Originally from Boston, FIDM Alumna Dani Cinelli moved to New York after graduation last year to work as an Associate Designer for MGF Sourcing. She recently moved back to Los Angeles to work in denim and is currently at GUESS, Inc. This is her story.
I went to FIDM and received three degrees: two A.A.s and one B.A. degree. I received my A.A.s in Merchandise Product Development and International Manufacturing and Product Development (IMPD). I then moved to NYC to intern for Ralph Lauren. That's when I started taking online classes toward my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Professional Studies specializing in IMPD.
I stayed in New York City a little over a year and once I finished my Bachelor's degree June 2017, I decided I needed to get into the denim industry. Previously, I was an Associate Designer for MGF Sourcing, designing for New York & Company Outlet stores.
I took a trip to LA for fun last July but then decided it was my time to move back to LA, the denim capital. I took a leap of faith, quit my job and moved back to LA with two suitcases and a dream. I stayed with a friend and after a couple months, lots of interviews, and two job offers, I started working for Guess.
I had to decide between an Assistant Design position at one company and a Product Development Specialist position at Guess. I was hesitant to go with Product Development as I didn't know if I'd miss my creativity however, both jobs were in the denim industry. I'm very happy I did accept the position as I'm learning lots and it only makes me a better designer with all the knowledge I'm gaining with developing.
I actually went into Guess for a part-time Assistant Designer position but the interviewer thought I was overqualified. He asked what I wanted to do as my portfolio was full of denim. I told him I'd love to learn more about denim and do design or product development. He went out of his way and invited people to join our interview.
I reached out to HR as I received a job offer a couple days prior and I needed to know if they were considering me. I ended up getting hired as a Product Development Specialist for Premium Denim Specializing in Premium Denim.
I love working at Guess; it's a bigger company than I'm used to and different job than I'm used to but it's fun. I'm doing Product Development and applying elements I learned in school every day. I personally manage the Factory Men's Product Development for Guess, but I also work on Factory Women's.
Every day is different for me which I love; it keeps me on my toes. I meet with the buyers, create tech packs, communicate overseas, attend fittings and wash reviews and more. Of course I also have miscellaneous problems to solve. We're constantly looking for new fabrics and trends as well.
Currently we are finishing up our FA18 samples and handing them off to production and we just sent out tech packs for HO18 delivery. However, one big challenge right now is it's about to be Chinese New Year so factories, mills and wash houses are closed. A constant battle I run into is costing. I'm always looking for new ways to make garments cheaper! Now that I've been with the company for couple months I'm able to be more creative. I am starting to research and develop to propose ideas to the buyers.
As I'm getting the hang of things I aim and hope to be able to work with our onsite wash house to learn more about different wash processes and terminology. I find it fascinating denim can have so many personalities.
As an East Coaster I do miss being close enough to take a bus from NYC to Boston to visit my family. However, I believe that this move was right for me. I have been so happy and things worked out so smoothly. I stayed with a friend for couple weeks, found an apartment, started freelancing while looking for a job and then I found a job. I have reconnected with some of my friends and I just love being back in LA. Being able to go hiking, to the beach and just the Vitamin C has made me so happy. Not to mention I set a goal and here I am working in denim!
Feel free to contact me with any questions, advice needed or just to talk! Always love meeting FIDM Alumni/Students. Email me at email@example.com or follow my journey on Instagram @dani.e.cinelli. To current FIDM Students & Alumni—never give up on your dreams or aim too high because I'm living my dream and you can too!