“FIDM” stands for the Fashion Institue of Design and Merchandising. It’s located in California with 4 campuses in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego. I dreamed of attending FIDM in high school and finally moved to LA in 2013 to study Beauty Industry Merchandising and Marketing. It’s definitely not your average college, which leads me to get a ton of questions about my experience there. You’ve heard me talk about my time there, but since FIDM has a ton of majors, I figured this time I could have my friends answer the FAQs.
Here’s some background info:
Drew MacDonald: Major: Fashion Design and Social Media Hometown: Newfoundland, Canada
Lindsey Hughes: Major: Beauty Industry Merchandising & Marketing Hometown: Johns Creek, GA
Taylor Dini: Major: Product Development Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Drew Scott: Major: Fashion Design Hometown: Tehachapi, California
What made you choose FIDM over every other college?
Drew M.: I fell in love with the program as it was quick and there was little focus on General Study courses. I immediately learned how to sew and was designing garments from the first day I started. While researching other schools, they didn’t seem to have the same course structure that FIDM had, which was what really drew me to enrolling there.
Lindsey: I chose FIDM because the majors are so specialized and you go into your field of study quicker than a typical college route. It was pretty much the only school with the exact major I chose that I could begin directly from high school.
Taylor: I felt FIDM really accommodated my interests and had majors more specific than most fashion schools. I also liked the idea of an easy transition into a bachelor’s in business…and the weather wasn’t a bad thing.
Drew S.: I knew that I wanted to go to a fashion/design school and actually found that FIDM was the closest fashion school to my hometown. It still was about 2 hours away, however I liked the idea of only being 2 hours from home but still living in the city (DTLA). That was my main reasoning for choosing FIDM!
How did you cope with being so far away from home?
Drew M.: I struggled a lot during the first year away from home. I left Newfoundland a week after my last final exam and moved to a new country not knowing a single person. It was very intimidating and rough at first, but after building a strong group a friends I began to feel more and more comfortable living away. My friends really became my family and together we made Los Angeles into our new home!
Lindsey: I was excited to come to Los Angeles and live here so it was exciting while it was sad to leave friends and family that I saw every day and move across the country. I luckily was able to visit often and made great friends at school that kept me very happy in LA!
Taylor: Being so far from home was without a doubt the hardest struggle of them all. I think be open about how you feel with people a lot of times helps you realize you are in the same boat with someone else (cough cough emilyjune bug). I found that it’s ok to let yourself feel things and be sad for a little while but we can’t let it distract us from why we left or it’s not worth it to be there!
Drew S.: Welllll, I just realized that my answer previously answered this question a bit. I was very fortunate that my family was only a two-hour car ride away. Personally, I am not one to get home-sick so I tended to go home about once a month for a few days if possible.
What were some of your favorite courses that you took?
Drew M.: I LOVED my Photoshop and Illustrator courses so much. After a few weeks into my Fashion Design program I realized that fashion was not the field I wanted to pursue but continued as I was already in too deep. Luckily, my program offered a lot of other courses like Photoshop and Illustrator which have become huge tools for me which I use daily. Those classes along with the other design classes were a lot of fun as us students were able to get creative without boundaries. Classes felt like workshops and gave us room to collaborate, explore new techniques and most importantly, not spend hours writing papers.
Lindsey: Fundamentals of fragrance, beauty: wellness/spa, fundamentals of body & hair care, and survey of western art II.
Taylor: Art history, CAD, Color and design theory
Drew S.: My favorite courses were definitely the production, draping and pattern classes. I really enjoyed any class that was more hands on opposed to busy work/essay based. However, my favorite course of all was my trend forecasting class. Watching history repeat and seeing how trends make their way in and out of the industry was really fascinating to me.
What did you dislike about FIDM?
Drew M.: I really didn’t like the fact that students aren’t given choices for class options. When you decide which major you want to study, the exact courses are predetermined for you and there’s no room for negotiation. I would have loved to take more Graphic Design classes or even some Marketing classes, but because I was in the Design program I was limited to those courses.
Lindsey: I disliked in the beginning that my major was left to believe we would be starting the classes directly related to our major immediately like in the first quarter, but the beauty major didn’t get to begin any actual beauty classes until the second year of school. So we did all the general ed classes first, which was nice to get them done, but I didn’t like how the school didn’t prepare us for that. The school housing was too overpriced for what it was in my opinion, and it was a better use of money to rent an apartment separately from the school. The housing was nice at first to make friends, but I think it’s still too overpriced to be worth it!
Also the Saturday 8:30am 6 hour classes were tragic!!!! Let’s just say that.
Taylor: I highly recommend doing independent housing if you can. I found it beneficial to do student housing the first quarter but it’s pretty overpriced and a lot of restrictions so if you can, opt out!
Drew S.: I personally had a really great experience at FIDM. The only thing that I disliked was my first apartment that I was placed in when enrolling in student housing. The apartment was pretty awful for the amount of money that I had to pay.
Did you ever feel left out from the “normal” college experience?
Drew M.: Definitely. FIDM is not your traditional college or university “experience” but I was okay with that. I never really had a desire to join a frat or have a huge social life while attending college so FIDM was a perfect fit. It really gives room for each student to create whatever lifestyle they pleased beyond school which in my opinion is super cool and important for young creatives like myself. Most people in my classes were interning or already working in the industry alongside school, which most “normal” college students don’t do.
Lindsey: A little bit definitely, as FIDM doesn’t have much party life, greek life, fun stuff outside of school that normal college campuses have. You have to be independent to succeed at FIDM or learn to be. If I wanted the normal colege experience that bad though I would have chosen another school, so it was fine.
Taylor: At first, I did all the time. I think that not experiencing something a great majority of your friends experience is bound to lead you to feel that way; but, given where I am at now I am so happy with my decision!
Drew S.: I totally did! I was the only one from my group of high school friends to attend more of a trade/private school like FIDM. A lot of my friends attended a university and had the full college experience. Going to FIDM gave me the typical college experience in terms of classes however the lifestyle was a lot different as I had a lot of free time out of school. I was really thankful for this free time out of school and I honestly felt that it shaped me to be the person I am today. I really grew to be independent and feel like I developed quicker as an “adult” than your typical college student.
Any more questions? Feel free to ask on the Heart to Heart page.
Thank you to all of my friends for helping me with this! Check them out: