Merchandisers

Yesenia Aguilar

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At a young age I was inspired by my culture to join the fashion industry. At the time I had 11 years of Ballet Folkorico under my belt and the dresses we wear to perform in inspired me.  In the beginning I was drawn more to the design part of fashion, but the more I started to learn about the industry the more I became interested in the business side. It also became natural to me since I worked so much in retail clothing. Although I do still love fashion design and hope to design something one day.

Claudia Aguilera

I have always had a passion for all things fashion, but I think the turning point for me was working at a streetwear boutique. I was able to move up fairly quickly due to my natural ability to forecast what customers wanted, and eventually become an assistant buyer for the boutique. It gave me the opportunity to attend trade shows like Magic in Las Vegas and Agenda in San Diego. It was through the four years I worked there that I had no doubt that I was meant to pursue a career in fashion. 

Someone in the industry that I look up to is my long time friend Laura Beckmann. Someone I have known for 20 plus years, she has inspired me long before she entered the fashion industry. We have worked on many projects together and at one point even work for the same private label, but my favorite was assisting her to creating one of her first personal collections. It was an amazing experience being able to bounce ideas back and forth and creating everything from the make up looks to the jewelry, I will never forget having that much creative freedom. She has inspired more then just creatively but for being the strong woman that never compromises her work and always stands for what she believes.    

Amanda Becerra

Before I decided to pursue the fashion industry, I was a criminal justice major. I based going into that field solely off of my love for the show Criminal Minds and thought it would be exactly like that. Needless to say, it was nothing like that and I felt stuck. My friend was giving me life advice, as one does, and asked me what I liked to do for fun, regardless of time or circumstances. I immediately said shopping. With the combination of a lot of hard work and a passion for fashion, I have been finding my path in this beautiful and creative industry! 

  

Carly Castellano

I always knew I wanted to work in the fashion industry, but I never knew exactly in which way. I came to state undeclared; it wasn't until a friend in one of my classes’ freshman year told me how much she loved the classes the major had to offer, and how much she had been learning which made me even more interested/excited. I declared as an ADM major shortly after our conversation.

 

My biggest takeaway as an ADM student would be staying true to yourself in the sense of style and creativity. In an industry as competitive and impacted as the fashion industry, it is important to be unique and to not follow other visions and trends in order to have something different and intriguing to bring to the table. I've come a long way in multiple aspects, I've learned a lot artistically and creatively, in which I wouldn't have if it wasn't for being an ADM major. I feel like my classes have prepared me for many different paths within the industry which I know will be useful regardless of where I end up. 

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Christe Corrales

My biggest takeaway that I’ve learned during my time as an ADM major is how key is sustainability and how wasteful the fashion industry is. There is so much more to fashion than what I thought of before entering this major and by learning everything I have I know that the industry has to have a shift in order to not be as damaging to our environment. In the next five years I see the apparel industry continuing to move in a more productive way, in the sense of being more sustainable with the making of clothing. Also opening up the lane for more unique and emerging designers and the continuation to inclusive to everybody.

 

Someone in the industry that I look up to is Cher. She wore all her outfits that her stylist would style her in so unapologetically because she cared for uniqueness and did not care what people were to say about how different her dressing looked. She broke fashion barriers and led by example by carrying herself with confidence no matter what she wore. 

Arielle David

In SoCal, I used to work at a consignment store called Plato’s Closet. I was able to merchandise, buy inventory, and work on social media. During my year of working there, I realized that this was something that I would love to continue in the future. It is okay to not know what you are doing! Your professor and classmates are always happy to help you; everyone wants to see you succeed, so do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it! 

My favorite class was pattern-making! It was the most challenging class that I have taken, but it pushed me out of my comfort zone. There were many times where I thought of dropping, but my professor helped push me through to pass the class. Pattern-making has given me skills that I never thought I would gain and I am forever grateful for it. 

