We recently received the following email from a Califashioned.com visitor named Emily. She wanted to tell us about her experience of moving to California and attending a top school near Los Angeles. We felt it was a great message to share with those of you who are interested in getting a fashion degree, but felt that California may be too far away for you.
It takes courage and determination to leave behind what you are comfortable with to pursue your dreams. The fashion industry is not an easy one to make a name in, but it can be done. Kudos to Emily and the success she has found pursuing her dream.
Here is Emily’s message:
I am writing the message to you at the end of my first week employed as a Fashion Design Assistant for a respected apparel designer in the Los Angeles area. I know it’s early, but I can already say for sure that I have found my place. I’m so excited to be working in an industry that is always in demand and evolving. So, I thought it would be good to share my story with your readers to let them know it is possible to follow your dreams and take a risk.
Since I was in grade school, fashion has always been a passion of mine. By the time I was in high school, I had many notebooks and sketchbooks filled with design ideas. Even during my regular coursework, it was all I could do to keep focused in class. I would catch myself doodling away at the next big design (lol). It was something I had to do.
Thankfully, in my junior year of high school, I had an art teacher who recognized the passion I had for fashion design. She was the one who pushed me to challenge myself with art and my creativity. I grew a lot from the time I spent in her class. It was at this point that I knew for sure that I wanted to work as a fashion designer.
I remember speaking to my parents about it. They were supportive, but also apprehensive because they felt that a career in fashion may not be the most practical route. I know they were just looking out for me, but they eventually came to understand just how passionate I was about it.
During my senior year, my parents and I spent quite a few weekends checking out fashion education programs at local and state colleges and universities. Some of the programs were impressive, but many seemed lacking in innovation. As the end of my senior year in high school was approaching fast, I began to get panicked because I still hadn’t found a school that really stood out. I saw advertisements for fashion schools in California, but for whatever reason, never considered moving that far away to attend college. It seemed too far a move from my home in the Cleavland suburbs. But the seed was planted and I continued to ask myself why not?
The day after Christmas, nearly five years ago, my parents took me to the airport. The plan was for me to stay with my aunt and uncle who lived just north of Los Angeles. I had made plans to meet with admissions counselors (who were gracious enough to meet with me during a holiday break!) at three fashion schools in and near Los Angeles. The first school I went to was perfect. I knew it was the place for me. Their fashion design program was like no other I had encountered yet. I cancelled the appointments I had with the two other schools and started making plans to move to California.
My aunt and uncle said I could stay with them, using my cousin’s bedroom – she was a sophomore in college living in a dorm out of state. We would have to share a bedroom when she returned for breaks, but she was happy to, and so was I. My parent’s agreed to the plan. I remember being so excited, but also nervous about moving away from my friends and family. After graduating high school, I spent the summer working and preparing to move to California.
When I finally moved in with my aunt and uncle, I was so excited to start school. I had secured a student loan and been accepted into the college’s fashion design program. My aunt and uncle made me feel at home and I was able to use my cousin’s car to commute to and from school. I had found my place! It was tough being away from my friends and family, but you do adjust. Be sure to plan visits home if you can.
After four years, I graduated knowing that I had a great education under my belt. My program focused on fashion design, but also incorporated business skills, and technology. I have no regrets about choosing to attend school in California rather than back home. The fashion programs back home did not come close.
If you want to do it, but are afraid of moving away, give it some more thought and consideration. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t made the choice to move away for the best fashion program. I’m as excited today, as I was when I started school four years ago.