Citizens of Humanity Makes Guest Visit to FIDM's Premier Product Development Group

May 17, 2016

Carolyn Nowick and Laura D’Andrea visited FIDM as guest speakers from Citizens of Humanity, addressing the students in the Premier Merchandise Product Development group. Carolyn is the Director of Pre-Production, and Laura is the Production Pattern Maker, and both are graduates of FIDM.

Carolyn has been at Citizens of Humanity for the past ten years. But, she started off her career at Guess, working in accounting. All four Marciano brothers were there at that time. Georges offered her a move from accounting into design, to work in costing. From there, Maurice offered her a fittings position. As Guess grew bigger, Carolyn decided to go into pre-production, where she developed her managerial skills. Carolyn took a position at Lucky Brand for eight years, then returned to Guess.

She places a premium with getting along with people. She advised the students, “Always be willing to help other people and you’ll get ahead.”

Laura told the students that when she graduated from FIDM, she wanted to be a designer. But, someone told her, “You will always have a job if you’re a pattern maker,” so that was the route she pursued. Her first patternmaking job was at Z. Cavaricci (a huge brand in the ‘80s), then she moved over to Cherokee, then Contempo Casuals. Laura then got a call from Carolyn about a position at Guess, and she took her up on the golden opportunity.

For a time, Laura went out on her own pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors—a pattern making service—but she decided to let it go after a time, due to financial reasons. Timing is everything, and Carolyn called her for a position at Lucky Brand, where she ended up working for ten years as a production pattern maker.

Laura told the students how much fun it was to work for Lucky. “It was a healthy, happy company,” she explained about the company culture. She said that the founders, Gene Montesano and Barry Perlman, loved rock ‘n roll. There were guitars on the wall, as well as photos of rock legends including Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. “It was a lot of fun.”

Laura, an expert in denim patternmaking, was hired by Justin Timberlake to create patterns for his premium denim line, William Rast.

It wasn’t long before Carolyn called Laura again about another amazing job opportunity. This time, it was for Citizens of Humanity. Carolyn and Laura were both well connected with the founder, Jerome Dahan, from their days at Guess and Lucky, so it was a natural fit.

“We love denim,” they said. “We have a passion for it.”

One of the students in the Premier Product Development Group asked if Citizens of Humanity offers a patternmaking internship. The answer was that they don’t, but it would be a good idea. The student replied with a huge smile on her face, “Do it!”

After the meeting, both Carolyn and Laura made themselves available for one-on-one Q&A time with the students.

Categories: Alumni News, Merchandise Product Development