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Forum Doshi

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In my time as an ADM major I have got to meet some amazing professors and peers. The biggest takeaway that I learned from my time with them is that Fashion goes beyond just looking and feeling nice. It is fashionable to be a good person, even more if you care for the planet and for everyone that you are surrounded by. I am most proud of succeeding academically and in my personal life. I have been the best version of myself in the past two years, from going to school while being pregnant, presenting and winning an award at the CA-AFCS student competition to continuing to give my one hundred percent to a career that I wish to transition from makes me aware of my dedication to all things I take up. It gives me the confidence to step out and achieve whatever I put my mind to. 

Celeste Dullaart

Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to work in the fashion industry. At a young age I would go through my moms and aunts closet all day trying to come up with looks and trying on all the shoes they had. The freedom of creating any kind of look I wanted was when I knew I wanted to work towards being in the fashion industry.  

 

My favorite class at SFSU was ADM 466. This class was focused on Photoshop and editing which is something I love to do. This class highlighted tasks I enjoy doing like editing photos, working on digital drawings and creating web designs. 

 

My dream company to work for would to be a merchandiser for Nintendo. I have been playing Nintendo games for all my life and working for a company that has been a big influence in my life would be a dream come true. Helping out and creating new merchandise or even finding new collaborations for Nintendo would be amazing. 

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Brigitte Ellering

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The moment I realized I wanted to work in the fashion industry derived from a career class. I found myself fascinated with fashion and knew it was the perfect career path. When I was younger, I knew I was passionate about fashion. I would put together outfits and put on fashion shows for my family. I was eager to know more about fashion and was fascinated that each piece of clothing told a different story. Fashion meant more to me than just an everyday occurrence. My eyes would light up every time I talked about it and I realized fashion was something I wanted to pursue. 

My dream company to work at would be Chanel. Their brand’s mission statement revolves around elegance and quality. Chanel is a well-respected company and its values align with mine. Chanel has always been my favorite luxury brand because I believe that elegance always remains in style.

After graduation, I plan to look for a job or internship opportunity in order to gain more knowledge and experience in the fashion industry. I am hoping to work either in costume design, merchandising, visual merchandising, or product development.

Christina Euresti

I’ve always been very creative and gravitated towards fashion since I was a little girl. My interest in clothing/design started when I was about 6 or 7 years old watching my mom hand stitch a small snag on a pair of her chonis. She used a random contrasting color, red thread on her white chonis, just for the sake of getting the job done with no interest in making the mending unnoticeable. I thought the little red stitches looked so pretty and I wanted to do that to my chonis too! She showed me how to do a simple hand stitch and would let me practice on my own underwear. I would use all of the color threads she had to stitch designs into all my underwear for no particular reason but just because I thought it looked pretty...stitching little rainbow designs was my favorite. I was never allowed to stitch anything on my actual clothing when I was younger so I took my creativity out on my barbies. I would sketch and design outfits for them and try to make them using odds and ends around the house like paper, shoelaces, aluminum foil, and I would piece these things together with elements glue, thread, and Lisa Frank stickers.

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Itzcoatl Friaz

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My favorite class at SFSU was any of my Ethnic Studies classes, especially an Indigenous studies’ class. I feel like they really taught me more about history than I have ever learned in any of my other classes, and really enlightened me as well of how the world came to be how it is today. I think it’s important to learn about all sides of history, not just the one that you’re forced to learn about. 

 

The biggest takeaway I’d say is being realistic of what you can handle, but also pushing yourself to hone in on specific skills. Just because something is hard doesn’t mean you give up, but sometimes you just have to find another way. I didn’t want to finish school but finding this major really made me feel like it all worked out for the best. 

Daniela Gonzalez

Over my time at SFSU I have learned so much, but my biggest takeaway from my time here would have to be that the fashion industry like many other fields, is constantly evolving. With advancements in technology moving so rapidly it is important to stay up to date with the latest news to ensure you are moving at the same speed as the industry. While I enjoyed all of my courses, product development with Professor Currie was my favorite as it gave me insight on the process of creating a garment, while still allowing us students full creative freedom to make products of our choosing. During my time as a merchandising major, I am most proud of the skills I have learned such as time management and organizational skills. Being surrounded by likeminded students who are motivated in the same field pushed me to levels I maybe would not have reached on my own. After graduation, I plan to find an internship in my field as I am eager to get my foot in the door and apply all the knowledge, I have learned throughout my time at SFSU.

