September 12, 2017
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Ashley Podrebarac has always had a passion for fashion. As the FIDM Fashion Club President at La Salle High School in Pasadena, she was awarded the FC Presidential Scholarship to FIDM. She earned her Fashion Design degree in 2016, followed by her Advanced Studies in Fashion Design where she was chosen to participate in DEBUT. Designer and FIDM Alumna Karen Kane attended DEBUT, and that changed everything. Ashley reached out to the designer to thank her for attending and to inquire about job opportunities. Three interviews later, Ashley was hired as Karen Kane’s Assistant Designer in Los Angeles.
Tell us a little about yourself: A month after DEBUT, I was hired at 7 For All Mankind as an assistant designer for their new RTW sportswear line. A month and a half later, I moved over to denim RTW and Jen7. It was an amazing experience. I learned a tremendous amount and made great connections. However, after three months, I received a big job offer from Karen Kane personally to be her new assistant designer. I had reached out to her before 7 For All Mankind to thank her for attending DEBUT, and to let her know I was looking for a job, if she ever needed someone on her design team. After three of the hardest job interviews I've ever hard, I finally got the offer. Lesson: Hard work pays off; just hang in there. Persistence and confidence is key.
How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? Without FIDM I wouldn't be where I am, period. FIDM was a life changing decision and if you use your resources there to the fullest there's no stopping what you can do. Make your wants and needs known and they will try and help you achieve that. This industry is small. I mean really small so the more you network and make yourself known to people, the better, whether you're just saying hi to people in the hallways or talking to the Career Center about job opportunities. Throughout my three years at FIDM I've had two internships and three jobs, which is great because I was able to learn all different areas of the industry, which made me well rounded in my overall knowledge in how a company is run. Advice: Don't be nervous to try new things. Take chances! Example: I was a Fashion Design major and took a PR/showroom rep internship. You may think, what is a designer doing in merch/PR?? But that internship taught me the most! I got to travel and work with important buyers and do major trade shows like Project and MAGIC.
Getting accepted into the FIDM DEBUT program was life changing. Not only do you connect and grow with the nine others you work with but you learn hard lessons that are super important to further yourself. FIDM DEBUT really launched my career and was the best and hardest nine months of my life.
How did you decide on your major? I knew I wanted to do Fashion Design. I have a big creative bone and fashion is my outlet, it serves as a voice. I knew there was no other way to get my vision across to the world than knowing how to do it myself. It's almost like an artist with a blank canvas and throughout the project it might look crazy and people might not understand it, but somehow in the end it turns into this gorgeous piece. Same with designers. It's a feeling I can't describe but it's worth every hour it takes.
What is your biggest goal right now? I'm just starting with Karen Kane and couldn't be more excited. It's so humbling to work for someone who not only believes in you, but wants to see you grow with the company. My biggest goal is to wake up everyday loving what I do and never stop learning from everyone around me. Also being able to have stability. This industry is tough—not gonna lie—one day you’re in, the next you’re out. I'm more than grateful to finally be stable and work on growing as a designer and further my knowledge.
Follow Ashley Podrebarac on Instagram @ashleyneville_.
Categories: Fashion Design, Debut, Alumni News