Alumna and Fashion Influencer Taylor Dini Gives Back To Her Alma Mater
Merchandise Product Development Alumna Taylor Dini is a fashion stylist, blogger, and social media influencer with 100k followers on Instagram. As a student, she was the Editor-in-Chief of MODE, and now she’s giving back to her alma mater by serving on an alumni panel to video chat with incoming students so they can get a jumpstart on their FIDM experience. We caught up with the inspiring grad to learn more.
Tell us what FIDM means to you: I hold the FIDM community close to my heart. I graduated high school early and started at FIDM when I was 17. I can remember my first day of school like it was yesterday. I went to the Student Fair and signed up for every single club that the school offered, literally. After a couple of quarters I narrowed down my attendance to my favorites: Student Council, MODE, and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK).
FIDM became like my second home. If you want to feel welcome and make new friends while you are at school, I highly recommend getting involved in the Student Activities Office. I became the Editor-in-Chief of MODE and I learned more than I could have imagined about the publication/print process. I followed that with my role as Student Council President for four quarters. Student Council was one of my favorite places to network, the various events, guest speakers and opportunities that came out of it were very helpful in jump starting my career. To this day, I still visit FIDM and the Student Activities office a few times a year.
What are your current career goals and how has FIDM been part of that? FIDM has been a part of my career goals from my start in the fashion industry. I began my career as an assistant to a well-known celebrity stylist. I saw that there was a scholarship being awarded to a FIDM student and they would get the opportunity to take part in a stylist workshop that was led by said stylist and many other professionals in the industry. After winning that scholarship I took it upon myself to go the extra mile at the workshop. From that opportunity I ended with my first internship that turned into my first job. After a couple of years in assisting I was able to build up my portfolio and go off on my own as a stylist. A current goal of mine is to expand my network of opportunity from Los Angeles to Chicago. FIDM gave me my start in this industry and now that I have moved, I am going back to the FIDM Career Center to network with new alumni in the new city I am navigating.
What are you doing to stay inspired during these challenging times? Finding ways to stay active and creative during this time is a challenge but a fun one at that! I have a little one who keeps me occupied for most of my day so I have incorporated him into my workout and yoga routines (there are so many routines for mommy and baby out there). I have been forced to get creative when it comes to taking photos for my social media and made an in-home studio using a bed sheet and wardrobe clamps. It only took 15 minutes to put together! The most important part of my day has become meditation. I am currently in Chicago and warm days are few and far between. In order for me to keep myself happy, focused, and balanced I have turned to guided meditation. I wake up each morning, an hour before my little one, and get my mind in check. I think this has been the key in staying inspired through these challenging times.
How are you showing up for your community, your career, and yourself and loved ones right now? There are myriad ways we can support each other during this time. My neighbors and I often switch off doing grocery runs so we can avoid having to go out more often than needed. I also have elderly neighbors and it is very risky and difficult for them to leave the house. If you make it to the store then maybe pick up some extra canned/dry goods to drop off to a neighbor or at a church. This is a challenging time for everyone so I have prioritized my sense of community. I always make it a point to check up on them before my grocery runs so they don't have to leave the house. One of my favorite things that I do with my neighbors right now is a bake off. One group makes treats and sets them up outside someone's door and they taste test and vote and then that person does the same at another house. It's a small and simple activity but it is SO MUCH FUN! I have prioritized communication with my loved ones. I found communication to be really important right now; not everybody reaches out when they need someone to talk to and conversation cures the soul, in my book! As far as my career goes I am still staying active. A lot of people are home and on their phones/computers right now so I have made it a point to post content every day and keep sending positive messages, motivation, and just my normal routines. Establishing some normalcy on my social media is something I have noticed gets positive feedback right now.
What brands are inspiring you right now, in terms of their response to the needs of the world during this pandemic? There are so many! I was happily surprised at the number of brands who are really stepping up during this pandemic. For starters, L'Oreal announced they will continue their L'Oreal Gives Back campaign, in addition to donating $250k to Feeding America. They will also continue the production of hand sanitizer and masks for healthcare professionals. Kylie Cosmetics donated hand sanitizers to emergency and healthcare workers on the frontlines. They followed that up by donating $1 million to buy face masks, face shields, and other protective gear for healthcare professionals.
Any advice for someone considering going to FIDM? If I learned anything at FIDM it is that your experience will be a direct reflection of you. If you skate by and do the bare minimum then you will likely leave having the bare minimum of opportunities. This school is a pot of gold and it is all yours for the taking...so take advantage of it while you can! Join clubs, go on Student Activity field trips, show up at the networking events, familiarize yourself with the Library and most importantly take advantage of every networking opportunity the Career Center can find you (there are A LOT). FIDM is a career college, you were accepted here to master your craft and jump start your career. I can tell you first hand that if you work hard, FIDM will work hard for you.
Anything else you’d like to share? If you are wanting to familiarize yourself with the school and get to know the people on the second floor, look into becoming a tour guide! I was a tour guide for about a year and found it really helpful in getting to know everything the school had to offer, as well getting to know my department head.
Keep up with Taylor Dini on taylordini.com and on Instagram @taylordini.