About FIDM

Frequently asked questions

We’ve put together answers to some common questions about FIDM. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us.

Is studying fashion the right thing for me?
If you find yourself on fashion blogs and websites, poring over fashion magazines, and constantly noticing fabric, color, and style, then studying fashion could be very exciting for you. There are many interesting areas to pursue within the fashion industry: Fashion Design, Apparel Industry Management, Merchandising & Marketing, Merchandise Product Development, Textile Design, and more. Each is unique in its own way—and all incredibly fulfilling and full of opportunity.

Take our Career Quiz when you get a moment. Determining the major that's right for you is an exciting part of the FIDM application process.
Is there a lot of pressure in a career in fashion?
Those who are successful in the fashion industry thrive in a fast-paced environment. The design industry is very exciting. Things change quickly and people are challenged with the responsibility of keeping up with the changes, from creating new ideas and forecasting trends to tracking business plans and generating marketing initiatives. It's what moves this industry forward and keeps it fresh.
How hard is it to break into the fashion industry and how long does it take?
One of the FIDM advantages is that from the first day of class, FIDM Students begin to integrate into a network of industry leaders. FIDM Instructors are working professionals in the industry with an extensive network of fashion contacts.

The dedicated Career Center Staff works with FIDM Students and Alumni one-on-one to ensure a targeted and efficient job search.

This paves the way for a successful path into the industry. Read about FIDM Alumni pursuing rewarding careers in the industry. Find out what they have to say about their experiences and how FIDM has helped and continues to help them achieve their goals.
How many students graduate and get a good job?
FIDM Graduates are highly marketable and have a strong employment rate across all of our majors. Everything about our curriculum and resources is geared toward ensuring that our grads are highly sought-after in the marketplace.

FIDM firmly believes hands-on experience is an integral part of education. That’s why the Career Center assists students in finding part-time positions in their respective fields during their studies at FIDM. Part-time jobs can lead to career positions after graduation.

FIDM Graduates have access to the alumni job search website, with a database of over 24,000 employer contacts and more than 1,800 new job postings each month. Career Center services are available to FIDM Alumni for as long as they choose to work in the industries FIDM serves.
Does it matter if you go to a university or specialty school for fashion?
What matters is that you choose the right college fit for you. FIDM is an excellent choice for students who are focused on this industry and know they want to further develop their creative skills. When researching colleges, look for an environment that gives you resources, support, and the relationships you need to be successful. Consider a school’s industry partnerships, faculty experience, degree options, and career development opportunities for students and alumni.
What careers are possible in Visual Communications?
Visual Communication Graduates are educated to convey the perfect visual message, whether it's in the form of a window display, an art exhibit, or an ensemble on the runway. Visual Communications Graduates are well-suited for careers including Visual Design Director, Store Visual Manager, Visual Stylist, Set Decorator, Fashion Stylist, Fashion Public Relations Specialist, and Promotions & Events Coordinator. Find out more about careers in Visual Communications here.

The Visual Communications Program offers students a diversified, creative business background in visual presentation, exhibit/trade show design, and retail and event marketing and store planning, which extends beyond the fashion industry. The same skills can be applied to other industries, as well.

FIDM's Career Center staff works with students and alumni one-on-one to ensure a targeted and efficient job search. Of the eligible FIDM Graduates actively seeking work, over 90% of graduates in all majors and programs found employment within six months of graduation.
Could I have a double major?
FIDM Students study one major at a time, however they can layer additional majors onto one another to create a broader marketable skill set upon graduation from FIDM.

You could start off with a two-year Associate of Arts degree in Apparel Industry Management, for example, then decide to pursue your education with one of FIDM's Advanced Study Programs in a major such as Footwear Design. After that, you might consider continuing on to earn a Bachelor or Arts or Bachelor of Science degree from FIDM.

