FIDM Faces

Jessica Harshman

Graduate
Merchandise Marketing

What is your current position? Styling Intern, Rachel Zoe Studio

How did you find FIDM? While attending undergrad and studying History, I was writing a fashion blog and became enamored with the global fashion industry and craved to learn more. I researched trends, kept up with bloggers, styled and shopped for my friends, devoured fashion magazines, and became known as the campus fashionista – I was even featured on Teen Vogue.com Best Dressed College Students in the Nation! But the major turning point was when I realized a career in fashion was a real possibility. My mother sent me a link to FIDM’s website and I took the career quiz, and matched with the Merchandise Marketing Program. I applied three days later and within a week got my acceptance over the phone. The rest is history; I cannot imagine where I would be without FIDM! Probably working as a sales associate wondering what a buyer’s job is.

What was the most rewarding part of your FIDM experience? The most rewarding part of my FIDM experience was publishing an article for FIDM's student magazine, MODE; making Presidents Honor Roll; presenting my final megatrend project to my peers; and making it through Textile Science – I will never forget the many hours spent with my pick glass and lighter, trying to decipher if a swatch was a protein or cellulose fiber, and if it was spun or filament. Finishing every quarter strong has been an accomplishment and I’m so thankful to have had amazing, industry professionals as teachers and mentors throughout this nine-month whirlwind.

What advice would you give to future FIDM Students? Get involved, sit in the front of the classroom, ask questions, come prepared, and look and act professional! Seek advice from your teachers; they are your biggest resources – not only for academic success but also for career advice. Ask instructors to look at your resume. Take advantage of the library and all of FIDM’s subscription services. You have some of the best trade publications at your fingertips – make use of them! Dress appropriately and carry yourself with confidence because you never know whom you could meet at any time. Get good grades but focus on extra-circulars. Time flies by at FIDM and you don’t want to graduate with any regrets. Most likely, once you graduate you won’t be able to work for free so take as many internship opportunities as possible.

Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Confidence means you’re comfortable expressing what you don’t know. Credibility is built up over time but can be taken away in an instant. Be smart about which parts of your persona you show and where. But most importantly: go for it! You have nothing to lose.

How has your education at FIDM helped you in your career thus far? My education at FIDM has allowed me to talk and write eloquently about the fashion industry. I understand what it means to be a buyer, an allocator, a wholesaler. I’ve learned there so many career paths one can choose from in this industry and my specific studies have allowed me to hone my skillsets while developing new ones. I’ve always loved writing but now I’m a sartorial writer– adding tint means adding white pigment to a color, fabrics are made of fibers, and Givenchy is pounced jhee-von-SHEE. I can walk confidently into an interview and ask the appropriate questions while staying humble and remembering there is always more to learn – but that I am an asset because I went to FIDM and can differentiate a woven from a knit, spot a fad from a megatrend, and calculate a six month plan.

What are your future career goals? My career goals are many because I have numerous interests within the fashion industry. My immediate goal is to work for a bi-coastal product-oriented company with which I can grow. I see my future career path as a spider web – not a ladder – because I am interested in buying, styling, trend forecasting, and writing. Ideally, I will be a stylist/personal shopper for a few select clients while I am working a corporate job. I am also going to continue with the evolution of my fashion blog ninelivesforfashion because it fulfills my creative drive and motivates me to keep-up with industry news and fashion trends.

Please Note: The information contained herein was confirmed at the time of original publication.

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