Look up the word leader in the dictionary and Hannah Pabalan’s photo should accompany the definition. This former FIDM Fashion Club president and current FIDM student shares her path to FIDM and how she didn’t let something like a global pandemic keep her FIDM Fashion Club from achieving success. We recently chatted with Hannah, who offers great insight and advice for students everywhere.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how did you know FIDM was the right fit for you? I was born and raised in Southern California. I had heard of FIDM but didn’t really look into it until my junior year of high school. I got connected with an admission’s advisor who introduced me to the Merchandise Product Development major and I knew it would be the perfect major for me: a mixture of business and design. FIDM being located in Los Angeles was also a big factor for me, since I love Southern California and because it is the heart of the fashion industry, with so many job opportunities.
What are your career goals? I am currently in my fifth quarter of my Associates Degree. While I am still enjoying learning all the avenues of the fashion industry, my long-term goal is to have my own brand or boutique. Merchandise Product Development also focuses on entrepreneurial success which has been so educational and helpful. Until then, I would love to work in branding, line development, or marketing.
You were president of your FIDM Fashion Club at Riverside Poly High School. What was that experience like for you and how did it prepare you for FIDM? My experience as fashion club president was very different from others because it was in the middle of the pandemic and primarily online. I had great success with it, though, through the use of Zoom and Instagram. We did different activities over Zoom, such as sketching modern takes on iconic movie characters’ outfits and collaging outfit inspiration for different events. I would then post these on Instagram for our school to see and members to repost with pride! Being a FIDM Fashion Club president helped prepare me for FIDM by teaching me how to take a leadership role, how to connect creative people, and how to assist them in bringing their creative visions to life. In learning how to inspire others, I learned how to inspire myself when I get into creative ruts. We had many struggles during the pandemic, trying to keep people excited in such hard times, but I learned how to persist, stay positive, and really connect.
The Fashion Club Virtual Meetups are coming up soon. Tell us about your involvement. I will be a guest panelist, answering questions about all things FIDM and Fashion Club.
What advice would you give a student who is considering starting a club at their campus? My advice is to just do it! It is so much fun and is so rewarding and bringing like-minded people together is so inspiring. It’s refreshing to bring creativity to campus when we often get so caught up and stressed with day-to-day classes. I would also recommend utilizing Instagram and connecting with other clubs.
Anything else you’d like to share? Hobbies or new obsessions? I’ve always had a passion for music. I was raised in a musical family—playing piano as a child, and singing in choir in high school. I love going to concerts (LA is the perfect place for this) and I recently have started playing the guitar and singing again. I find that having multiple creative outlets helps me prevent burnout and keeps me inspired. If I get overwhelmed with sewing, listening to my favorite music or picking up the guitar always helps me get back into my creative zone.
Learn more about FIDM’s Merchandise Product Development major.
Meet FIDM Students, like Hannah Pabalan, at a Fashion Club Virtual Meetup!