FIDM Faculty: Karen Kiefaber

Our talented instructors are industry leaders

Karen Kiefaber

Merchandising & Marketing

Karen Kiefaber has worked in the retail industry for 35 years, and is best known for being involved with a startup chain of teen rock and roll stores called Hot Topic.

Karen is partner with Stan Lee’s Comikaze and with RuPauls’s Dragcon where she is a host. She serves as Chairman, Board of Directors of the non-profit Pasadena Humane Society, where she has chaired several fundraisers such as the Wiggle Waggle Walk for the Animals.

Do you currently work in the industry? 

I currently participate in two events/conventions: Stan Lee's Comikaze, and RuPaul’s Dragcon.  I've taken my negotiating, pop culture/licensing and merchandising skills into this arena.  Prior I was the VP of Licensing and Music for Hot Topic and was involved with the company from the ground up. 

What classes do you teach?

I teach Applied Trend Forecasting.  Spotting trends and understanding them applies within all industries. I teach the skills it takes to spot and apply trends to the business.

Describe a favorite class project.

A decade is assigned to teams. They are to spot trends within that decade. They research magazine covers, ads, icons, and events to unfold what drove fashion, color and textiles. They see how trends and fashion flows from decade to decade.

Do you have a philosophy about teaching?

I am very current within the industry. Engaging is important. I speak from real work experiences, and am straightforward with my students about what is needed to be successful within the industry.

What do you enjoy most about teaching at FIDM? 

The students. I am fierce about their success. I give my very best, but in return expect the same from them. It becomes a win-win situation for all.

Karen Kiefaber is an Outstanding Faculty Award winner, an award given by the student body to outstanding faculty members.

More FIDM Faces