In addition to the degree options mentioned above, we also offer an A.A. Professional Designation program for those already holding a degree. Our graduates enter the global market as highly trained professionals, ready to make a contribution.
Are there any majors at FIDM that would prepare me to work as a photographer and stylist for a fashion magazine?
Visual Communications is a major that prepares students to coordinate the clothing, jewelry, and accessories used in fashion photography and runway fashion shows. Styling opportunities for grads also include editorial, wardrobe on the set in the entertainment industry, and styling for clients on the red carpet.

At this point in time, FIDM does not have a major devoted specifically to photography. Some of our grads have used their Graphic Design or Visual Communications skills to create successful careers as photographers.
If I am looking to become a couture designer what’s the best major for me?
It sounds like our Fashion Design Program would interest you. Students in this program learn the hands-on, technical skills such as fashion sketching, creative design, draping, and pattern drafting. Couture bridal and eveningwear designer Monique Lhuillier, who has dressed many red carpet celebrities as well as the First Lady, is a graduate of FIDM’s Advanced Study Fashion Design program and presented a wedding collection in the FIDM DEBUT Runway Show. She made every single rose on her garments by hand.
I am currently attending a design college and would like to transfer to FIDM. Are my units transferable? Am I required to complete the entrance project for admission?
Whether you’re transferring to FIDM from another college or you already have a degree, we make the process as smooth and easy as possible.

One conversation with an Admissions Advisor will give you a good idea which of your credits will transfer to FIDM. It begins with the program you select. Courses from previous design colleges must correspond to the coursework offered at FIDM. The following classes are typically transferable: Color & Design Theory, Design Fundamentals, Art History, and History of Fashion. In the case of other design courses, the transferability decision may be based on a combination of factors such as course descriptions, student portfolios displaying a range of work, and a meeting with the FIDM Department Chairperson.

Because FIDM values your focus and dedication to the design college philosophy, we waive the portfolio/entrance project requirement for students transferring from WASC and/or NASAD accredited design colleges.

To request your personalized transfer information, click here.
What if I’m not exactly sure what I want to major in at FIDM?
That’s perfectly OK—that's when your relationship with an Admissions Advisor at FIDM begins. An Advisor provides guidance, direction, and information about the college and the industries we serve. A meeting and/or a phone conversation with an Advisor can give you a lot of clarity.

Your Advisor will talk with you about your interests and career goals to find the major that's the best fit. In the meantime, have you taken our Career Quiz? It can help provide some insight into which major could be right for you.
What can I do now to prepare for my future in fashion?
You can prepare for a future in fashion by working part time in the industry or volunteering in the arts. Read online journals and the latest industry magazines. Conduct informational interviews with people in the industry to get your questions answered as well as open up opportunities.

If you are in high school, you may want to get involved in the official FIDM Fashion Club on your campus. Fashion Club provides a great opportunity to learn about fashion and become a leader in your community. Find out how to start a club at your high school.

Also, it's a good idea to take creative classes such as Art, Graphic Design, Digital Media, Yearbook, or Sewing. Business-related classes can be helpful, too.
What is needed to get into FIDM? Do you need a portfolio? What are the application deadlines?
A portfolio is not required to apply to FIDM, but if you have a portfolio, we definitely want to see it. Those wishing to be accepted to attend FIDM must send official academic transcripts, two recommendations, an admissions essay, and a portfolio/entrance project, along with a completed application. On FIDM.edu, please visit How To Apply for all the details.

It is best to start the process by speaking with an Admissions Advisor. The Advisor can answer any questions you might have, plus walk you through the admissions requirements. If you would like this type of assistance, please call 800.624.1200 within the USA and Canada or 213.624.1201 outside of the USA. Click here to send FIDM an Information Request

