FIDM Student: Sania Josiah

Students give an inside look at their college experience

Sania Josiah

Fashion Design

Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Monrovia, Liberia in 1990. Due to the Civil War, my parents, siblings, and I moved and settled in Ghana which is where I grew up. But by the grace of God, my family and I started a new chapter of our lives here in the United States of America and now reside in Providence, Rhode Island. I continued my elementary and secondary education and eventually graduated from high school.

I fell in love with fashion as a young girl because of my mother. She was a seamstress in Ghana and owned her own business where she worked from home. When I got to college, I pursued and studied fashion at the University of Rhode Island. From a young age, I have always been an artistic and creative individual. The application of my artistic and creative skills to my passion for fashion has ushered me into great opportunities. I have participated in hair shows and fashion shows where I designed for models. I have come in first place for fashion shows and I have been a valuable asset to faculty members, friends, and family members especially my dear mother. She had no idea of my capability to become a talented fashion designer.

With my invaluable experience under my belt, I landed an internship with a local designer, Kara Wickman, who was also one of the judges at a fashion show in which I participated. I interned as an assistant designer, assisting Kara with her preparation for StyleWeek Providence in August 2011. After graduating with a Bachelor's of Science from the Textile, Merchandising, and Design program at the University of Rhode Island, I decided to move to Los Angeles, California to continue my education at FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. At FIDM, I am majoring solely in Fashion Design, in the Professional Designation program. I am currently in my last quarter and I am open to working freelance or permanent jobs in the fashion industry.

What did you like best about the FC Prom Challenge?
The best thing was actually the designing part of it. Having to transform a thrift store garment to something fashion forward inspired by my muse, Janelle Monáe.

Where did you find your thrift store dress?
I found my thrift store dress at Out of the Closet, located on Santa Monica Blvd. The dress I found was a black, v-neck, long (dolman) sleeve velvet sack dress. It had gathers at the neckline, and both sequin trim finishes at the neckline and wrist of the sleeves.

Describe your finished prom design.
My finished prom design was a one-piece black and white flare pant jumpsuit. The bodice was made out of the black velvet thrift store garment that I reconstructed into a v-neckline front, open back style. The bodice front had a center front strap across the chest, which was made from a piece of the sequin trim finish on the neckline of the original garment. The pant of the jumper was made from a white shantung satin back fabric I purchased at Michael Levine, a fabric store in downtown Los Angeles.

How does it reflect Janelle Monáe's style?
As an artist, Janelle is always seen in black and white attire. I decided to stick with that color scheme while imagining her in something formal. When proceeding with my design ideas, I had to ask myself, "If Janelle Monáe revisited her high school prom, what would she wear?" Research on my muse also helped with my design ideas. It gave me a sense of her style, and which garments she wore the most. I always saw Janelle in a pant suits. She rarely wore dresses. This gave me the opportunity to create something different. Rather than constructing a prom dress, which was expected, why not design a garment incorporating a pant? Then I thought about Diana Ross, an icon, with her style influence. I meshed the two (Ross and Monáe) together and came up with a classic look for a high school prom. Having the pants flare made the garment more formal.

How did you hear about FIDM?
I heard about FIDM from watching Project Runway, Season 6. That prompted me to research the fashion school. I felt that even though I have a design background, it was more directed towards the business than the hands-on part of it. I also felt that there was more to the fashion industry than what I was taught at the University of Rhode Island, and I was right. I followed my instinct and decided to apply. I had gotten accepted prior to my graduation at URI then I moved to California after the summer to start Fall 2012 quarter.

How did you choose your major?
I chose my major based on my prior degree at URI and the experience I already had. I wanted to be a master at my skill so it was only right to build on it.

What are your career goals and how is FIDM helping you get there?
My career goals are based on working in the fashion industry as a fashion designer. I hope to end up owning my own business, and being one of the major designers in the world. FIDM helps by applying industry work to the course assignments and projects. Basically if I was working in the industry, the assignments and projects would be exactly what a boss would want for their company. Imagine the professor being the boss, and I am the employee—that is FIDM.

What advice do you have for someone thinking about going to FIDM?
My advice for someone wanting to attend FIDM would be, GO FOR IT! You need to make sure that what FIDM offers is something that you love doing. Dedicate yourself to your craft and manage your time well, because time management and execution is key.

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

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