Fashion Designer and FIDM Alumna Jenna Piantedosi visited FIDM last week to speak to the Premier Students in the Merchandise Product Development and Merchandising & Marketing programs. Jenna graduated from FIDM six years ago, and is launching her own company this year. She shared some industry insider tips and showed some of the pieces from her Fall 2017 collection.
Early on, Jenna knew she wanted to design for the luxury market. She interned at Herve Leger, then was hired as an Assistant Designer at Bebe, which as she told the students, doesn’t have much to do with design. She said that assistant designers don’t design. They clean out closets.
But, she assured the students, you learn a lot by cleaning out closets. You use every position as a stepping stone. When you clean out closets, you work closely with garments, giving you an opportunity to examine fabrics and stitching details.
“You have to put your time in,” she said. Eventually, you’ll start to go into meetings. “Be persistent. It will come. And someone will see your work.”
After Bebe, Jenna was hired at NYDJ to design denim back pockets. It was at this point, that she decided to launch a high end golf line. It didn’t end up working out with her business partner, so she went back into the industry, this time as a Head Designer for a fast fashion company.
After one and a half years, she was hired as the Creative Director at Love Token. She told the students that she took a pay cut; it was more important to her to work at a company that aligned with her long term goals than to earn more money. “It was like going back to school,” she said, “but getting paid for it.”
It was at Love Token that she got experience going to trade shows and working hand-in-hand with buyers.
Then, she knew it was time—she was ready to go on her own. She started her own company, J. Dosi, a ready to wear lifestyle collection.
She gave the students first-hand insight into the production process, talking about import, domestic, and the cut & sew nature of Los Angeles.
The life of a designer is not only design. A fraction of the time is spent on design, then it’s samples, production, sales, marketing, and so much more. “You have to eat, sleep, and drink this,” she explained.
Her Fall 2017 collection includes a beautiful selection of jackets made from goat suede, Rex rabbit fur, silk velvet, tweed, and drum-dyed Napa leather. She let the students try on J. Dosi samples, and left the students with one final thought: “Believe in yourself.”
Categories: Merch Marketing, Alumni News, Merchandise Product Development
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