Students may start at any quarter. Contact FIDM right away to find out the deadlines for financial aid, scholarships, and housing for the quarter you wish to start.
Do you have to study fashion in New York or California to be successful?
Location is what it really comes down to. California has a huge design industry that stretches across all areas of creativity. Most of the opportunities in the surf and action sports industries are in California. The entertainment capital of the world—with all of its red carpet, film, and television opportunities—is located in California. This is one of the reasons why the college was opened in California. From the beginning, FIDM’s mission was to build industry relationships in order to benefit the industry as well as the students. Read more about FIDM's story here.
What’s the difference between studying fashion at a regular college and a fashion college?
There is a focused intensity when a student studies fashion at FIDM because of our industry instructors, student-centered learning techniques, and industry partnerships and connections. FIDM is a specialized, private college dedicated to educating students for the industries in which it serves. Our goal is to create incredible career opportunities for our students and graduates.
Will I be able to find a job as a fashion designer?
Did you know that out of all the fashion designers in the world, only a small percentage have names that you would recognize? Yet behind every famous fashion name and apparel manufacturer, there is an entire team of fashion designers doing what they love, with incredibly rewarding, successful careers.

During the Admissions process, FIDM Advisors make it a priority to discuss with students the wide variety of career opportunities available in the fashion industry. For example, students discover that fashion design is also a critical part of the Merchandise Product Development major, which teaches techniques for developing and marketing new and innovative apparel and accessory products.
Can I afford college and is it worth the cost?
When students focus on something they love and learn to do it well, that is worth a great deal. A great career makes college worth the price, and that's exactly what students get at FIDM. It’s a lifetime investment in a student’s future, and an investment in education never depreciates. Many students qualify for state and federal grants and loans. They may also apply for a variety of scholarships.
I work during the week. Does FIDM have a schedule that will work for me? What about internships?
It is FIDM’s philosophy that an education and work experience go hand-in-hand. Full-time Career Advisors work closely with students to find the right industry-related internships and part-time positions.

FIDM’s flexible scheduling means students have several scheduling options within our quarter system for Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring terms. Each of our four campuses offers a wide range of specialized programs for students.
Should I attend FIDM for one, two, three, or four years?
FIDM's Associate of Arts programs are an excellent fit for students who want to work hard to gain their education and move right into the industry in one to two years.

The Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts Degree programs are comprehensive study programs for FIDM Associate of Arts Degree graduates who want to layer their degrees and graduate with a Bachelor's Degree within a total of three to four years.*

Students who already have a college degree from another college can an apply to one of our one year Associate of Arts Professional Designation Degree programs.

For more information about the types of FIDM degree programs, click here.

* Some Bachelor's Degree programs require prior completion of A.A. Advanced Study Degree or Associate of Arts Advanced Study Degree. Visit our Degrees page for details.
What are some dos and don'ts when it comes to choosing your career in the fashion industry?
Do go into the fashion industry if you have a passion for fashion, design, and/or business. Don't go into the fashion industry if you have preconceived notions about a glamorous lifestyle. While it is very exciting and fast-paced, it takes hard work and dedication to become successful.
Will a designer ever volunteer to mentor and guide a teen into the fashion world?
Many creative people want to mentor and guide students who want to learn. If you know someone who is in the fashion industry, ask them for an informational interview. Also, you may be interested in joining or starting an official FIDM Fashion Club at your high school. It will provide wonderful opportunities for you to act on your ambition.
What is the difference between fashion merchandising and visual merchandising?
Merchandising is about the selection and display of product, regardless of what it is. Fashion Merchandising focuses on the apparel side of the industry whereas visual merchandising focuses on creating a story visually with the product. This could be in print, media, display, windows, etc.
Is it common for students to study fashion right after graduation from high school? Do I need to know how to draw?
The majority of our student population attends FIDM straight from high school, although some of our students have completed some general education courses at other colleges or hold prior degrees. Previous college experience or industry experience is not required in the FIDM Admissions process, however completing high school or college courses in drawing is recommended.

FIDM provides classes that teach established sketching techniques and help develop our students' ability to draw if it is required in their major. We prepare our students to fully understand and become proficient in the artistic, technical, and creative processes of the unique industries we serve.

Students with a regionally accredited degree or a certified international degree have the opportunity to complement their previous education by enrolling in a Professional Designation Degree Program.