New Film & TV Costume Design Student is Multi-Talented Artist, World Traveler, and Sommelier
California native Lynlea Michaels is a multi-talented designer and world traveler. Her life changing experiences include working at an elephant sanctuary in Northern Thailand, getting her scuba diving license in Indonesia, and traveling internationally as a restaurant sommelier. She has a Bachelor's degree in Fashion Design from Parsons and was recently accepted into FIDM's Film & TV Costume Design program where she begins her studies this fall. Her artwork has been chosen as the official logo for this year's Dana Point Festival of Whales. We caught up with the talented artist to learn more.
Admissions Advisor: Kathi Gilbert
Tell us a bit about yourself: I’m originally from California but I went to design school (Parsons) in New York City to study fashion design. After earning my Bachelor’s degree at the New School I spent several years traveling internationally and living in different parts of the country while working as a restaurant sommelier. Now I’m back in California preparing to be a student again!
Tell us about your artwork chosen as the official logo for this year's Dana Point Festival of Whales: I’m not a graphic designer but I have been illustrating for about 12 years both as a hobby and as a freelancer. This is Dana Point’s 50th anniversary of the Festival of Whales and each year there is a contest to choose the year’s logo. Individuals submit their designs and they are voted on by the public. This was my first time entering and since there were 73 total entries I had no expectations to be chosen. I’m very excited to have my artwork represent the festival, especially for such an important anniversary.
What are your proudest accomplishments so far? Well this logo is certainly a huge accomplishment but I’d also have to say that I’m very proud of the amount of international traveling I have done in my lifetime. Traveling is so important to me that I’m actually basing my FIDM scholarship project around it! My trips are almost always self funded and I do a lot of solo traveling as a young woman. Having had life changing experiences like working at an elephant sanctuary in Northern Thailand or getting my scuba diving license in Indonesia is something I’m very proud of because I know how much hard work went into making those dreams a reality.
What made FIDM right for you? I realized I was more interested in costume than fashion while I was doing my undergraduate program and so finally being able to engage in a program specific to that goal is very exciting. I love that FIDM is a small school and that all of the departments have the opportunity to connect and engage with students in other programs. I also really appreciate the emphasis that the school places on experience outside of the classroom and I’m seriously hoping the COVID restrictions are more flexible by the time I start in the fall so I can take full advantage of those opportunities.
Who has been your biggest supporter/influencer in guiding you to FIDM? I lost my job in March due to the pandemic and was feeling motivated to reprioritize aspects of my life and begin transitioning away from restaurant work and back into design as a career rather than just a hobby. I met with a family friend who also happens to be a career counselor at the beginning of the summer. It was through her guidance and encouragement that I really recognized what I wanted the next portion of my life to look like and that I wanted it to include costume design.
Describe your application portfolio: My portfolio was challenging because I had a tremendous amount of work that spanned more than a decade that I had to try to condense into one presentation folder. Because I am a little older I really wanted to show samples of my work from when I had been a design student in my early twenties to where I am now at 32 years old and to show pieces that reflected some of the life experiences I have had in that time. I also had a lot of fun with the costume program’s specific design challenges, such as designing a flight crew uniform for the year 2085, which really made me step away from what I typically tend to design on my own and to think about different materials, requirements and restrictions that I wouldn’t have normally considered.
What are your career goals? My ultimate goal is to design costumes for musicians but I also really want to have some experience working with period costumes for film or tv. I’m hoping to get enough experience that I can tackle a big range of different projects because it’s so hard to choose just one thing to focus on!
Anything else you'd like to share? I’m so excited to become a member of the FIDM community!
Keep up with Lynlea Michaels at lynleamichaels.com and on Instagram @lynleamichaels.