Apr 24, 2023 - News

ASU fashion school gets a new brand

The facade of a white building with two metal dog sculptures and several palm trees in front.

The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in downtown Los Angeles. Photo: Courtesy of ASU

Arizona State University is adding a big name to its Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts through a partnership with the Los Angeles-based Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM).

Driving the news: ASU's fashion program, launched in 2017, will be known as ASU FIDM, the university announced this month, acquiring the L.A. private school's famous brand.

Details: This isn't an acquisition, ASU spokesperson Katie Paquet tells Axios Phoenix. It's "an integration of the brands and an expansion of our programs."

  • New ASU fashion students in both Arizona and California will be ASU FIDM students moving forward.
  • Current students will get an opportunity to enroll in the new ASU FIDM program.
  • Financial terms of the merger haven't been finalized yet, Paquet says.

Of note: Founded in 1969, FIDM has produced notable alumni including designer Monique Lhuillier; Beautyblender founder Rea Ann Silva; Sarah Truly Beers, Marvel’s vice president of franchise creative and marketing; Kia Ragland, director of global product development at Smashbox Cosmetics; and costume designer Trish Summerville.

What they're saying: "Giving aspiring creative professionals the chance to study at a global research university vastly expands their choices and their ability to contribute to a fast-growing industry," Steven Tepper, dean and director of the Herberger Institute, said in a press statement.

Zoom in: The original FIDM will remain independent from ASU.

  • Paquet says ASU has a license to lease FIDM's downtown Los Angeles facilities, which it hopes to eventually purchase.
  • A spokesperson for FIDM did not respond to an email or phone message from Axios Phoenix.

Between the lines: For FIDM, the integration is a lifeline after "years of cuts and financial turmoil," the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month.

  • The Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission placed the school on probation in 2021 and informed FIDM last month it would lose accreditation in July over concerns about long-term financial viability.
  • FIDM recently laid off 107 employees, the latest in multiple rounds of layoffs over the past several years, and terminated several of its fashion and design programs, according to the Times.

Yes, but: Paquet says FIDM's probationary issues won't have any bearing on ASU's new integrated fashion program.

Of note: Because it's an out-of-state program, ASU FIDM students in Los Angeles won't be eligible for federal financial aid the university offers exclusively to students in Arizona.

  • Paquet says those students can still apply for other scholarships and grants, as well as for private loans.

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