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Your FIDM Story

Your FIDM Story is a podcast hosted by Caitlin Benson and produced by FIDM Alumnus Spencer Williams. Guests include FIDM Graduates and Faculty discussing successes, failures, and life lessons learned from FIDM and post-graduate life. Hear everything from how to begin your own business to finding inspiration and creating a career path that is right for you.With campuses in Los Angeles and Orange County, California, FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising is a 4-year WASC and NASAD accredited, private college home to more than 20 creative majors ranging from Fashion Design to an MBA program.

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The Creative Behind Mattel's Flagship Brand Barbie - Kim Culmone

In this bonus episode of the Your FIDM Story podcast, FIDM Senior Writer Gigi Hooghkirk talks with FIDM alumna Kim Culmone. Since February 2019, Kim has served as the Senior Vice President, and Global Head of Design for Barbie and Fashion Dolls at Mattel Inc. Kim is entrusted with the creative direction of Mattel’s flagship brand Barbie – a category leader in innovation and a source of inspiration to children around the world for over 60 years.Listen along as Kim talks about her FIDM Story, her career with Mattel Inc., and a new dynamic partnership between the Barbie brand and French luxury fashion label Balmain, launching a new global ready-to-wear fashion and accessories collection. The venture also marks the first time Barbie is entering the digital art world, dropping three one-of-a-kind NFTs.


18 May 2022

Rank #1

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Your Career in Social Media - Whitney Sutherland, Mina Sanders, and Fanny Ramirez

In this week’s special season two finale, Caitlin is joined by not one but three FIDM alumna from the world of social media! Whitney Sutherland (Creative Producer for Remi Cruz ), Mina Sanders (Social Media Marketing Assistant at Kora Organics), and Fanny Ramirez (Sr. Social Media Coordinator at FIDM) join the podcast to talk about their FIDM experiences, getting their Bachelor's in the FIDM Business Management program and the changing social media landscape.


2 Feb 2022

Rank #2

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Randy Dunbar - The Path of a Creative Director

A longtime instructor at FIDM, Los Angeles native Randy Dunbar has enjoyed a storied career in the world of magazines and graphic design. He’s worked as a Designer, Art Director, and Creative Director for numerous publications, including GQ, Self, Health, Home, Muscle & Fitness, and The Advocate, among others. He’s currently the Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director of SoCal Magazine. In this week's episode, Caitlin talks with Randy about his incredible career and his work with the FIDM student-run magazine, FIDM Mode.


26 Jan 2022

Rank #3

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Chidimma Abuka - Layering Your Education

This week’s episode is hosted by FIDM Senior Writer Gigi Hooghkirk who manages our online Success Stories. Listen along as Gigi speaks with Chidimma Abuka about her position as a Sustainability Specialist at Gensler, a global design and architecture firm with offices in 49 cities in 16 countries worldwide. Currently pursuing her doctorate in Global Leadership and Change at Pepperdine University, Chidimma holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Concordia University, a Master of Interior Architecture degree from the Interior Designers Institute, and a Merchandising & Marketing Degree from FIDM. Learn how layering her education and combining both her analytical and creative sides has uniquely positioned her in her field and continues to propel her career forward.


19 Jan 2022

Rank #4

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Joanie Coyote - From Costume Designer to Comedian to FIDM Instructor

FIDM Instructor Joanie Willgues aka Joanie Coyote has extensive industry experience as a theatre costume designer, artist, and fashion historian. She's also a stand-up comedian. In this week's episode, prepare to laugh, learn, and get inspired as Caitlin catches up with Joanie about her career, their mutual love for theatre and fashion history, the creative environment at FIDM, and the power of dreaming.


12 Jan 2022

Rank #5

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Ami Silverman - From Regional VP at Ann Taylor to Corporate VP at Microsoft

This week's episode features Ami Silverman, Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Consumer Channel Sales and Marketing. Listen along as the FIDM Merchandising & Marketing Grad talks about how her two-decade career in the apparel industry prepared her for a career in technology. Tom Henkenius, Director FIDM’s Bachelor’s Degrees in Digital Marketing and Graphic Design, returns as our special guest host.


5 Jan 2022

Rank #6

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Samantha Jones - Entrepreneurism in the Pandemic

Like so many creatives during the pandemic, Samantha Jones found herself in the unfortunate situation of being furloughed from her place of employment. Turning lemons into lemonade, she used the time to launch her own business in the luxury swimwear market. With the purpose of selling high-quality fabrics and fits to women everywhere, she created Beau Swim. Samantha graduated from FIDM with a degree in Merchandise Product Development and a Bachelor’s in Business Management. Caitlin Benson talks with her about her FIDM experience, finding inspiration, and being featured in Miami Swim Week.


29 Dec 2021

Rank #7

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Niki Shadrow Snyder & John Snyder - Thriving By Giving

Merchandising & Marketing Graduate Niki Shadrow Snyder is the Life & Style editor of Hollywood Weekly magazine and the co-founder of Project Pop Drop, the idea of which she conceived on her first date with her husband, John Snyder. In collaboration with Emmy Award-Winning producer Gary Reeves, Niki and John launched The Givefluencer Network, redefining what it means to be an influencer, or as they call it, a "givefluencer". Listen along as Caitlin Benson chats with Niki and John about Project Pop Drop, as well as Niki's experience at FIDM and her career.


22 Dec 2021

Rank #8

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Paul Olszewski - Storytelling Through Macy’s Holiday Window Displays

Prior to his position as Creative Director for FIDM, Paul Olszewski was National Director of Windows & Flagship Visual Marketing for Macy's Inc., famously designing the iconic holiday windows at Macy’s Heralds Square on 34th Street in New York. With a B.A. in Studio Art from California State University, Long Beach, Paul has worked in the field of Visual Presentation for over 25 years. After a 15-year career at Neiman Marcus on both coasts, he worked for New York industry leaders including Bergdorf Goodman and Prada. During this special holiday episode, Caitlin talks with the award-winning designer about his illustrious career and his experience designing the holiday window displays at Macy’s.


15 Dec 2021

Rank #9

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Marina Toybina - From FIDM Student to Multi-Emmy Award Winning Designer

Marina Toybina has won six Emmy awards as a costume designer, two of which were for her work on FOX’s The Masked Singer, making her one of the most decorated FIDM Graduates of all time. At eleven years old, Marina moved from Moscow to Phoenix, Arizona. After high school, she decided to chase her passion and moved to Los Angeles to study Fashion Design at FIDM. Before she had even graduated, she launched a fashion line with fellow FIDM Student Ashton Hirota. Her drive and talent led her into developing relationships with notable celebrities including Taylor Swift, Usher, Pink, and Selena Gomez, and she now frequently collaborates with Carrie Underwood. Marina soon ventured into Hollywood, working on television shows such as The X Factor, So You Think You Can Dance, and World of Dance. In 2015, she created the costumes for the critically acclaimed Katy Perry Super Bowl Halftime Show, including the famous Left Shark costume. In this week's episode, “Your FIDM Story” Producer and “The Art of Costume” Lead Editor Spencer Williams talks with Marina about her life and inspiring career.


8 Dec 2021

Rank #10