FIDM Grad Ashley Podrebarac was just recruited from 7 For All Mankind to work for designer Karen Kane, and it all started with Fashion Club! As the FIDM Fashion Club President at La Salle High School in Pasadena, Ashley was awarded the FC Presidential Scholarship to FIDM where she earned her Fashion Design degree in 2016, followed by her Advanced Studies in Fashion Design. We sat down with her to find out more about her Fashion Club experience.
My high school did not have a great arts program. If you didn’t act or paint, you were out of luck. I knew I wanted to do something more creative than that, but didn’t have funding. I spent the next few months in my junior year calling colleges to see if they will help fund a program for my school. That is when I got in contact with FIDM. I had never heard of FIDM before and after I met with my advisor and took a tour I knew I had to partner with them to create a club. I also knew I had to go there for college—FIDM spoke to all my needs and inspired me. As you know, FIDM calls their high school program Fashion Club, however being a small school it was hard to get guys to join “Fashion Club,” so I decided to call it “Design Class.” It was still a slow start, but it worked. I want to share some lessons I learned, so you can benefit from my experience.
1. Spread the word about scholarships.
Let people know about all the scholarship opportunities when they sign up. They are huge and super beneficial.
2. Have regular meetings.
Meet once a week at a time that works for everyone. A short meeting at lunch worked best for us.
3. Come up with a game plan.
Instead of little projects throughout the year, we decided we would do two big projects—kind of like midterms and finals. Then we would schedule little meetings to discuss what kind of projects we wanted to do, designing the layout, and getting supplies.
4. Organize a fundraiser.
My high school had a strict dress code so the only thing we could really be creative with was our crew socks. So during December we sold Christmas socks that we got online inexpensively.
5. Recruit a great advisor.
The teacher who oversees your club has to be just as much into it as you are. It helps others get into it. I chose the art teacher, of course!
6. Collaborate with other clubs.
Look at other clubs to see where your talents may be useful or needed. For example, Drama Club had a big show coming up so we decided our Design Class could make props, backdrops, flyers, and costumes for the show. It was an easy and fun way to get more involved and meet new people.
7. Be visible on campus.
We had our final design project on display at the end of the year with the other art students in photography or painting. It’s hard for other students to join a club if they never see it.
8. Go to DEBUT.
Invite members to go to the FIDM DEBUT Runway Show. As an official FIDM Fashion Club you get to attend the Pre-Party before the big show. It’s is such a fun night! People from all over the world attend this show. DEBUT is what really opened my eyes. That’s when I was inspired to be in the fashion industry. From that point on I knew I’d do whatever it would take to be one of the students with the opportunity to show their collection in this show.
Ashley Podrebarac showing her collection at the 2017 FIDM DEBUT Runway Show
9. Be persistent.
Overall it’s definitely hard to get started on your Fashion Club, but don’t let that discourage you. The benefits are huge! It will all come together. Like anything new, you’ve got to work on it to reap the rewards.
10. Have fun!
Our final project was a huge 8’ mandala colored sand piece. It was made entirely out of sand; no glue or any adhesive. Our city was having a water crisis at the time so that was our theme. There were 10 of us from the club who came in on a Saturday to create this, with the help of our art teacher always driving us. But by Monday morning all the students were really impressed and wanted to know more about Design Class.
La Salle High School FIDM Fashion Club works on their final project, a sand mandala
La Salle High School FIDM Fashion Club’s completed sand mandala