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Susan Lizotte painting fabric by hand in a FIDM classroom

Susan Lizotte Designs DEBUT Collection With Fabric She Painted By Hand

Born in Detroit, Michigan, and raised in Houston, Texas, Susan Lizotte has always had a love for fashion. Her parents and sister have supported and encouraged her pursuit of a creative career since she was a child producing fashion shows at home. “My parents turned our toy room closet into a backstage with a curtain as a door so we could come out in the looks,” she said. At Klein High School she participated in FCCLA competitions and learned about FIDM and Fashion Club. After graduation, she moved to Los Angeles to attend FIDM, earned her A.A. in Fashion Design, and married her high school sweetheart. She is now pursuing her Bachelor's degree, starting with the prestigious Advanced Fashion Design program. She will be showing an inspired collection at FIDM’s Annual DEBUT Runway Show event which will live-stream on Thursday, August 18, 2022 at 6:00 PM PDT. We caught up with Susan to learn more about her journey and point of view as a designer.

Tell us about your DEBUT collection: My collection is intended to bring an authentic feeling of comfort and calmness, in an elegant way. To achieve this feeling I designed it in neutral colors, with flowing and cozy fabrics. Along with these elements are soft, curved, organic lines with soft edges and gathers. Painting has always been a way to relax for me, and it was important for me to include that in a collection that is made specifically for the feeling of serenity. I achieved authenticity with my collection by expressively painting straight onto the organza fabric. The free-flowing lines of paint creates this calming, delicate pattern throughout collection. Modesty is also something that is important to me and represented here. I wanted to show that modesty can be, and is, sexy by the placement of curves, what skin is shown, as well as using shear fabrics.

What silhouettes and fabrics can we expect to see? I wanted to play with differently textures and weights of fabric so my collection includes Sherpa, stretch satin, organza, and ponte. The silhouettes are really playing back and forth with fitted and flowy.

What is your point of view, as a designer? My collection demonstrates my thoughts on the future of fashion. Fashion has changed with the current state of the world and has moved into comfort. Through added exaggerated details, this collection demonstrates that you don’t have to give up style to be comfortable. The everyday women can still be elegant without a dress and heels; she can feel good in her everyday sweats that have been elevated to fit this lifestyle change. In the future of fashion, modesty needs to be redefined. It shouldn’t come with a negative connotation but instead be a word of confidence. Through this collection I wanted to express the future of an empowered women in modest apparel without turtlenecks and long, covering sleeves because that is not what modesty has to be. 

How do you hope people will feel when they see your designs? An authentic feeling of comfort! I want them to relax! There is so much in this world to stress and think about; I want these elegant designs to take them on a mental stress relief, visually.

What inspires you as a creative and as a fashion designer? Honestly, anything and everything. Mainly the world around me, nature outside, and of course my family. They inspire me in everyday life which also turns into creative inspiration. I also get inspired by architecture and the different structures that are created. This collection is inspired by things that cause me to be calm and cozy as well as the curves found in nature and architecture.

What is a lesson you've learned as you've been working on your collection? So much! Unfortunately most of my FIDM experience was online so just being in person and having instructors who can help on the spot is everything. I also learned more about myself and that I’m capable of much more than I thought. New sewing and pattern drafting techniques are just a few of the many skills I have gained from developing my collection.

Tell us a little about yourself: I was born in Michigan and grew up in Texas. I have always had a love for fashion and I used to put on little fashion shows for my parents when I was younger. In high school I decided to take fashion design and even participated in FCCLA competitions. Because I enjoyed it so much, I decided to go to FIDM. I packed up everything and moved out to Los Angeles, earned my A.A. in Fashion Design, and married my high school sweetheart! We have the cutest corgi named Sadie and now I’m pursuing my Bachelor’s starting with the Advanced Fashion Design program/DEBUT. I work full-time as a Visual Merchandiser at Target, which was also an opportunity through FIDM; I love being able to be creative at school and work.

Susan Lizotte standing outside in her white wedding dress

Tell us about your path to FIDM: My parents and sister have always been extremely supportive and have encouraged me to choose a creative career path. I used to put on mini fashion shows when I was little. My parents turned our toy room closet into a “backstage” with a curtain as a door so we could come out in the looks. In high school all three of them, and my now husband, would attend all my competitions and helped in whatever way they could. Through those competitions I learned about FIDM, and loved watching the DEBUT shows. I started joining clubs and events that were linked to FIDM and offered scholarships. I then applied and competed in their sketching competitions, where I was able to get my first year paid for, which was the way I was able to get my foot in the door. My parents booked us a trip out to LA so I could see the school in person, do my interview, and participate in 3 Days of Fashion summer program—and from there the rest is history! 

How is FIDM helping you get closer to your career goals? It is giving me the tools and skills to further my career. It has also helped me with connection and job opportunities.

Any advice for someone considering applying to be a DEBUT student? Go for it, because why not?!? It’s better to do it than always wonder, ‘what if!’ Be willing to work hard and show up. Be good with being pushed and just go with it! You will get a lot out of this program and it will better help you in your future fashion career.

Categories:  Fashion Design Student