hong Kong for the brand.
When Jilli was a student at FIDM, she had the chance to meet FIDM Grad and WGSN Assistant Editor Chris Tsuyuki. In fact, it was when Chris had returned to FIDM as a guest speaker for the Premier Product Development Group, just like these three grads were doing in kind. One thing led to another and Jilli was hired as an intern for WGSN in trend forecasting. She went on to work as an Assistant Designer at J+CO, then Guess—where she joined Kelsey. “I learned so much from working in a big corporation,” Jilli said. She now does all the copywriting for Hot As Hell, along with PR and styling.
Rebecca Bunker has a slightly different story. She was obsessed with traveling, and backpacked through Europe for two months after FIDM. She had reached out to a former instructor who told her about an internship at Roxy, and was hired two weeks later as an Assistant Designer. She designed kids clothing for eight months, then the job ended. So, she travelled again and when she came back to LA, she got a call from Roxy to do footwear. Kelsey told her that her boss at Hot As Hell was looking for a designer! Rebecca has been there for a year now, designing swim and apparel. Her work has taken her to places including Sri Lanka, London, Hong Kong, and Paris.
Hot As Hell has had much success. Swim Miami picked HAH to feature, giving them less than a week to cast models and produce the entire thing. WWD said they were “one to watch.” They hired DJ Alexandra Richards (the daughter of legendary rock star Keith Richards) for the launch party.
The trio of FIDM Grads took a trip to New York City to do the AXIS show, which is a tightly edited boutique trade show. AXIS asked them to attend and featured them as a brand to visit. “We’re not shy, as a brand.”
Hot As Hell is now sold in Greece and Dubai, and in the U.S. at Free People, TopShop, Anthropologie, and Nasty Gal.
The grads said they never stop working. In fact, they had worked until midnight the night before they visited FIDM as guest speakers. They assured the students that hard work pays off. HAH showed at Paris Fashion Week last October in a beauty gallery on the Champs-Elysées. While there, they were snapped by Elle and showed up in a street style post for Paris Fashion Week (photo above).
HAH is based in West Hollywood, and is currently looking for interns.
Categories: Advice, Alumni News, Merchandise Product Development
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