February 8, 2018
Jean Atelier product developer and FIDM Alumna Rahnel Alvarado returned to FIDM this week as a guest speaker in the Premier Merchandise Product Development Group.
As a Merchandise Product Development Professional Designation student (class of 2011), Rahnel met Jerome Dahan when she was hired at Citizens of Humanity. It changed the course of her career. Last year Jerome sold Citizens of Humanity, launched luxury brand Jean Atelier, and recruited Rahnel as his Product Developer.
She advised the students to do internships if at all possible. “You never know who you’ll meet or how it will transform your career,” she said.
Rahnel said what they’re studying in class is exactly what’s happening in the industry. The fabric classes at FIDM provide essential knowledge for a product developer. When making fabric decisions in design it’s important to know how it will wash down, for example.
“Attention to detail when you’re working in product development is essential,” she said. “The type of stitch you choose could affect seam allowance.”
Rahnel worked at Citizens for four years, then went to RtA as a product development manager where she stayed for three years, and has now been at Jean Atelier since November 2017.
Jean Atelier is going “old school,” she said, with a focus on classic rigid denim as opposed to stretch denim. The line has been on the market for two seasons now with a price point of $425 to $1875 and selling at retail locations including Barney’s, Nordstrom, and Elyse Walker. They’re starting to expand to the European market, as well.
Jerome Dahan, a legend in the premium denim industry, started Citizens of Humanity and 7 For All Mankind. Rahnel met him when she worked at Citizens under Adriano Goldschmied, known as the Godfather of Denim. She worked directly with Adriano Goldschmied on product development, transferring his hand sketches into the computer. She also worked with costing (sewing costs, wash costs), worked with the sales and marketing teams, attended fabric meetings, and created line sheets.
She now has seven years experience in the denim industry. “The love relationship is strong,” she said. When asked the best part of being a product developer, she replied, “I love creating.”
Categories: Alumni News, Merchandise Product Development