Grad is Founder of Jilaine Swim
From a young age, Brooke Shannon loved to draw and play dress up. A California girl through and through, she was born in Visalia and later moved to Huntington Beach, which inspired her love for the ocean. While in grade school, one of Brooke’s cousins attended FIDM, and after a representative of the college visited her high school, she realized FIDM was her perfect fit. Accepted early as a high school junior, Brooke enrolled at FIDM Los Angeles and received an A.A. in Merchandise Product Development in 2017, and a B.S. in Business Management in 2019. Earlier this month, she launched Jilaine Swim, a sustainable swimwear brand based in Costa Mesa, California. We chatted with Brooke to learn more about her collection, entrepreneurship, and the most valuable lesson she learned at FIDM.
What led you to start your own swimwear collection? I’ve always been in love with the beach and it increased when I moved to Orange County during high school. Ever since I was young, I was drawn to fashion and wanted to be a designer, but couldn’t quite pinpoint exactly what it would be. I basically lived in bathing suits and that’s when I knew I wanted to create a swim line.
Did you work in the industry before launching Jilaine Swim? Yes, while going to school I worked for a wholesale private label outerwear company in the Fashion District. I worked hands-on with different brands and learned so much about the wholesale process. I then worked for a fashion PR company in West Hollywood where we housed designers’ collections for wardrobe stylists, photographers, film and TV, and influencers to have access for projects. Through my experience I built great connections that I still cherish today. These jobs both were internships that then transitioned into long-term jobs.
Why is sustainability important to you? Sustainability is all about leading change in the way things are made and taking social responsibility. With everything going on in the world, such as climate change, plastic pollution, the loss of our coral reefs, and biodiversity, people forget that the clothing industry is a contributor to these problems we see today. After learning the harm that the clothing industry has had on our planet over time, I knew I wanted my brand to be sustainable and let people know that there is a new way to shop and what better way to make a global impact while still making a fashion statement! Everything down to the packaging is sustainable. The packaging components are made from either recycled, reusable, or compostable materials.
Tell us about the Spring/Summer 21 collection: The fabric within the suits is made out of recycled water bottles and ocean waste. It is melted down and regenerated into a nylon recycled yarn called ECONYL. It is hard to believe but it is super elegant, stretchy, and extremely soft and breathable. The collection features a bright, cheerful color palette, a fun retro pop art print, keyhole cut-outs, hardware detailing, and asymmetric silhouettes.
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur? Being able to be my own boss. It is an empowering feeling to be able to create my own opportunities and destiny while making a difference in the process.
How did you choose to study Merchandise Product Development? I was drawn to the process of developing products. I loved the whole idea of learning both sides of the industry instead of just strictly learning the designing process.
What led you to continue at FIDM with the Business Management program? I decided to continue FIDM after I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur and start a swimwear brand. I wanted to learn the ins and outs of managing a business successfully! Right when I was finishing my AA at the time, they just started their BS program that was available online. I decided to go that route and thought it best fit my lifestyle.
What were some of the most valuable lessons you learned at FIDM? Networking! I am an introvert, but when I get to know someone, I am very personable. The more I have networked, I have gained confidence in myself, and it has gotten easier to talk to others the more I go out of my comfort zone. FIDM is a great school to build business relationships with and a place where you can trust others’ creativity. I have also learned that you cannot do everything on your own most of the time and that you have to trust others in the process, hence the group projects we did in class. Because of this, I knew moving forward while creating Jilaine Swim I wanted to continue to work with other hard-working FIDM Graduates to support one another.
Learn more at jilaineswim.com and on Instagram @jilaineswim.