FIDM Grad Jasmine Ilarde

Pepperdine Grad's Depop Side Hustle Inspires Her to Apply To FIDM

Jasmine Ilarde has always been passionate about fashion, particularly vintage, and last summer she set up a Depop shop with a friend as a “side hustle,” where they sold some of their old clothes, as well as vintage finds and thrifted pieces. She loved it, realized that she wanted to pursue the business of fashion as a career, and late one night applied to FIDM. Jasmine graduated last month with her Professional Designation Degree in Merchandising and Marketing, with a Buying Emphasis, and said, “I am eternally grateful for the late night impulse that propelled me to make one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.” Prior to FIDM, she attended The Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, and Pepperdine University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Media Production and a minor in Film Studies. We caught up with her to learn more.

Tell us a little about yourself: I am originally from a small town in Tennessee but came to California several years ago because I knew I wanted to pursue a career in a creative field. I have been absolutely enthralled by the palpable creative energy in Los Angeles and the notion that this is a city where anything can happen and dreams do come true. In my free time I can be found at any and every flea market looking for niche finds or out and about dancing to my favorite bands of Fleetwood Mac and the Bee Gees. I am a sucker for anything to do with the fashion and music of the 1960s and 1970s. I am also a major sweet tooth and believe cotton candy is its own food group.
How did you hear about FIDM and what made you decide to go here? As far as fashion schools go, I had heard that FIDM had a reputation for being one of the best of the best, and there were a couple of people I knew from my undergraduate experience that ended up at FIDM. My journey of coming to apply and attend FIDM is quite interesting. I’ve always been passionate about fashion, particularly vintage, and last summer my friend and I set up our own Depop shop as a little “side hustle” where we sold some of our old clothes, vintage finds, and thrifted pieces as well. I loved it and it gave me a sense of fulfillment and joy that nothing else in my life ever had before, and I realized that perhaps I wanted to take my side project a little more seriously. One late night I started an application to the school and through a series of back-and-forth phone calls and conversations with FiDM alumni and faculty I decided to follow through with my application. I haven’t looked back since then, and I am eternally grateful for the late night impulse that propelled me to make one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.
How did you choose your major? When it came to working in fashion, I knew I wanted to take a little bit of a hand in everything with the hopes of learning the necessary skills I would need to perhaps someday open my own vintage/secondhand boutique. 
What are your career goals and how is FIDM helping you get there? Right now my active career goal is to work in a fashion career that lets me help people tell their stories. I realize that sounds a bit abstract but I think at the heart of what I want to do in fashion is to give people the opportunity to look and feel beautiful while being their 100% authentic self. We focus a lot on the aesthetics of fashion, which are undoubtedly important and help further the cause; however, behind those aesthetics are the people that bring the pieces to life by wearing them, loving them, and ultimately giving them meaning. Whether this be in the buying and merchandising realm or perhaps in a role where I would get to own and curate my own vintage/secondhand store, I know that I want to help people make meaning and find the magic in fashion that I feel every day. FIDM has helped immeasurably in my journey to achieve these goals. The ways that I have been helped are endless but I think the things that stick out to me first and foremost are the technical skill set FIDM has given me as well as the solid community that they have created in both the Los Angeles area and beyond. Working in fashion, it really helps to have a vocabulary for what is going on. From fabrics to spreadsheets to budgets…fashion is a lot more than pretty dresses (although there are a lot of those!) and I think FIDM really helps its students balance both the creative and the analytical skills required to succeed in this industry. FIDM also has alumni at every corner of the industry and they are always more than willing to lend a hand or to offer a word of advice and that’s something that’s worth its weight in gold.
Let's talk about the course you took at FIDM on sustainability. What was one of the biggest takeaways for you? I found that the sustainability course that I took was like a magician’s hat of information in that once I looked in I just kept finding more and more fascinating information and I never wanted it to end! Metaphors aside though, it’s hard to land on a singular takeaway from the class, but if I had to choose I’d say my biggest lesson in the class was the concept of circularity. I think so much of the fashion industry (and the retail industry in general) has conditioned us to always want the latest and greatest items and to believe that they always have to be shiny and new but that’s just not the case. There’s a quote from my class that says, “What if instead of doing less harm, we did good?” I really liked that. I think changing the culture around environmental activism is going to require a fundamental paradigm shift of us wanting to do good rather than just less bad. The fashion and design industries are some of the most wasteful industries that exist, and while that may sound bleak, we are in a real position to be the trendsetters and cultural tastemakers of our world, so it’s important for us to realize how much power we actually do have in this position. Change is possible so long as we continue to try.
Tell me about your interactive sustainability journal. What did you enjoy the most about creating it? Hands down my favorite part of the sustainability journal was the personal connection it encouraged me to have with the material that I was learning about. I think so much of the problem with fostering sustainability efforts today is the lack of internal connectivity. I think we often see the bigger problems of climate change and deforestation and get so overwhelmed by the bigger picture that we forget to start small and look within ourselves to find healing solutions to the problems. These are big problems, there’s no doubt about that; however, I think we need to be looking inward just as much as we are looking outward to solve our problems. The sustainability journal encouraged me to have a sense of personal accountability that I never had before, and I think it was a very successful way to get us as students thinking more critically and personally about how we can help.
What is your biggest goal right now? My biggest goal right now is to never stop learning. I know that my time at FIDM may have come to an end, but I want to remind myself that no matter what, I am always a student in this life.
Anything else you’d like to share? To any creatives doubting their potential, I would just like to encourage them to lean into what makes them happy, what lights their creative fires, and what literally or figuratively gets them out of bed in the morning because you’ll never know unless you try!

Keep up with Jasmine on Instagram @jasmineilarde.

Attend our Online Lecture Series event, The Art & Science of Fashion Buying, on Thursday, July 15, 2021, from 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM PDT. Register for the free event here

Categories:  Merchandising & Marketing Alumni Transfer Student