Today’s “Alumni Spotlight” shines like a fashion show spotlight onto 2008 Communication Studies graduate Melissa Gomez. I’m very excited to profile Melissa because she is in an industry that I know many of you are interested in: fashion! So for all of you fashionistas out there, let’s catch up with Melissa!
Melissa currently works as a Product Development Manager for Target, Material Girl & Fire Clothing for a company called Topson Downs of California. They are a domestic importer based out of LA that works with domestic customers and manufactures clothing internationally. The company’s focus is “fast fashion.” Melissa’s position entails working as the liaison between their internal design team taking styles and fabric from inception into tangible product and transitioning it into actual clothing production. She also helps to get production orders based on current trends seen in the market. This position is incredibly creative and fast-paced. It entails keeping an eye on what is popular and up-and-coming in terms of fabric in the market (since her company focuses on fast fashion) and sourcing all fabrics directly with their factories and agents working out of China and Korea.
I asked Melissa how she got involved in the fashion industry, especially since her background is in Communication Studies. “I always knew I was both business-minded and creatively inclined. As an undergrad I worked retail for 2 years primarily at Nordstrom and briefly at Spanish retailer ZARA. I moved to LA in the summer of ’08 shortly after graduation and landed my first job in the industry, working for a T-shirt manufacturer’s showroom in the California Market Center. I love how creative my job is, and that my opinion and level of taste matters in product development for our extensive client base. I also love seeing the public wearing what I developed. What I do is anything but boring!”
I also asked Melissa how her Communication Studies degree helps her in her current position: “It helped in every capacity under the sun. To say my job is detail oriented is a grave understatement- you have to be a great writer in order to decipher and communicate clearly when you are developing upwards of 350 plus fabrics for a group of demanding designers while sourcing with endless international mills. Interpersonal skills are not to be underestimated, this industry is for the thick-skinned and honing in on your skills, as well as seeing other people’s weaknesses makes you a cut above the rest in this high-pressure no room for mistakes business.”
Melissa’s advice for those of you interested in fashion? “Do what you love and never lose your enthusiasm for it. This industry chooses you, fashion never stops and it never sleeps. This business is a fortress to enter, but the possibilities to succeed are endless.”
Melissa’s dream is to open her own boutique. I think she is well on her way! Congratulations, Melissa, and thanks for sharing your experience!