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Serena Gonzalez

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As an ADM major, I have been able to learn and build my skills, I have met new and like-minded creatives, and have gained new skills to utilize in my fashion career. My favorite class at San Francisco State University was, Introduction to the Fashion Industry.  This was one of the first classes I took as an ADM major and I was able to learn about life as a fashion buyer, merchandiser, designer, and product developer. My plan after graduation is moving to New York City.  My career goal is to be working in the marketing merchandising department for one of my favorite fashion and beauty brands in New York.

Wendy Gonzalez

When I was about 8 years old, I had a little book of my own fashion sketches. I loved drawing dresses with my colored pencils that I carried everywhere. As I got older, I stopped doing sketches but continued to read books and magazines on fashion and styling advice. By high school I knew I wanted to have a career in fashion but not as a designer. I learned about fashion merchandising and ever since then I decided to pursue a career within the fashion industry. 

 

As an ADM major, I’ve learned to expand my creativity and not focus so much on what people may think of my work. There is so many creative minds in this major making all of us unique in our own way. My favorite course was the textiles lab class. I learned so much about fabrics and really enjoyed being hands on with experiments. I think that class was really helpful to introduce me to the fashion industry and has helped me make more sustainable choices when shopping. 

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Lucy Hang

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From a designer and fashion student’s perspective, the major aspect about the fashion industry that needs to be strategically changed, would be the unsustainable part of it. Although, fashion houses and the apparel/retail sectors have been striving more towards change regarding this issue, I don’t see a massive alter from the past to present. I believe that much more needs to be accomplished at the global spectrum and in collaboration with popular names and brands at a much more frequent occurrence, in order for this to be achieved. By doing so, the consumer will start to understand the sustainable concept and the cyclical cycle can start from producer to consumers. 

 

After graduation, I can see myself doing one of three things. I might find myself taking a much needed and well-deserved break from any schooling or work, I might actually find a job or internship at a fashion or retail company with my degree, or I might do what I’ve been wanting to do for a while and open my own e-commerce site to sell my own designs and creations. Either would work for me! Five years from now, I’d like to believe that I would be working at a fashion company that I love and that supports the ideologies that I envision for this industry and as a designer myself. I can also see that I’d have opened up an online platform to sell my personal designs. While living my full life to it’s best potential, in a city whose environment I actually enjoy being surrounded by. Hopefully, this rings true.        

Throughout my time as an ADM major, I recognized that there is still so much work to do in terms of improving the curriculum to be more inclusive of various cultural perspectives. The biggest takeaway was being able to work with Dr. Dorie and contribute to creating a better curriculum that includes non-Western fashion! Dr. Dorie is an inspiring professor who actively seeks to promote change within ADM and I'm glad to have worked with her. As much as I enjoy my major courses, my favorite class at SFSU was Filipino/a American Literature with Professor Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales. Allyson is a very understanding and caring person who made our class feel like family. Through literature and endless discourse on the decolonization of our education and Filipino-American culture, I always felt welcomed and heard- especially as a mixed Filipino. It was the first class I took that felt like a community.

 

There are many things I’d love to change about the apparel industry, but I would start by changing the industry standard of unethical outsourcing. With proper education, policy, and enforcement, the way we view our clothing consumption can change. Excessive materialism and complacent brands have blinded us to the harmful issues that impact developing communities around the world. I want to work with brands and companies that prioritize ethical practices and help bring about that change. Someone I look up to is Alok-Vaid Menon, a queer and gender non-conforming author who critiques the gender binary that has dictated fashion norms for decades. Although Alok didn’t start their career in the fashion industry, their performances and speeches have touched designers and consumers alike who feel underrepresented in the fashion world. I look up to Alok because fashion has helped me navigate and express my gender identity. Alok has also helped encourage me to hold big brands accountable for their lack of size, gender, and ethnic inclusivity.

