FIDM Welcomes Alumni Guest Speaker From Lunada Bay Swimwear
For their third and final meeting for Spring Quarter, Merchandise Product Development Director Miguel Barragan recently invited FIDM Graduate Priyanka Patel, Swimwear Designer for Lunada Bay, to serve as a virtual guest speaker for the Premier Marketing and Merchandise Product Development Groups. In addition to learning about her journey, Priyanka showed students a recent trend presentation for a client, giving them insight into how a collection is developed and sold.
Born and raised in India, Priyanka shared how she was exposed to fashion from a young age. “My mom had a boutique of traditional Indian garments and as a kid going into her store and being around cool designs always inspired me,” she said. “I knew that one day I would be in this industry doing something. I just didn’t know exactly what it was going to be.” After moving to the U.S., Priyanka began scoping out design schools.
“Through my research, and other people I knew, I found FIDM,” Priyanka explained. “On the West Coast and all over the U.S., FIDM is one of the best schools with the best Career Center and network.” She enrolled in the Fashion Design program, and began working part-time in graphic design at Carrie Amber Intimates, Inc. while she was still a student. By the time she graduated in 2006, the company, which she discovered through FIDM, offered her a full-time position as a fashion designer at Seven ‘til Midnight, a brand she was able to help shape.
At Carrie Amber Intimates, Inc., their private label business included major national retailers. She designed sexy lingerie at Seven ‘til Midnight and worked with sales reps and buyers on collections for Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, Nordstrom, Tilly’s, Hot Topic, and Frederick’s of Hollywood. “It was challenging but a lot of fun,” she said. After designing swimwear for Torrid, and four years at the company, Priyanka realized she should venture out beyond lingerie.
“I love colors and swimwear is all about color and fun prints,” she said. “Lunada Bay happened to be looking for a designer.” The Orange County, California-based company handles brands such as Becca by Rebecca Virtue, one of the top five swimwear brands in the country, Catalina Swimwear, Isabella Rose, and Soluna Swim, among others. Priyanka is celebrating nearly 10 years working at Lunada Bay.
During a Q&A session, Priyanka talked about a typical day at work, which can include sketching, fit sessions with a model, and problem solving, and how travel, fashion, and even interiors inspire her designs. “We take a lot of pride across the board with all our brands in our designs and how we do things,” she said. “When you work for a company that really cares for design it is very satisfying."