FIDM Alumna Danielle Thaxton just won the ISKO Award in Europe. She has a degree in Merchandise Product Development and graduated in 2016 with her International Manufacturing and Product Development degree.
Tell us a little about yourself: I was born and raised in Aurora Colorado, but moved to Los Angeles to attend FIDM where I graduated with my first AA in Product Development and my second in IMPD. Through IMPD I found my passion for denim, and I am currently interning for Ralph Lauren in their Denim Department. I plan on staying in the denim industry because denim is such an amazing fabric with such unique characteristics and is a staple in the fashion industry and will never go out of style.
Tell us about the ISKO Award you won: I designed a collection of five garments for the "Denim Icons" theme to enter the competition. From there, ISKO chose one merchandised look that they wanted me to create and would go down a runway show in Venice, Italy. I was also entered in the Swarovski Crystal challenge where I had to figure out a creative way to use their crystals on my merchandised look. Through the entire process, the three students, as well as myself, got to work with companies such as Avery Dennison to design our own trims. We also got to go to Dystar where we created our own washes for our looks. I was one of three students representing the United States in this international Denim Design competition. The award I ended up winning was for the best U.S.A. Designer and I will be featured in Vogue Italia.
What do you think set you apart to win? I think what set me apart was I was able to draw the judges in through storytelling. I created a concept that focused on the process of denim as it ages throughout the years and I carried this theme throughout everything I did, from my trims to even the reasoning behind my wash treatments.
Where are you working now? I am currently interning in NYC at Ralph Lauren in their Denim Development Department for their men's and women's Polo. During the internship, we are also given a design competition that we will be presenting, so I am currently working on the concepts and the designs for the competition.
The internship so far has been such an amazing experience getting to see hands-on the entire creative as well as production process that a high-end global brand such as Ralph Lauren goes through. I have done everything from designing, to creating presentations, working with the fabric and wash team, constructing competitive analysis on branding, creating line sheets, etc.
How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? I think every class I took helped build the skills that I utilize at work on a day to day basis. I always find myself recalling terms that my co-workers say and I have learned at school. Even the organization skills as well as time management that FIDM drills into us has prepared me for the fast pace environment I work in every day.
How did you decide on your majors at FIDM? I decided on Product Development because I wanted the design and creative hands-on approach that the Fashion Design major has to offer, but I also wanted to know the production and business side of the industry, as well. That is why I found that Product Development prepared me the best for being able to understand both sides of the fashion industry. I decided on IMPD because I wanted to be challenged and experience what it would be like to work one-on-one with a company. IMPD helped build on the skills I already learned from my previous AA but also helped me understand the fashion industry from an international standpoint.
What is your biggest goal right now? My biggest goal right now is to find a denim company to work for, for a full time position weather that be in Los Angeles, NYC, or even overseas. I want to experience all areas of the denim industry from wash to fabric to even production.
Any advice for current FIDM students? My advice for current students is to no matter how small the assignment or task seems to be, don't just give it 100% give 120% and really push yourself. The more you think to this scale the more it will help you in the future and the more it will help build yours skills so you can go in to this very competitive industry and stand out through your skills and work ethic.
Also a positive attitude is key! Whether you are having to organize the fabric closet or seam ripping patches, remember that everything you do is important to the company and if they see that you are approaching every situation with a positive attitude it will make the work place a lively environment to work in, not only for yourself but your co-workers as well.
Anything else you’d like to share? Without the relationships I built through FIDM, whether that be the teachers who helped guild me or the friends I made along the way who supported me and pushed me to be the best I could be, I wouldn’t be where I am at today.
Categories: Awards, Alumni News, IMPD, Featured, Interview, Merchandise Product Development
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