Maricela Islas-Hall

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Kristin Kim

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As an Asian-American woman raised by immigrant parents, I had no real clue what was in store for me. I was always intrigued by unique aspects of life and drew closer to artistic directions. Growing up, I would go to school completely glammed out- from hair, to makeup, to accessories, to the clothes, and to the shoes. When observing other students, I understood that I had a special gift of fashionable articulation. I won the class “best-dressed” in high school and from then on was driven to pursue fashion. Someone I look up to in the industry is Rihanna. Everyone loves her as the singer, but I am inspired by her as the raw fashion designer and founder of LVMH clothing line, FENTY. I can relate to her poor upbringing, passion for art, and strong personality. Many creators and designers put in so much effort to be revolutionary but often forget too just be themselves. The way she utilizes her own unique style in all of her successful brands drives me to do the same with my work-- show my authenticity.     

 

After graduation, I plan on moving out of San Francisco into another big city to continue my fashion journey. This journey includes freelancing, collaborations, and liberation. Five years from now, I envision myself styling for celebrities and working for editorials. At this point in my life, I expect myself to have ventured through many different aspects of fashion like modeling, publishing, and designing. I want to become a legacy.  

Ysvettelana Kolimlim

Hello everyone! My name is Ysvettelana Kolimlim, and I am majoring in Apparel Design and Merchandising at San Francisco State University. Before transferring, I attended City College of San Francisco. Ever since I was a young child, I’ve always been fond of fashion, especially fashion styling. I would always be in matching outfits and would fuss if I wasn’t. I would be so independent that my parents would let me wear what I want on every occasion. This would carry on years after and now I’m almost finished with my Merchandising degree. 

 

Being in a major that requires much visualization, I get inspired by many things, especially in social media, which is a huge part of the fashion industry. My inspirations vary from so many elements. But lately, I’ve been inspired by Law Roach, a celebrity stylist and famously known as Zendaya Coleman’s stylist. From one of his interviews, he says, “The women I work with want that fantasy, the glamour, the whimsy, but they also want undertones of intelligence and a story to the clothes. The way I approach my job is very cerebral, but I also want goosebumps. I want that to take my breath away. That’s really what I live for” which is a spot-on description of his craft. Whenever one of his clients is on show or on an Instagram page, I always get amazed and wowed. 

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Uyen Le

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When I was doing a project for one of my English classes which were about researching your future career back in college, I discovered the “Merchandiser” position on the job listings. I was curious about this job, so I did some research about its requirements and I found out about this major. Besides being a designer, there are many other different important positions in the fashion industry. To me, the fashion industry is all about designers, but this had changed my mind. I changed my major immediately even though that means I had to spend more time taking other classes. My favorite class at SFSU is the textile lab because I had a chance to learn and experiment with different types of textile. I want to get a job in some fashion companies after graduating. In the next five years, I want to have my own company that sells products made of mulberry silk.

Since I was roughly 4 years old, my family knew I was destined for the fashion industry. The earliest memory they have of me regarding fashion was when I was preparing for preschool. Every night before school I would lay my outfit out for the next day on my bedroom floor as though there was an imaginary person laying on my floor wearing it. I would pair my dresses or skirts with tights and sparkly red Dorothy-inspired shoes and straw hats with matching purses. I would be styling my outfit for the next day making sure every piece looked good together. Ever since then I have looked back on that moment, and have always pushed my limits towards my ever-evolving fashion sense, leading me to know that fashion was my passion and was exactly what I wanted to pursue. 

             

After graduation, I plan to find a job as an assistant stylist hopefully for a celebrity stylist. I hope to pursue my passion for styling and make a name for myself. I know I’ll have to start at the bottom of the food chain, and ideally, I would prefer to be an assistant stylist, but am open to being a fashion assistant as well. My dream company to work for would be Vogue. Vogue is a household name and consistently can be seen pushing the boundaries of fashion. I enjoy being experimental in my fashion and feel as though my vision meshes well with that of Vogue. Maintaining a balance of excitement and consistency in fashion in order to create a visually intriguing look drawing in a broader audience. 

