Today we’d like to introduce you to Ariadna Morales.
Ariadna, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was in my high school’s FIDM Fashion Club my junior and senior year. After I attended a FIDM workshop that taught us how to sew our own skirts, I applied to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Irvine, California and I was accepted into their Merchandise Product Development Program. I graduated in June of 2014 and that’s when I began my fashion journey. There were so many unique opportunities I was given as a student and I took advantage of them all; I was invited to attend fashion shows, I volunteered as a model dresser backstage, I attended career networking events, social media panels, Oscar Gifting Suites, and influencer meetups. All of these events were giving me marketing experience and I was even offered a marketing position at FIDM but a part of me was torn though because I enjoyed the social media and marketing world but I always wanted to be part of the fashion and production side. As my two years at FIDM was coming to an end, I began to worry about not having a job lined up after graduation. I got really lucky though and this is where my beliefs are affirmed; everything that happens to you is for a reason, and it’s only what you do with the choices coming your way that you get to create your own path.
Right before I graduated, I met a lovely girl named Kate at FIDM who graduated a few years before me. She was invited to speak to our class and talk about her company, Reserved Studio. When it was time to ask questions, I was the first to raise my hand because I was genuinely curious and I wanted to know more about what she did. I learned that she is the owner of a graphic design company called Reserved Studio and sells her work to artwork buyers. That’s the simplified version but I promise you, she’s pretty cool. (This will be relevant in the story, later. I promise!) Well, that may have made a great impression because I was offered a position to be her intern and I was thrilled! First of all, to have a job and second because she had a part in the production world that I wanted to learn more about.
I was only there for a very short period of time and wish I had stayed longer but I was offered a job at American Apparel in October 2016 as an Assistant Product Developer in Downtown Los Angeles. I immediately took it but I kept in touch with Kate. During my time at American Apparel, I learned how to spec garments and how to manage a sample room full of buyers, fabric cutters and sample makers. I learned quite a lot but then Forever 21 recruited me to come on board as an Assistant Production Coordinator. Every single day, I was talking to vendors, collecting fit samples, passing them along to the correct person, tracking my purchase orders, reviewing color, print and fabric quality for every single style, talking to buyers and communicating the changes back to the vendors.
Meanwhile, I kept in touch with Kate and she invited me along to a Trade Show in New York in 2017. At the trade show, we met with buyers for small and big fashion companies. I went back to LA with a new goal in mind. I WANTED TO BE… A BUYER!! And that’s been my goal for the last two years. I was promoted back in March 2019 to be a buyer at Forever 21 and a few months after that, I moved to their beauty side – Riley Rose – as an Assistant Buyer for cosmetics. I was with Forever 21/ Riley Rose for three years where I grew from an Assistant Production Coordinator to an Associate Production Coordinator and then finally to an Assistant Buyer for apparel and beauty. I recently left that position because I just got hired as a Junior Assistant Buyer for Windsor which I start in December 2019.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Not at all. It’s funny to think about it now that it’s happened but I did face adversities that, at the moment, I didn’t think I would overcome. I faced people not believing in me and having to prove myself again and again. I had problems blamed on me when things were misunderstandings. I’ve had people on my team exclude me from conversations or events. My own limited experience was a struggle. I didn’t know what I didn’t know and I had to figure out how to solve issues by myself at times. My own mental health was a struggle – I was so hard on myself when things went wrong and I shouldn’t have. Yeah, it’s been a lot living and learning here.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
Well, I started my blog in 2017 called FashionEpiphanies.com. This blog has been a journey. I’m mostly sharing my own experience but I want this to become a place people come to for inspiration, laughter and community. When I was trying to come up with the idea for this blog, I just thought about what I needed as a first-generation Mexican woman who is building something for her self, especially in an industry as big as fashion. I know I’m very fortunate to be where I am today because of all the sacrifices my parents have made for me but I also know there are people out there who have the same potential, if not more than I do, but maybe not the same resources. That’s what I’m doing with this blog. Sharing my story and bringing inspiration to others. If I had someone who was where I wanted to be, telling me, “Girl, take your time. It will happen but you don’t need to rush,” I think I would still be eager but I would feel a lot better about where I was in my life. I know people need someone to be there for them, cheering them on, or picking them up along the way.
I’m really proud that I have friends in my life that support me. They tell me I inspire them but I’m the one who gets to be inspired by their accomplishments and their unique stories and I want to share that with the world! There are so many amazing people that others will never hear of but they should and I plan on having their stories shared through Fashion Epiphanies. I do plan to grow my blog into a business in the near future. Maybe offer a mentorship program, or an illustrator or photoshop class. I’m still figuring it out but I think that’s how I’ll set myself apart from everyone; just giving back and being a resource.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I think everything happens the way it’s supposed to so I wouldn’t change anything but I would prioritize my mental health. I let the thing I love the most be the cause of my burnout. I remember my first year at my job, I would find myself staying so late at work and then falling asleep at the wheel when I was driving home. So, if there’s one thing, I would want people to take in, is to know their own limitations and strengths. No job, no matter how much you want it or love it, is worth your mental state.
- Website: FashionEpiphanies.com
- Phone: 3238683813
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/OhHeyAry