Erica Williams

In FC’s Prom Challenge, FIDM Fashion Design Alumna and Advanced Study Theatre Costume Design Student Erica Williams was challenged to do a redesign of a thrift store dress inspired by Lana Del Rey. She had six weeks and a $50 budget!

Tell us a little about yourself: I am originally from Dallas, Texas, and grew up in a huge family where creativity played a major role in everything we did. I just graduated from FIDM with my degree in Fashion Design, and will be starting the Advanced Study Theatre Costume Design program this July.

What did you like best about the FC Prom Challenge? I absolutely loved designing for it! At first glance, it seems like it would be easier since you are starting with a finished garment, but if anything that is where the real challenge is. As a designer, I'm used to starting from scratch, choosing the fabric, creating each pattern piece to best achieve my design, but when working with a finished garment, it almost tells you what to do, you have limitations and have to flexible. I loved that challenge, and my favorite part was seeing what all of the other designers came up with, the most interesting thing to me is that we could all look at one thrift store dress and all see completely different designs. Everyone did such an amazing job, I really blown away by their talent!

Where did you find your thrift store dress? I found my dress at an amazing thrift store called Jet Rag near the Grove. I was looking for something that had a lot of room for improvement, but offered great fabric and colors to start with. The garment I chose was a lavender dress with a short sleeve bodice and a long skirt. I didn't realize it when I bought it, but after working with my dress, I discovered that it had already been re-imagined once before! There were strange seams going down the front and it was obvious by looking at the inside waist seam, that a tulle underskirt had already been cut out. I wish I could see what my dress had looked like from the very beginning. It was definitely an old one though. I had to be careful with it because the fabric would deteriorate while I was working with it.

Describe your finished prom dress design: My finished prom dress has a vintage-made-modern silhouette, with romantic lavender floor-length chiffon, overlaid with a black Chantilly lace bodice.

What is it about your design that reflects Lana Del Rey's style? When I think of Lana Del Rey, I always envision pastel colors and a romantic vintage vibe. I definitely captured that facet of Lana through the color of the original dress and all of the soft fabrics, but I also wanted to incorporate her darker slightly edgier side with the black lace.

How did you hear about FIDM and what made you decide to go here? I always knew that I wanted a creative career, but was never sure what would be the best college for me to do so. I first heard about FIDM at a college night through my high school. Amongst the sea of black and navy tables the colorful FIDM booth first drew my attention! That night after talking to the ambassador, I watched the DEBUT Runway Show, and from that moment I knew FIDM was where I was meant to be. I’ll never forget the night a few month later when I sat in the crowd at DEBUT. Overwhelmed with excitement, I looked at the students and made a silent promise to myself that one day, it would be me up there. And now I will be—two years in a row!

How did you choose your major? Deciding my major was an easy choice for me. I knew from a young age that I wanted to do costume design, and FIDM offered, not one, but two different costume design programs. Since they are both Advanced Study Programs, I had to first get my degree in Fashion Design in order to qualify later on. 

What are your career goals and how is FIDM helping you get there? I plan to be a costume designer for period pieces, or for a major network like HBO. My absolute DREAM job would be to work on set of Game of Thrones, the costume department is even in Ireland, talk about amazing! FIDM has helped me in so many ways not only through the skills I have learned, and the confidence I have gained as a designer, but through all of the work opportunities and people I have been able to meet—it has truly helped me lay down the path to my career. I may or may not have devoted one of my portfolio collections to designing costumes for the show, so if Michele Clapton were ever to call I'd have something ready.

What advice do you have for someone thinking about going to FIDM? For anyone thinking about going to FIDM, I would say that as long as they have a passion for what they aspire to do, the "ifs," the "hows," and the "whens" will all fall into place. FIDM has truly helped me flourish both as a designer and a confident professional. I have had amazing opportunities working on set for films, making light up TRON costumes for AT&T, and working with amazing professionals in the industry, just to name a few! I've had the ambition from the beginning, but FIDM gave me the resources and the opportunities to bring my goals to fruition.

Want to see more designs inspired by celebs? Check out FashionClub.com!

Gold by Jay Z

Fragrance designer and FIDM Instructor André Barnwell is our guest beauty blogger, reviewing fragrances and reporting on fragrance trends. André says...

Hip hop icon Jay Z introduces a fragrance for men that is subtle, but surprisingly long lasting for an eau de toilette. Gold by Jay Z has top notes of ginger, grapefruit, blueberry, and cardamom; middle notes of vetiver, pink pepper, lavender, and violet leaf; and base notes of amber, teak wood, vanilla, and myrrh. Gold in available in a 1, 1.7 and 3 oz. eau de toilette spray as well as an after shave, after shave balm, alcohol free deodorant, and shower gel. 

André Barnwell is a fragrance designer and instructor at FIDM who teaches Fundamentals of Fragrance in the Beauty Industry Merchandising & Marketing Program.

