Fashion Institute of Technology, NY
Future FashionProfessional: Blaire Brown
Home State: Maryland
Etsy Store: www.fashionflamingopurse.etsy.com
I chose fashion as my career path because of my passion for the fashion industry, and because of my purse business that I run. Seeing that my love for design and creating garments has not ever gone away, I decided it was the perfect career for me to continue pursuing in college. Currently I am a Fashion Merchandising Management major at FIT, but I plan on going back and getting my Fashion Design degree after I get my Bachelors in FMM.
My favorite element of the fashion industry has to be purses, of course everywhere I go I constantly think about purses, whether I find new material to use as an embellishment or an awesome new fabric that inspires me. It never ends!
Starting a Business
For the past four years I have been running my own business making and selling purses online. The idea of running my own business started when I got tired of seeing everyone carrying around the same mainstream purses at school. I wanted to carry a purse that was unique, stylish, and fun. Instead of spending tons of money on a purse with someone else’s logo, I decided to make my own purse. Carrying it around school and out shopping, I kept receiving tons of compliments on my new creation. My friends wanted purses of their own, too. Seeing the need for cute bags, I then decided to turn my passion for fashion into a business. I then went online researching the best way to have a business online, and then founded FashionFlamingo.com.
After weeks of late nights and early mornings working on my website, I was finally up and running! Not only have my purses been ordered all over the United States, but I also have a few purses floating around Norway, Spain, China, and Japan. It is so rewarding to see people around school and the community carrying my purses!
My love for fashion and being creative has not faltered for a second since my business has begun. Because of my passion, I decided to make it my career. I was a student at Virginia Tech, majoring in Fashion Design and Merchandising for a year and a half. Because of college, I switched my website to an Etsy storefront for easier site maintenance while in school. I currently sell my purses at the FIT Style Shop as well.
My dream after college is to work for a fashion magazine for a few years, establishing relationships with mentors, and continue learning everything about the fashion industry. Eventually I want to have my own shop, continuing my purse business and hopefully expanding it to make children’s clothing and women’s dresses.
What is your proudest accomplishment thus far in your life?
Proudest accomplishment so far in my life has been establishing a successful business. It is so rewarding to see people carry purses that I designed and created for them! In addition, last year I received 2 scholarships for my entrepreneurial endeavors, and also made 2nd place for Entrepreneur of the year in the DC area.
Virginia Tech & The Fashion Institute of Technology
I attended Virginia Tech for a year and a half which is located in Blacksburg, VA. I am currently a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology which is located in NYC. My major is Fashion Merchandising Management, which is in the FIT business school. I have only been at FIT for one semester, so it is hard to say which class has been the most valuable so far. I learned a lot of valuable information in Fashion Marketing. We worked on a lot of case studies for current fashion companies and analyzed their marketing strategies. I also have loved art in NY, we get to go on trips to museums around the city and stroll through Central Park analyzing the architecture and statues.
My top 3 reasons for choosing FIT:
- Very respected school for the fashion industry
- Located in New York City
- Will be perfect for setting me up for a successful career in the fashion industry, as far as experience it has brought me so far and for the connections I have/will be making
I would absolutely recommend FIT to anyone looking to be a part of the fashion industry. The school is fantastic for making connections. My second week being there I was able to work at Fashion Week, and attend a show in Bryant Park. It caters to every aspect of the fashion industry. FIT also hosts a lot of fashion shows, networking conferences, celebrity fashion guest speakers, and fun activities for students like flea markets, live bands outside of the central building, movie nights, etc.
Internships & Jobs
FIT does offer internships/assistance in finding them and you can receive credit for the internships. FIT is unique because it is located in the fashion district of NYC. They guarantee to help you find jobs after college as alumni. They have a school Style Shop where they sell student work. It also has the only Fashion Museum in New York conveniently located on campus.
Applying to the Fashion Institute of Technology
I would advise anyone that applies to FIT to really be committed and love fashion! Write all about your fashion experiences in your application essay. Understand the fashion industry is tough, but it is a lot of fun if your heart is into it J
Getting Into the Industry
I briefly worked as an intern at a luxury-wear designer’s boutique, running errands and whatnot. In addition, designers like Isaac Mizrahi speak at FIT for free, so I attended his seminar which was exciting! I’ve also attended launch parties and a photo shoot. I currently work at Express. Being in NYC is fantastic for a fashion major! The opportunities are endless.
The best advice I have been given about the fashion industry is to really network! Get your name out there and make connections. New York is such a fantastic place to make connections with people in the industry.
Teen Vogue Fashion University
In 2006, I attended the Teen Vogue Fashion University weekend seminars in New York City. This fantastic event gave me the opportunity to listen to leaders of the fashion industry. I networked with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s designer and told him about my business, and gave him my business card. About a month later, I received an e-mail asking me to write an article on local fashion in Southern Maryland, and to feature my purses on the Olsen twins’ website! A magazine in NYC called The CGC (College Gossip Chronicles) have contacted me about my purses as well. They told me that they love my purses and would like to feature them for their Back-to-School event in September. My county has featured my purses in The County Times. Needless to say, great things have been happening for my purse business, and it gets more and more exciting everyday!
Volunteering at New York Fashion Week
To expand my knowledge of the fashion industry, I have volunteered at fashion week. I dressed models behind stage at one and helped organize fittings of models the day before the show. Another fashion show I was front of the house setting it up and assisting wherever they needed me.
What’s Next for Blaire
Next for me is a new line of women’s night-time clutches and purses. I want to make some cute clutches you can bring to special events/parties. My ultimate goal after college is to run my own boutique and continue to have my own fashion line, but expand it into childrenswear and women’s dresses.