Taliya Levy

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Alina Leyva

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I always knew I wanted to work in fashion. As a child, I remember dressing up my barbies and making them walk down the runway, I think it was my inner stylist talking over. I really didn’t consider pursuing FASHION until I was in community college, I learned about what the industry has to offer and all the different avenues and teams you can be a part of.  I think my favorite class would have to be ADM 466 Computer Applications in Clothing and Textile Industry. This Class consisted of Computer software applied to the statistical analysis of data, research variables, and development of formal presentation of data based on apparel research. It really pushed me to excel in Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator.

 

One thing that I always keep in mind is the sustainability aspect of fashion. Personally, as a designer and merchandiser, I’m mindful of the carbon footprint. It takes a lot to manufacture designs and promote them. I mindful and always try to use recycled materials. I think we’re moving towards people being more aware of where their clothes come from and what they’re made out of. 

Mandy Li

One of my favorite class at San Francisco State is the Fashion and the Consumer Behavior. I got to learn the psychological effects of consumer buying behavior and did a market research paper on a topic relating to it.  My plan after graduation is looking for a full-time job or an internship.  If I could change something in the apparel industry is being more sustainable on sourcing their materials and stop exploiting unethical labor practices. In the next five years of the apparel industry, I do see a lot of tech coming in play with fashion such as blockchain is becoming a part of the fashion supply chain, and there will be more tech implementing in the fashion industry.

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Sofia Mendoza

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The moment I knew I wanted to work in the fashion industry happened during my Senior year in high school. It was more of a realization point, because I think a part of me always knew I wanted to work in the fashion industry growing up. I couldn’t find my niche like my sister and brother instantly did. So, I remember sitting down and listing the things that I love to do and would ultimately make me happy. I concluded with the fashion industry.

A dream company I would love to work for is Nike. A company such as Nike has done so well and has lasted through the years, because sports and sportswear are always in style. I not only write Nike because they have withstood time, but also because they seek inclusivity.

I am most proud of finishing something I started. The ADM program at SF State was well rounded. It encompassed many of my interests, bolstered my confidence, and broadened my choice of opportunities.  I do not yet have a clear picture of my plans after graduation. I have grouped my options into three main categories: work in the public sector, the private sector, or focus on entrepreneurship. The ADM program has prepared me for any of these. 

 

Many of us Merchandisers minored in Marketing. To my surprise, Intro to Marketing was one of my favorite classes here at SFSU. It was very relevant to the Merchandising concentration. I also enjoyed Textiles Lab, despite the online format during COVID. The contrast between these two courses illustrates the range of subjects included in the ADM program here at SFSU. I finally found an area of study where I feel that I belong, because the ADM program is multi- faceted. It’s ok to have many interests and goals. 

Madeline Metal

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Raden Morla

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I have always been interested in fashion since I was young. I went through many phases in life and enjoyed exploring different styles along the way. I was halfway through community college taking courses to become a nurse. Nursing was an interest to me at the time, however I never felt super passionate about it. I was working as a retail visual merchandiser for almost 5 years. I enjoyed my job as being a visual merchandiser, because it challenged me. As well, merchandising allowed me to express my creativity. I took an intro to fashion course in community college and found out there were many pathways in the fashion industry. My professor at the time encouraged me to pursue this career and this was my turning point of going into Merchandising. I decided to start over to follow an industry I was truly passionate about. 

 

My biggest take away from the ADM major was learning about sustainability. I was never fully conscious about my decisions and purchases I made when buying clothing. After two years, I’ve changed my purchasing habits. I think more long-term as to where my clothing comes from and effects it has on the environment. Accordingly, I’m thinking more about what goes behind a company’s supply chain. It has made me more interested in venturing into more sustainable businesses or starting my own in the future.