Stories of Success
Don’t just take it from us. Hear what others have to say about their experiences at FMDS.
Fashion Dream Comes Alive – Nathanial Boon Kit Woo
Advanced Diploma in Fashion Design & Merchandising (Class of 2009)
“FMDS is unique in the sense that there was an emotional connection with every person I met – from the principal, lecturers to administrative personnel. I am personally thankful to all my lecturers, Ali, Farah, Susan, and Irene who taught me and always encouraged me to chase my dream no matter what.”
Since our interview with Kit Woo in 2009, he has officially graduated from Pratt Institute (NYC) and made a mark in the fashion design industry. As far as the saying goes, Kit Woo agrees “no pain, no gain”is an accurate depiction of life in Pratt –he concluded that studying at Pratt Institute was tough as students are challenged mentally, physically, and spiritually everyday.
However, Kit Woo was glad that FMDS prepared him well for Pratt. Specifically, FMDS taught him the technical skills that Pratt’s overwhelming syllabus does not provide. Recalling his days at FMDS, Kit Woo reminisced that the “technical drawing classes at FMDS really helped me to design with the construction aspect in mind since I started my classes at Pratt which put me a step ahead of my peers. I have never imagined myself in the fashion industry until I started studying at FMDS,” Kit Woo said.
To Kit Woo, pursuing a degree is crucial in the fashion industry because the industry is currently over-saturated and standing out of the crowd is almost impossible. Words of advise for his juniors? Kit Woo says that internships are as important as attending classes and by getting part-time jobs with designers out there, it offers young budding designers greater exposure than the classroom setting.
Kit Woo believes that the three characteristics of a good designer are open-mindedness, diligence, and patience. With that in mind, Kit Woo aspires to own a fashion label. In years to come, Kit Woo has set his eye on being a senior designer in a company that he admires – Alexander Wang in NYC.
Fruits of Labour – Gisela Mariel & AdiGunaSutanto
Double Diploma in Graphic Design and Multimedia Design (Class of 2013)
To Gisela and Adi, design was not a natural choice. Gisela was first interested in advertising and Adi was studying accounting before the switch to graphic and multimedia design. Just like how they grew fond of each other, Gisela and Adi gradually found their place in the realm of design. In fact, Adi said that, “unlike accounting, there are no limitations in design and it is this freedom that lured me into learning graphic and multimedia design.”
Upon graduation, Gisela found a job in Jakarta while Adi flew to Singapore and worked in Lancer as an account executive for a 2 months training period before returning to Jakarta. It was then Gisela and Adi saw and grabbed the opportunity to set up their own design agency, Pentacle.
Starting a business with your better half can reap huge rewards – and present unique complications. To top it off, designpreneurship was rather challenging for a start. Fortunately for Gisela and Adi, the segregation of role was clear since the day they started Pentacle in September 2014; Gisela is the designer while Adi is responsible for meeting and servicing clients.
“Most of the time, I need to convey the clients’ expectations to Gisela and vice versa. So far, we have been getting a steady stream of clients and we are really happy for that. One of the greatest challenges we faced so far is the frequent request for changes from the clients,” Adi said.
When asked about the perks of designrepenurship, Gisela quipped that, “I really enjoy being the boss and being in control as it gives me financial freedom. It also allows me to explore design with no limitations.”
Drawing on learning experiences from FMDS, Gisela is thankful that the design management module helped to prepare them in terms of business management. As for Adi who came from a business/accounting background with no fundamental design knowledge, he has learnt a lot from the lecturers.
Finally, words of advise for the juniors? Gisela and Adi agreed unanimously that while every designer has his or her individual idealism, in the real world, the client’s expectations precede that of idealism. In that case, a designer has to keep trying to improve the designs, ideas and aspirations. Having said that, it is important to keep an open mind to come up with great designs.
A Winner’s Pride – Sonia Ayu Lestari
Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Fashion (Class of 2015)
Born in Bali, or more commonly known among the locals as “Paradise Island”, Sonia was announced the winner of the Compleat-in-Style competition.
“I was shocked as other contestants had 3D designs that were spectacular while mine was simple and does not stand out on the stage. In fact, the top 3 designs were simple and very wearable. I guess the reason for winning the competition was that my design included new detail that experiments with pleating and are very wearable.”
Sonia spent most of her time exploring “accordion pleats” and she was happy with the results as it gave her greater confidence working with pleats. Setting Sonia apart from other designers was her avant-garde approach to design, which challenged the boundaries of the norm and status quo to achieve a breakthrough.
Every designer has a source of inspiration. As for Sonia, her inspiration is derived from various sources throughout the day. One of her greatest source of inspiration is the world-renowned Iraqi-British architect, Dame Zaha Hadid and her architecture designs including London Aquatics Centre, Guangzhou Opera House and Riverside Museum in Glasgow.
Sonia spent approximately three weeks from conceptualization to fruition of the competition design and said, “I feel very thankful towards my lecturers, Ali and Irene who helped me with the construction and idea conception respectively”. Months before the completion of her BA, Sonia secured full-time employment and is currently working at Aijek as a fashion designer.