For this week’s Spotlight Series we caught up with Vani Patel, a fashion design student at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, CA. Vani wasn’t always sure what she wanted to do until the moment came to her and now there’s no stopping her! Here you can read about how fashion is definitely her calling…
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you originally from? When did you know you wanted to become a fashion designer?
Well, I am originally from India. Growing up, I started thinking about being a doctor because most of my family was in the medical field. After moving to the states, I would get bullied a lot in school. We would wear uniforms to school but one day we had a create your own outfit day. I stayed up all night thinking about what I was going to wear. When I went to school in my outfit I spent all night and all morning styling, it was the first time anyone ever really spoke to me nicely. It was when I realized fashion makes a difference. It was then I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer.
What is it like attending such an amazing school like Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) and living in L.A.?
FIDM really teaches you a lot about the fashion business. They have great connections and networking opportunities. They never fail to always help their students out with internships and jobs even after graduation. They help you build your professional image so you can be at your very best for the industry. They help creatively to persecute your ideas into reality. FIDM is a great school. When I first came to this school, I didn’t even know how to sew and now I create designs in minutes. A couple days ago sitting in the car I was staring outside the window thinking about what my life would be like living somewhere else after I graduate. I looked at the beautiful lights thinking about how fulfilling moving here made me. It gave me hope. If I didn’t move here I would have never turned into the person I am. Even if I move somewhere else, LA will always be my first love.
What would you say is your favorite thing to design? Do you have a favorite piece?
It all began with skirts. Since before the 1920s you couldn’t even wear anything above your ankle. Woman would wear stuff below their knee and it start riding up over the course of 10 years. Not only is a skirt strong and independent but also gentle and caring. I don’t have a favorite piece I’ve made because I like to try different styles and different pieces.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I draw my inspiration from basically everything. I walk around and see different modern and old architecture. People in history, designers, places, other cultures all help with the design and creative process. Sometimes even simple things like food inspire me.
In the design process, what is your favorite part?
Definitely sketching it and coming up with designs is the best part for me. That’s how the works get started.
Who do you want to design for? Who is your muse?
Audrey Hepburn is my muse. I love her style and uniqueness. She can pull pretty much anything off. I would want to design for myself because when I’m coming up with ideas, the question I always ask myself is, would I wear it? I only make clothes I know that I am going to wear or look good in.
Who are your favorite designers?
One of my all time favorite designers is Christian Dior. His style is so simple yet elegant. I am also intrigued by the curvy figures he shows. He knows how to bring out the shape of any woman. Another one of my favorites would be Alexander McQueen. He shows stunning art through his incredible designs.
Where do you see yourself after you graduate?
I want a job in New York City while I plan my own business. I want to start my own business after graduation. I want a job until I can decide what kind of business I want to run and what kind of people I want to work with.
Do you have any advice for aspiring fashion designers?
Don’t give up. It gets hard but remember its your dream. This is what you fought for.
It is amazing to see a person grow so much in such a short amount of time. We are excited to see where Vani ends up in the fashion world! For more on Vani follow @vanipatel14 and @thevanidesigns. For inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org.