Merchandise Product Development
Jordan Coats recently graduated from the Merchandise Product Development Professional Designation Program, and is already working at fashion label Robert Rodriguez as a Fabric Research and Development Assistant in Los Angeles!
Tell us a little about yourself:
I have always been a very dedicated and driven person. From a young age I knew I wanted to accomplish many things in my lifetime. One of my main goals was to be successful doing something I was passionate about. I knew that every day counted, so I started early in my path toward the business world. I was involved in many business clubs in high school, such as BPA (Business Professionals of America), Finance Academy, and DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America), placing 3rd at a National Competition Level. That all led me to pursuing my Bachelor's Degree in Business Management at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, UT. Always striving to be ahead of the game, I completed my Bachelor's degree in just three years. During my last year at Westminster, I really had to ask myself which industry I would eventually want to be a part of and what I was the most passionate about in life. My answer, with no doubt in my mind, was the fashion industry. I had based the majority of my school projects in college around the fashion industry. I loved fashion from an early age and was guided in that direction by my mother who always had me in the trendiest outfits as a child. I knew that I would be the happiest working in that industry and that is what led me to furthering my education at FIDM. I knew that this school would give me all the knowledge I would need to start on my career path.
Aside from the school and business aspect of my life, I love to be adventurous! I have a very intense passion for traveling. I love exploring parts of the world I have never visited. I love being immersed in the culture and realizing that there is so much more out there than what we always see in our daily routines. I believe that it is very important to have an understanding that people all around the world have many different ways of life. Believe it or not, my next favorite hobby would be camping. I love the wilderness and that comes from growing up surrounded by it. I grew up in Idaho and went camping with my family every year. It is a part of my summer routine and summer would not be complete without it. Redfish Lake near Stanley, Idaho is one of the places in the world where I feel the most content and creative. It's a very inspirational and beautiful place. Last, but not least, I am the oldest of four children in my family and I think that one of my biggest goals in life has been to set a good example for my younger siblings. I wanted to, more than anything, let them know that you can do anything you set your mind to if you work hard enough and want it for all of the right reasons.
Tell us about your new position in the fabric department at Robert Rodriguez:
My position is all about the fabric from beginning to end, which is a very important part of the design process. My responsibilities include assisting my manager in supplying the design department with many different fabric options for designs based on the direction of the season. I research to find the highest quality and trendy fabrics that will help to keep the integrity of the Robert Rodriguez brand and satisfy our current customers, while also gaining new ones. I am responsible for communicating with vendors all over the world in order to purchase the fabric that is necessary for sampling and production. Also, making sure that design and production are all on the same page with fabric information so that we can effectively build our brand and create the new collections for the seasons collectively and efficiently. I enjoy everything about my position and look forward to going to work every day. I am very lucky to be working closely with some of the most amazing people in the industry!
How did you find out about FIDM and how did you know FIDM was the right college for you?
I found out about FIDM through a close friend who was looking into attending. I did quite a bit of research about the school and went for a visit. After that I knew that it was right for me. Just looking into the classrooms and seeing what the students were being taught inspired me. I was so intrigued and all I wanted to do was learn it all myself.
How did you decide on your major?
With my business background, I wanted a major that combined business with fashion. I am the type of person that loves to be creative, but likes to understand the entire process from start to finish with everything. Merchandise Product Development seemed like it would teach me just that and it did.
What was your favorite class or who was your favorite instructor and why?
My favorite class was Brand Portfolio. I loved this class because it was the culmination of everything I had learned. I was now able to put all of the pieces together and use all of my newly found techniques and skills to create a collection for a brand that was 100% about my abilities. I like to be able to start something from scratch and see the end result, and this class was exactly that.
How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you’re doing now?
FIDM was amazing preparation for what I am doing now. To be honest, without FIDM I would be lost if someone had thrown me into this position. Although you may enjoy the fashion industry and think you know a lot about it, there are so many little details that you may not realize go into it—even down to the terminology that is used in the industry on a day to day basis. Everything I learned at FIDM was necessary for me to succeed in the position that I am in now. I definitely am very grateful for the textile classes I had because, although I am still learning a lot at work, I have more than a solid background when it comes to knowing my fabrics and how they will work for a specific garment, which is a main part of my position.
Any advice for current FIDM Students?
Every detail counts. Although things may seem tedious and maybe even redundant sometimes, it is all necessary in preparing you for the real world. Pay attention to detail and never let yourself stop wanting to learn. And, oh, those all-nighters you pull for finals will end up being worth the great story afterwards!
What is your biggest goal right now?
My biggest goal right now is to learn as much as I can about the industry and the process from an insider’s point of view. I just want to build a solid foundation for myself so that I can make my way up in this company or be able to take on any other opportunity that presents itself to me. I will never turn down any opportunity to learn and succeed. At this point in time I am content with where I am, but once I have some experience in the industry, I know that it will only be a matter of time before my mind starts to piece together all of the possibilities out there for me. I am surrounded by creativity and I know that it will only benefit my creative ability.
Please Note: The information contained herein was confirmed at the time of original publication.