Expanding fashion education to Los Angeles

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Arizona State University announced in April 2023 that the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in downtown Los Angeles is now part of the expansion of fashion education at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at ASU.

“Leveraging FIDM’s and ASU’s expertise and innovation around fashion and the creative industries creates significantly enhanced opportunities for students,” said Steven Tepper, dean and director of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. “I am confident that ASU FIDM can lead the world in educating for the future of an inclusive, sustainable and socially responsible fashion industry.”

ASU FIDM offers students pursuing degrees in creative industries enhanced educational opportunities by embedding world-class fashion education within a public research university with global reach. Students in the fashion school have access to a renowned faculty with extensive industry experience and career-focused programs and experiences that enable students to have a sustainable and creative impact on the world.

ASU FIDM’s Bachelor of Arts in fashion is a professional, hands-on degree, providing students with a multidisciplinary foundation that enables them to work across many segments of the fashion industry and beyond. Course offerings emphasize key skills such as patternmaking, apparel construction, merchandising, supply chain management, retail management and branding. The principles of sustainability are embedded within all the courses, with an eye to producing the next generation of conscientious industry leaders.

The university’s fashion program — launched in 2017 and led by Dennita Sewell — has partnerships with industry and local collaborators across interdisciplinary fields, including Optitex, Dress for Success, the Arizona Humane Society and Phoenix Children’s Hospital. As of fall 2023, ASU has more than 500 students majoring in fashion, with hundreds more from disciplines across the university who minor in fashion or take individual classes to gain skills that complement their major or personal interests.

“Building upon ASU’s longstanding success operating as one institution across many locations, ASU FIDM will offer students pursuing a career in fashion meaningful connections and practical experience within the industry while learning from a cutting-edge and multidisciplinary faculty in fashion, design and the arts,” Sewell said.

ASU FIDM students will continue to benefit from FIDM’s strong relationships with leading companies and brands from around the globe. ASU’s expansion will also sustain what has made FIDM special for many years, including the world-class FIDM Museum and other assets.

ASU FIDM incorporates both the FIDM community and campus located in downtown Los Angeles, now known as the ASU California Center Grand. In addition to its L.A. location, ASU FIDM also operates from Fusion on First in downtown Phoenix. This high-tech innovation hub features multiple fashion studios, a materials experimentation lab and an interdisciplinary maker’s space that houses industrial knitting machines, laser cutters, 3D printers, specialty sewing machines and more.

ASU students have embraced its expanding offerings in Los Angeles in recent years as the university has become a hub for educational opportunities in Southern California at the ASU California Center Broadway in the historic Herald Examiner Building. The university’s presence includes its Cronkite News Los Angeles bureau, where digital and broadcast students create award-winning news and sports content; The Sidney Poitier New American Film School, which inspires the next generation of diverse filmmakers and storytellers; and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, which provides students with unique experiential-learning offerings and networking in the entertainment capital of the United States.

ASU has more than 62,000 alumni living in California and 20,000 California residents as degree-seeking students, and 13% of its graduates work in California.

Photos (in order of appearance) by Ken Howie and Armand Saavedra.
A version of this story originally appeared in ASU News.