Menswear Grad Zach Hall is On the Mens Knits Tech Team at Vince
Sierra Madre, California native Zach Hall, who has degrees in Merchandise Product Development and Menswear from FIDM, has worked for fashion brands such as Comme Des Garçons, Unholy Matrimony, and Forever 21. He recently joined the mens knits tech team at Vince, so we caught up with him to learn more about his current role and future plans.
Where do you currently reside? I'm still living in Downtown LA. I fell in love with it while at FIDM and haven’t left.
How did you come to study Merchandise Product Development at FIDM? I was living in San Diego and just taking art classes, not really knowing what I wanted to do with my life. On the side I was designing t-shirts for friends' bands and trying to start a t-shirt line. I met a guy at work who was taking a fashion program, and he kind of introduced me to the idea of making cut-and-sew items and not just t-shirts. Since growing up in LA, I knew FIDM was the obvious choice. Serendipitously, there was a campus not far from where I was living. I spoke to a counselor the next week and I was enrolled for the upcoming quarter.
Did you hold any internships or part-time jobs while at FIDM? I actually got very lucky and a teacher took us to the Comme Des Garçons year long pop-up that was on 4th Street at the time. The owners, Brett and Tak, were very accommodating to us and I asked if they needed any help. I ended up working there for the duration of the pop-up, helping design Los Angeles exclusive merchandise and experimenting with the layout of the store. Once the pop-up ended, I continued to work for both of them at different points, designing for Brett Westfall's line Unholy Matrimony and working at Tak Kato’s sneaker store Blends.
Tell us what you were up to between your first and second FIDM degrees. I worked for Unholy Matrimony for several years, then freelanced for various labels trying to stay afloat as the economy fell apart. It was a very hard time to find full-time work.
What made you want to return to FIDM to join the Menswear Program in 2014? I had always wanted to focus primarily on menswear, but the school did not offer a program at the time. I was struggling to find work and considered going back to school. I reached out to my counselor and found out they wanted to start a Menswear Program. I told her as soon as they get enough interest to let me know. She called me one day and told me when the start date was.
What were some highlights of your time at FIDM? Any particular lessons/life skills you use today that stand out? Our trip to the Dominican Republic was one of my favorite things I did while in school. It was a great mix of industry experience and cultural learning. I still reference things I was taught at the factories we went to in my technical design career today.
You were the first winner of the FIDM SuperLab menswear design competition. What was that experience like and how did it impact your career? It was very exciting to be part of something like that and I was grateful to be even asked to participate. I have been in a more technical role for the last few years and I have been itching to design again, so this was the perfect opportunity to use that skill set again. I met a lot of other great alumni during the process and I actually ended up later woking with one at my current position. The support I received from FIDM was great and I was featured in several industry publications including Apparel News, which is always a good look for your resume.
How did you come to work at Vince? Tell us about your current position and day-to-day responsibilities. I had just left Forever 21 and was looking to get back into a luxury/designer level market and was approached by a recruiter about a women’s technical design position. It was just a temporary job to cover the knits and hard woven's teams while another employee was out. Apparently I impressed them because less than a week after my contract ended I was offered a position on the mens knits tech team.
What are your ultimate career goals? I’m secretly still working on the line I started while in the Menswear Program called Katabasis (@katabasis.io). I will be launching a t-shirt line before the 2020 elections that will be a blend of high fashion iconography and political statements called Millennials Kill Ultra (@millennials_kill_ultra). At some point I will take the leap and be running those full-time.