Grad Designs Elevated Menswear for the Big and Tall Market
Born and raised in Burbank, California, Rosemarie Ravenwood attended Burbank High School prior to joining the U.S. Marine Corps. After serving for nearly four years as an administrative specialist, she found the transition to civilian life difficult, but a newfound interest in fashion and beauty led Rosemarie to FIDM. After earning a degree in Apparel Industry Management, she studied Menswear, and recently graduated from the Advanced Study program. This fall, she’ll begin the Business Management program at FIDM to earn a B.S. degree. We chatted with Rosemarie about her path to FIDM, why she chose to design for big and tall men, and where she’s headed in the future.
How did you first hear about FIDM? When I first learned I wanted to go to school for apparel, I researched all the fashion schools in my area. I originally wanted to attend for Fashion Design, however after a conversation with my counselor, I decided Apparel Industry Management was the better degree for me to start with. After that discussion and a campus tour I knew this was the school I wanted to attend.
When did you develop an interest in design? For years, I was a plus size lady. During that time, very slowly, more and more companies started to offer plus sizes. This changed my world; over time I was able to start to understand what type of “style” I really was, instead of just buying whatever fit and matched. After my first degree at FIDM, I learned that I loved and was fascinated by the apparel industry, but it wasn’t until I started my second degree in Menswear, that I realized I really enjoyed designing and merchandising. I realized that with menswear there isn’t a big selection for big and tall men. Once I found a market that I understood and connected with, I felt very passionate towards designing.
What led you to the Menswear program at FIDM? In 2016, I got out of the Marine Corps and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Transitioning into civilian life was difficult. My mother made me watch this show called RuPaul’s Drag Race. After watching the show, I fell in love with fashion, design, makeup, men, women, and more importantly I loved the before and after transitions. This passion for the arts sent me to Elegance International School of Professional Makeup and I obtained a certificate in Beauty & FX makeup in 2017. I then started FIDM in 2018 and obtained an Associates of Arts in Apparel Industry Management in 2020. After that, I started my Advanced Associate of Arts in Menswear which I recently completed this past June 2021. I am registered to start my Bachelor of Science in Business Management this Fall 2021, which I should complete by June 2022.
Tell us about your work for the Menswear Student Exhibition: The whole program definitely molded me into a better designer, looking at my work from before, there is a huge difference in creation and detail. When creating my collection, Carpe Noctem, I was heavily influenced by luxury designers such as Dior, Chanel, Gucci, Versace, and others. What I tried to focus on the most was choosing the fabric and making sure it was luxurious, soft to the touch, and comfortable. Instead of polyester lining, I used a satin silk lining for my suit. I also wanted to make sure all the trims matched each other and that the alignment of the seams matched together with the pattern.
What is your unique design vision? After researching big and tall menswear, I learned that there was not a big selection to choose from. A lot of it is loud, bright, campy, has lots of patterns, or is very casual and laid back. There is more loungewear for big and tall men than there are flattering silhouettes. Knowing this, I did my best to create my collection with luxurious fabrics and classy yet sexy, sophisticated silhouettes.
What is a valuable lesson you’ve learned in this Advanced Study program? Before this program I did not have much knowledge of pattern making. My instructor Mr. Hoover was amazing at teaching me how to create every single pattern piece for every garment in my collection. It took months to create my patterns, but I felt so extremely proud of myself for completing them. I also had done tech packs beforehand, but I was not confident in myself. Thanks to my teacher Mr. Chang I completed all my tech packs and cost sheets on my own as well!
How is FIDM helping you get closer to your career goals? My career goal is to be a technical designer for menswear. Thanks to this program I have a much better understanding of merchandising, pattern making, and technical design. Once I have completed my B.S. in Business Management, I hope to someday start my own business or eventually work for a luxury brand as a senior technical designer.
Anything else you'd like to share? I think it is funny how little I knew of the apparel industry or even fashion before I started FIDM. I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career; I just knew that the field of work I had chosen made me happy and felt like the right choice. Two degrees later I’m still very excited and curious about what I can learn next.
Learn more online at behance.net/roseravenwood/projects and on Instagram @Morticia_Rose.