Merchandise Product Development Alumna Jessica Liao Launches Swimwear Brand Slate Swim

January 28, 2016

Jessica Liao graduated from FIDM in 2014 with her degree in Merchandise Product Development. She's now the Owner/Designer of her own swimwear brand, SLATE SWIM LLC, crediting FIDM for laying the foundation.

Tell us a little about yourself: I've known I wanted to be a designer my whole life, and moved out to California from Dallas to go to FIDM with that dream. After graduating, I was designing for BCBG and then moved on to buying at Tobi LLC. These two experiences along with FIDM, helped to shape my career and push me towards my own company.

Where are you working now? I am currently self-employed at SLATE SWIM LLC, as the Owner and Designer. My tasks consist of everything from design, sales, accounting, etc. Anything from pattern drafting to shipping out wholesale orders!

How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? FIDM laid the foundation for everything I am doing. I learned how to CAD, pattern draft, plan my business, etc. during my time at FIDM. I learned to apply every aspect from my classes to working in the industry.

How did you decide on your major? I originally wanted to enroll in Fashion Design, but after talking to the advisors, ultimately decided Merchandise Product Development would be best. I knew I wanted my own company—I wanted to learn how to design, AND accomplish the business side. MPD was all of that and more.

Any advice for current FIDM Students? My advice is to challenge yourself and get involved. Every single project and assignment you get is an opportunity to practice for what you will do in the real world. Everything counts. I would highly recommend getting involved as well, whether that is with the school, working with your career advisors, and interning within the industry. My internship at BCBG taught me a lot and opened many doors before I had even graduated. In addition, my involvement with groups at FIDM set me apart from other new college graduates when applying for jobs.

What is your biggest goal right now? My biggest goal is to grow my company even larger. SLATE SWIM is currently in 5 different stores, aside from our own e-commerce site. I would love for that to double, triple, etc. as time goes by. Also, I'd love to grow my team full of passionate, hard-working and inspired people that push each other to grow.

Anything else you’d like to share? Lastly, I'd say to never think any dream is too large or can't be accomplished. I've been looked at like a crazy person, and laughed at for my dreams. Everyone told me that being a designer for my own company was a one in a million chance. I always knew I would regardless. Not sure if it's blind optimism or tremendous faith but basically believe you can, and you've already done it.

Categories: Alumni News, Merchandise Product Development