Recent Grad Moves to London After Working in Dubai at Fashion Magazines
Rima Varghese graduated in 2019 with FIDM degrees in Fashion Design, Film & TV Costume Design, and her BA in Professional Studies Specialization in Film & TV Costume Design. After living in Dubai and working as a fashion assistant for magazines including Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia Brides, and Esquire Middle East, Rima recently relocated to London to continue her academic journey as an MA student in Fashion Promotion and Media. We caught up with her to learn more.
Tell us a little about yourself: I was a fashion assistant at Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia Brides, and Esquire Middle East almost simultaneously in Dubai. My job entailed many different tasks and responsibilities, pretty much whatever my fashion editor and editor in chief required. I was a stylist assistant on multiple editorial and cover shoots; created fashion pages, galleries and articles for both print and digital; ran general admin of the magazines, organised shoots, clothing pulls, PR and was responsible for training new assistants and interns. Written content for me depended on which publication I was writing for, but it ranged from press releases and reviews to trend inspiration and style pieces.
How did you get into magazine editorial? I had returned home to Dubai for a brief period right before the pandemic really set in and I was looking to diversify my work experience. Previously, I had worked as a design assistant at an athleisure and swimwear brand and also was a costumer on multiple independent film productions, so I wanted to expand my horizons. I was always fascinated by fashion publications and fortunately Dubai was home to all major publications in the region, so I decided to put myself out there and try.
What is your favorite thing about working in the magazine industry? It was one of the most challenging experiences of my life and the most rewarding. I got to work with incredibly talented people and contribute and help create the publications that I had looked at for inspiration my whole life. It was by far the most educational career experiences I had, and I learned a lot about what I’m capable of.
Why did you choose FIDM? FIDM was one of the most highly credited fashion schools globally so was on my list of possibilities when I was looking at my higher education, my options ranged from schools in Milan to New York. But the moment I stepped foot on the Downtown LA campus, I knew this was a place I could really create and be inspired, and the rest was history.
How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? While the technical skills I learned at FIDM prepared me more for my previous experiences in costume design and in fashion production. FIDM reinforced the skills I needed to be a creator and work well in high pressured environments.
How did you decide on your majors? My choice to study Fashion Design was quite straightforward as it was the career path I wanted to pursue at the time and FIDM had a strong program to support that. But it wasn’t until I started at FIDM that I found out that there was a major to better prepare me for the film industry, which as a program was the most enriching experience.
Any advice for current FIDM Students? Network. Network. Network. Every opportunity you get, meet people and stay in touch with them. I also highly recommend becoming best friends with your professors and career advisors, they will be your biggest asset when the time comes.
What is your biggest goal right now? This is a hard question as goals change and grow as we advance as people, but in regard to my career goals I would love to work for a fashion publication that really moves and inspires me, like British GQ. And eventually I would want to return to film and television because that is my first love career wise.
Anything else you’d like to share? Over the last few months I relocated to London to pursue my MA in Fashion Promotion and Media and it’s been the most incredible experience. Despite the global pandemic, I’m quite hopeful for the future.
Also, I would emphasize this again, make the most of your education, because this is the time for you to really figure what you want and make important connections.
Keep up with Rima on Instagram @rimavarghese.