Exotic Jasmine by Halle Berry
Fragrance designer and FIDM Instructor André Barnwell is our guest beauty blogger, reviewing fragrances and reporting on fragrance trends. André says...

Halle’s latest fragrance is a homage to the classic scent Jasmine. Exotic Jasmine by Halle Berry is an intoxicating, sensual, and very feminine fragrance. Exotic Jasmine has top notes of neroli, violet leaf, and airy cyclamen; middle notes of jasmine sambac, plumeria blossom, and fluid hediove; and base notes of white cedar, vetiver, and musk. Exotic Jasmine by Halle Berry is an eau de parfum strength and is available in a 1 oz. spray and 2.5 oz. body lotion and shower gel. 

André Barnwell is a fragrance designer and instructor at FIDM who teaches Fundamentals of Fragrance in the Beauty Industry Merchandising & Marketing Program.

Under the Gunn


A new fashion competition show, Under the Gunn, starring Tim Gunn premieres tonight at 9/8c on Lifetime. We are super excited about it because it was filmed at FIDM's Los Angeles campus!

Project Runway's Tim Gunn, also on FIDM's Advisory Board, will oversee the work of three Project Runway alums: Mondo Guerra, Anya Ayoung-Chee, and FIDM Instructor and Red Carpet Commentator Nick Verreos as they mentor 15 up-and-coming designers.

The judges include celebrity stylist Jen Rade, designer Rachel Roy, and fashion editor Zanna Roberts Rassi. 

We'll be watching! What about you?!

At the age of 14, she landed a modeling contract with Chanel. Later, she created fashion label Baby Phat. She starred in Style Network’s TV show Kimora: House of Fab, and is currently the President and Creative Director of global fashion ecommerce brand JustFab. She is Kimora Lee Simmons, and this week FIDM launched the first of a series of an exclusive set of videos and downloadable desktop and iPhone wallpapers featuring her fabulous career advice.

Kimora personally visited FIDM’s Los Angeles campus last year for a screening of Kimora: House of Fab and a Q&A session with FIDM Students. She spoke honestly and directly about her life, career, and the fashion industry—and the Kimora's Life Lessons series was born.

Visit the FIDM Blog to download the free wallpaper. There is also an amazing FIDM Career Planning Guide, so don't miss it!

Kirsten Dunst for L'Oréal Professionnel

This just in! Kirsten Dunst has been named the first-ever L’Oréal Professionnel spokesperson. This year, you will see her as the face of Wild Stylers from Tecni.Art, Beach Waves and Absolut Repair Lipidium. "I feel very close to L'Oréal Professionnel," WWD reported Dunst saying. "The brand is strongly connected to fashion, and I admire its commitment to innovation, constantly creating new professional services and products to achieve the most on-trend styles."

Go Kirsten! Her hair is looking quite awesome, by the way.

We are loving this new video celebrating the holiday collaboration between Diane Von Furstenburg and DJ Harley Viera-Newton. It's inspired by Breakfast at Tiffany's, and features Harley's muse and little kitty, Marmite. (I'm thinking Harley never calls her kitty "poor slob" though. What about you?)

Watch the video 'til the end. Tell me if you've ever seen anything cuter than those shoes! HG is for Holly Golightly and Harley Golightly. But, I'm pretending it's for Hooghkirk Gigi!

Chic Street Celeb Style

On and off the red carpet, celebs always rock the hottest trends. They know how to dress to impress, that’s for sure. But, Fashion Club knows how to dress to impress—for less! Check out Chic Street on FashionClub.com for our take on their styles.

Dying over Cher Lloyd's sweater, BTW.

Under the Gunn

Huge news! There's a new fashion competition TV show that is set to premiere on January 16, 2014 on Lifetime, and it stars Tim Gunn! It's called Under the Gunn. And you know what else? It's being filmed at FIDM's LA campus! Woot!

On the new show, Gunn—beloved star of TV's Project Runway and one of FIDM's Advisory Board members—will oversee the work of three Project Runway standouts: Mondo Guerra, Anya Ayoung-Chee, and FIDM Instructor Nick Verreos as they mentor 15 up-and-coming designers. Read more on the story in the Los Angeles Times.

Christina Aguilera Unforgettable

Fragrance designer and FIDM Instructor André Barnwell is our guest beauty blogger, reviewing fragrances and reporting on fragrance trends. André says...

Christina’s newest fragrance Unforgettable has been called sweet, soft, and smooth. Christina Aguilera Unforgettable has top notes of pomegranate and plum; middle notes of jasmine and Turkish rose; and base notes of Tonka bean, vanilla, and cashmeran. Unforgettable comes in eau de parfum strength as a 75ml spray. 

André Barnwell is a fragrance designer and instructor at FIDM who teaches Fundamentals of Fragrance in the Beauty Industry Merchandising & Marketing Program.

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