Ashley Itliong was born and raised in Los Angeles, where she was an official FIDM Fashion Club President during her senior year at William S. Hart High School. She was awarded a full one-year scholarship in FIDM’s National Scholarship Competition and earned her A.A. in Apparel Industry Management and her Bachelor’s in Business Management. Ashley has lived and worked in Las Vegas, New York, and Dubai, and last year, she joined Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW), the premier global developer and operator of flagship destinations, as a Director of Marketing. Now living in West Hollywood, California, her primary role is leading marketing for Westfield Topanga & The Village. We recently chatted with Ashley to learn more about her inspiring journey.
What was it like being involved in FIDM Fashion Club? FIDM Fashion Club is an amazing initiative and I feel fortunate to have launched it at my high school. My role as President during my senior year gave me the opportunity to flex my leadership and entrepreneurial abilities, while also bringing together other like-minded creatives and fashionistas at my school to produce a charity fashion show. I was able to negotiate partnerships with several national and local retailers to provide looks for the show and organized the event from start to finish – from sourcing the models, venue, DJ, F&B, to marketing and generating buzz for the event, leading the creative direction of the show, managing event operations to ensuring we stayed within our budget. Not only did the event raise money for a local family in need, but it also led me to receiving a full scholarship during my first year at FIDM.
What are your responsibilities at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW)? As Director of Marketing for URW, my primary responsibility is to lead the marketing function for one of our flagship shopping, dining, and entertainment destinations, Westfield Topanga & The Village. This involves developing short- and long-term marketing plans that drive sales, foot traffic, and NOI growth. I manage a multi-million dollar budget, develop and measure campaigns, and foster talent within my team and the greater organization. I’m also responsible for collaborating with other functions like Operations, Development, Leasing, Brand Ventures, and Events to ensure total asset value creation. My day-to-day involves analysis and insights, brand marketing, content creation, PR and communications, events, and digital marketing programs that support over 300 retailers. The role also involves managing community relations, outreach, partnerships, and sponsorships.
Westfield Topanga is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar redevelopment and expansion of a former Sears department store anchor, and during the pandemic received city approval to move forward with Promenade 2035, a multi-billion dollar mixed-use project that will not only transform the North Los Angeles landscape, but also create tens of thousands of jobs and new businesses. I’m excited and grateful to be a part of what’s to come for URW and contributing to making these projects a success.
Tell us a little about your experience working in Dubai: Funnily enough I had never imagined that I would be moving to the Middle East. After my time with Simon Property Group, I relocated to New York City for a new career opportunity with the thought that I’d make it my final home. Months into being there, I was headhunted for a new role in Dubai for Al-Futtaim, one of the largest conglomerates in the region. It turned out that the former executive who created my role at Simon was now leading the retail real estate arm at Al-Futtaim, and looked to me to help spearhead business development for the company. My role was essentially to attract both global and local retail brands to set up operations in the Middle East, or if already there, to further expand their brick and mortar presence in the region. I was able to travel throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa to discover these new and exciting high-growth brands, while also absorbing different cultures, local tastes and preferences, and being more competent in global affairs.
How did you first hear about FIDM? One of my favorite fashion designers is Monique Lhuillier. She is a fellow Filipina and was one of the most notable designers on the red carpets during my late high school years. Through my research, I came to find she was a FIDM Alumna, which inspired me to consider FIDM as one of my top college choices. I was also torn between applying to a fashion school in California or applying to one in New York. After weighing out the pros and cons, I realized that it made the most sense to apply to FIDM, the obvious choice as it is the most reputable fashion school on the West Coast. California is one of the leading economic hubs in the states. We have the highest population out of all other states, a diverse economy blending fashion, entertainment, tech, manufacturing, and agriculture, and beautiful mountains, beaches, and sunshine almost 365 days out of the year! I knew that by going to FIDM, I’d not only gain the hands-on industry knowledge and experience, but also secure a great career opportunity upon graduation through its extensive network and strategic location.
Any favorite FIDM memories? There are many, but my favorite memories were both of my graduation ceremonies at Staples Center. It’s a good feeling to be inside of a world-class, world-renowned venue surrounded by courageous individuals who all took a risk on their dreams of pursuing a non-traditional education and career path in a cutthroat yet rewarding industry.