Having a strong, clear vision is vital when it comes to goal-setting, and a strong, clear vision is what the FIDM Fashion Club of Santa Barbara High School in Santa Barbara, CA is all about. Creativity with a purpose abounds throughout this club, and we were so fortunate to get the scoop from club president Keelyn Ferguson, who was recently accepted to FIDM, with plans to start in Fall 2023. Congratulations, Keelyn!
Tell us a bit about your FIDM Fashion Club. The Santa Barbara High School Magazine Club was once described as a walking modeling agency, and that comment always stuck with me and made me laugh. It began with Joseph Gonzales, the Co-President of our FIDM Fashion Club, and me, walking around downtown Santa Barbara and Montecito with a $7 purple binder from Staples. We walked into every clothing store, offering marketing and a page in our magazine (that was yet to exist, but we ran with it anyway). In exchange for borrowing merchandise, we offered to shoot a campaign for their brand, to be included in what would eventually be Serpent Magazine. Joseph served as the photographer, and I as the creative director. Together, over coffee, we came up with concept designs and marketing strategies in my now heavily used purple binder.
Next, our hurdle was finding models. We looked to include confident people who seemed like they generally wouldn’t be afraid in front of the camera, who also shared a passion for creative expression. As time passed, we were able to accumulate twenty members. Then, after agreeing to work with six brands, we were finally able to begin production. Almost every weekend Joseph and I hosted a different shoot, sometimes even in a different part of California. We would all pack into my car and travel with the borrowed merchandise and a different “call list” being released weekly for the models we would be shooting that week. This honestly could be considered one of the hardest things we’ve ever done because there are so many moving parts at once, and there was the risk of that one thing that would go wrong, but I loved it, Joseph loved it, and I think we all loved it, regardless.
What are some goals you’ve set for your club? When looking for club members, it’s important for us to find others who have the same interest and share our drive for the projects we do. Regardless of stressful conditions, our goal is to always do our best and continue to remain productive, creative, and kind to one another. The members of Serpent Magazine have a mutual understanding and respect for one another, and we keep a professional state of mind while working. This allows everyone’s creative style to shine through, and to create a beautiful image in the end.
What advice would you give students who are considering starting an official FIDM Fashion Club on their campus? Above all, what helped us the most was trying our hardest to continue, regardless of being out of our comfort zones. What comes with uncharted territory is room for error. Laughing through the things that go wrong, because they will go wrong, is one of the best lessons we’ve learned. Countless times we’ve had to navigate new challenges, but we never let that stop us. Also, it’s important to find people who are equally passionate, patient, and understanding of the process.
Big congratulations to you, Keelyn, for being accepted to FIDM! How did you know FIDM would be the right college for you? What will you be majoring in? I worked at a clothing store called Malibu Sky for a year and a half, and after struggling one night with the idea of where I was going in life, the following day a path presented itself to me. A woman walked into my store saying she had designed the fabric of some of the clothing I was selling. Immediately, I overloaded this woman with questions about the fashion industry and how to be a part of it. She said she attended FIDM, and spoke highly of the college. Before she left she wrote me a post-it note saying, “You’re worthy of all your heart’s desires,” and that’s when I knew I absolutely had to apply to FIDM. I am planning to major in Visual Communications.
Tell us a bit about the magazine you submitted as part of your FIDM admissions portfolio. I had a sense I was creative, yet I realized I had nothing tangible to show for it. When thinking of what to put together for my portfolio, after much consideration, a magazine campaign to market the store I was working at came to mind. I asked my boss if I could host my shoot inside the store three hours before opening. I asked students around my school to model, and asked Joseph to shoot the whole thing. I immediately fell in love with the process, and quickly learned Joseph and I worked very well together. Following that, we did two more shoots at my house, shooting until 1 AM, borrowing merchandise from work, and returning it the following day. I stayed up every night writing my admissions essay, and adjusting photos to put into my magazine. When I finally picked up the finished Malibu Sky magazine from Bill’s Copy Shop, the only copy shop that still prints magazines in Santa Barbara, I realized just how much I loved what I was doing. I couldn’t stop now just because this project was finished. When finding out about the scholarships for FIDM Fashion Club Presidents, I was honestly happy to find an excuse to make this an everyday thing for me.
Anything else you’d like to share? This coming April, on the weekend of Earth Day, the models of Serpent Magazine will be a part of the Fashion show created by Gianna Stump, the designer and founder of Fashion By Joan. All clothing designs are sustainably made, with all proceeds donated to the Earth Defense Center (EDC). Designs are sent in from all over the country, by designers in junior high through college to support creative youth. Joseph and I are working to shoot campaigns for the show, while also organizing models, and helping with the fluidity of the show. We are extremely excited for this event, and would love to see you there!