Briana Juarez Gains Industry Insight on Fashion Disruptors Study Tour

April 18, 2017

Briana Juarez , a graduate of Cal State Northridge, is earning her Merchandise Product Development Professional Designation degree at FIDM, and recently participated in the Fashion Disruptors Study Tour in Los Angeles.

Tell us about the Fashion Disruptors Study Tour: I really enjoyed the study tour and encourage anyone who has the chance, to go on one. We got an inside look at fashion companies that are staying successful in these changing times for the industry. We visited Hot Topic, Torrid, Citizens of Humanity, Fabletics, TJX, Farfetch, Avery Dennison, Onestop.com, and had a presentation from Gregg Garcia from MyDyer.

All the companies were really welcoming and open, and I am so grateful for that. Some similarities I noticed were that they all discussed how they were changing to adjust to ecommerce and the social media channels, also that they had friendly, team-centered environments. We could see how much they enjoyed their jobs and loved providing for their customers. No one ever said, “I work for my company.” It was always, “I work for HER [customer].” In addition to all that, they answered all our questions and provided detailed descriptions of their jobs.

What was your favorite moment? It was really great to make connections among fellow students, FIDM faculty and business professionals. I don’t know how else I could have met everyone we did to make those crucial contacts for our careers. I loved being able to walk through company offices and see what could be an option for my future. It was amazing to see all the innovation from Avery Dennison; this industry continues to surprise me. Lastly, I had fun at dinner eating a yummy meal and getting to know Eva Gilbert, Alex B., Jeanne Colliau, and Gregg Garcia, more personally.

Tell us something you learned on the tour: The most valuable takeaway for me was learning specifically about the different jobs that make a company tick. My biggest goal in attending FIDM is to figure out what I want to pursue as a career, and I feel like the tour gave incredible insight for that. They were so forthcoming with their daily responsibilities and big picture duties, and I loved it. What better way to learn about jobs than directly from the people in them?! Many of the department heads and executives had similar beginnings in planning/allocating where they learned the fundamentals and could then translate that information into their next position.

What was some advice given on the tour that you plan to follow? We received so much great advice that I plan on carrying with me every day. Mari Popovics told us to always be curious and give 300%. Jeff Brumley told us to not be afraid of making mistakes, because they happen and that’s how you learn. Manuela Millington stressed the importance of relationship building and being self-aware. Finally, everyone told us to be open to any opportunity because you never know where it can take you.

Was there anyone you met that you plan on networking with in the future? Hopefully everyone! The connections I made are so important to me. I definitely pushed myself to go on the tour, to ask questions and to talk to new people. I feel like I can learn something from everyone. I made it a point to contact everyone afterwards and thank them for their effort and time. I also connected with them on LinkedIn. Some offered to pass along my resume or answer any questions I may have. Like we were repeatedly told, it’s all about the internet and using social media to our advantage.

Tell us a little about your background: Just last year I graduated from Cal State Northridge, receiving a Business Management degree with a minor in Apparel Merchandising. I chose to attend FIDM in the hopes that I would figure out my career path here. I’ve always known that I wanted to attend FIDM, so it is so exciting to actually be here. I love the Merchandise Product Development major because it merges business and art, which is how my mind works. Outside of school, I really enjoy hiking and exercise, plus reading, TV/movies, being a foodie, all things Disney, and relaxing with friends and family.

How did you choose your major? I chose Merchandise Product Development because it was described to me as a major that could provide many opportunities job-wise, and that it dealt with both the business and the creative aspects of fashion. So far, it has lived up to its reputation, and I feel it will be very beneficial to know how something is made from the beginning to the end.

Favorite class? Trend and Design Application with Mina Raphael; it was the first class that made me feel like a real FIDM student. I loved having to design our own mini collection and learning how to do that step-by-step. The Collection and Line Development class made me feel like I was in a team challenge on Project Runway and that was fun.

What are your career goals and how is FIDM helping you get there? Initially, I definitely want to work at a successful fashion company, but in my biggest fantasies I dream about having my own fashion empire/brand. I cannot say enough how much I love being at FIDM. The first week of school I came home with tons of FIDM merchandise for me and my family. I feel like FIDM is the first big step, of many, towards my future. It is providing me with the necessary skills and a huge networking community to take me to the next level. As a PD student I only have a year, and I’m sad that it’s going by so fast. Despite all the long days and hard work, I leave school every day feeling like I have learned so much; it is totally worth it.

Anything else you’d like to share? The biggest thing that I’ve learned from my short time at FIDM is that it's important to push yourself and just go for what you want, no matter how scary it may be. If I hadn’t challenged myself, I wouldn’t be living my longtime dream of being a student at FIDM. I am definitely trying to make the most of my time here, so if anyone wants to connect and make a new friend, here’s my info: IG @bribri_j and Briana Juarez on LinkedIn.

Find out more about FIDM's Study Tours.

Categories: Study Tours, Merchandising & Marketing, Student Life, Merchandise Product Development