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Sarah Koss X JCI Fashion Graduate and Nordstrom Business Analyst

23
06.2017

At the age of 18, Sarah Koss left her home in Seattle, Washington to study Fashion at John Casablancas Institute.

“I love fashion and wanted the opportunity to live abroad, which JCI was able to give me.”

While studying the Fashion Business and Arts Program at JCI, Sarah received internships at Horton Berner and Moulé. Once graduating JCI, Sarah began her journey at Nordstrom as Men’s Clothing and Furnishings Manager in January 2012.

In 2013 she began to move her way up in the company and became Studio Manager for a year and then got promoted to Personal Styling Manager. As Personal Styling Manager, Sarah was responsible for managing large teams in developing and executing high-level business plans.

In 2015 Sarah was appointed as Nordstrom’s Styling Sales Manager where she taught selling through organized classes and worked with over 800 sales representatives. Recently, the JCI Fashion graduate got promoted to Business Analyst for the Nordstrom Technology team.

“I love managing people and helping teams build out a structure for new roles and launches. My immediate goal is to be a project manager and who knows where life will take me from there!”

 

How did you get involved in the fashion industry?  

While I was a student at JCI, I had my own fashion blog, Twitter account, and other social media accounts. When I was near graduating the fashion program, I tweeted a Nordstrom store manager about current opportunities and he replied telling me to call him the next day to discuss employment. The rest is history!

During school, I interned with Horton Berner Fashion Group, one of Canada’s leading Fashion Showrooms. I also scored an internship at Moulé which I loved. I would tell every JCI student to apply for an internship while you’re in school. This is the best way to get your foot in the fashion scene, build connections and get real life experience.

“The Fashion Director at JCI at the time, Nicola MacEwen, really pushed for me in my internships and got me interviews. She was an important person in my development and professional career—I’m very thankful for her.”

Tell us about your Nordstrom journey.

I’ve had many different positions within Nordstrom. From managing the men’s and women’s departments to Personal Styling and most recently I was the Sales and Styling Manager. As a Sales and Styling Manager I was responsible for new hire training, the personal styling team, elevated sales programs, teaching and educating on tools and store systems.

“I love that the fashion industry is always changing and evolving. No two days are the same and I’m always learning something.”

I just got promoted to a corporate position as a business analyst for a technology team. My goals are to be in the program management team and this is the perfect next step to get me onto that path.

What do you do when you aren’t working?

I just bought a house and we got chickens! That’s really fun and time-consuming. I’m also a big sister for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization which is very rewarding. My hobbies include hiking, playing tennis and traveling.

“People describe me as an outgoing, eager and go-getter type of person.”

What are some challenges you’ve come across in the industry?

I believe that the challenges are more around specific education. With the market flooded by people who love fashion, the JCI program gives you a great crash course on all things fashion and allows you to find your true passion. If you want to get into business or something more specific, additional schooling and specialized degrees are helpful.

What advice do you have for aspiring fashion students?

Volunteer a lot— whether it’s a fashion show, sample sale or store opening, you will build a lot of connections by keeping your mind open and putting yourself out there. What really helped me is not worrying so much about a specific job when I graduated, but more on the company I wanted to work with. 7 years later and I’m still with Nordstrom!

What really helped me is not worrying so much about a specific job when I graduated, but more on the company I wanted to work with. 7 years later and I’m still with Nordstrom!

“I get inspired by people who think out of the box. I love when people can truly be themselves and express who they are from what they wear. It’s all about empowering each other.”

Picture via Sarah Koss’s Instagram 


Love fashion and want to make it your career? JCI Institute Vancouver’s Fashion Business & Creative Arts Diploma Program provide students with a comprehensive overview of the fashion industry, combining creative and business elements. This diverse approach gives our fashion school grads a distinct advantage both in knowledge and skill. Prepare for many jobs in the fashion industry, including becoming a fashion buyer, fashion stylist, or for work in fashion merchandising. If becoming a fashion designer is more your speed, choose our Core Fashion Program. This course at our fashion design institute will give you all the skills you need to be a fashion designer. Choose between our fashion programs to find the best fit for you!

Davneet Dhillon,
Blog / Fashion

Summer 2017 Fashion Trends

14
06.2017

With less than two weeks left before the summer solstice hits, we’ll finally be able to soak in the sun wearing the latest fashion trends. Now’s your chance to get ahead of the game and prepare your hottest outfits for the next season.

Here’s the rundown on what you need in your closet this summer:

The Single-Shoulder Cut-Outs 

Don’t worry ladies, off-the-shoulder tops aren’t going anywhere and will remain essential pieces in your summer wardrobe. However, this year try the new feminine and chic one-shoulder phenomenon, or as Harpers Bazaar calls it, “The Cold Shoulder.”

The Robe Coat

Remember when wearing pajamas was a major game-changing fashion trend? High-end designers never fail to surprise us with new styles and this summer you’ll be seeing a lot of celebrities and bloggers rocking a robe with their outfits. The robe trend is a style savior that will definitely make your Monday mornings a whole lot easier.

Sun’s Out, Bra’s Out

The bra trend reveals that fashion really has no rules! Whether you style your bra underneath a sheer top, pair it with high-waisted pants or wear it comfortable and casual like Sofia Richie, this trend is here to stay. Victoria Beckham is another celeb to have hopped on board with this trend.

“Corsetry is something that I’ve been doing since my first collection—it’s very much something that people associate with me,” Beckham said of her bra tops. “I’m evolving it with a feminine take on the bra top.”

Statement Stripes

Dress in bold stripes this summer from head to toe. Check out our favorite striped looks:

Waist-Cinchers

It’s official, the waist-cincher, or corset, will be this seasons hottest street style trend. Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Gigi Hadid have been photographed wearing this waist emphasizing accessory as an everyday look. Imagine what people from the sixteenth century would think!

 

Ruffles, skewed hemline skirts, retro swimsuits, wrap dresses, deconstructed shirts and florals are other fashion trends that you will be able to spot in the upcoming season.

Check out our Summer 2017 Fashion Trends board on Pinterest to view more styles! 


Love fashion and want to make it your career? JCI Institute Vancouver’s Fashion Business & Creative Arts Diploma Program provide students with a comprehensive overview of the fashion industry, combining creative and business elements. This diverse approach gives our fashion school grads a distinct advantage both in knowledge and skill. Prepare for many jobs in the fashion industry, including becoming a fashion buyer, fashion stylist, or for work in fashion merchandising. If becoming a fashion designer is more your speed, choose our Core Fashion Program. This course at our fashion design institute will give you all the skills you need to be a fashion designer. Choose between our fashion programs to find the best fit for you!

Davneet Dhillon,
Blog / Fashion / Features

JCI Fashion Graduate, Co-op Student and Art Enthusiast: Carolina Lara Cardoso

07
06.2017

Carolina Lara Cardoso knew exactly what she had to do in order to pursue her dreams of becoming an Art Director in Canada and leading a creative team. After a sudden loss in her family, she gathered herself together and moved from Brazil to Canada to study Fashion at John Casablancas Institute.

“I decided to spend time away from Brazil to grow stronger as a person and learn more about the international fashion industry.”

“Besides the fact that Fashion is one of the largest industries in the world with high demands, what inspired me to get into this industry was its true art form. Fashion tells stories— from the designers who create garments to the people who wear it, and it reflects the changes in human history.” 

Carolina enrolled in the Fashion Business and Arts Program at JCI in 2016 after completing a degree in Advertising in Brazil. As a newcomer to Vancouver, she didn’t have many references or friends, however, she decided the city would be a great place to network with people in the industry.

“I had to overcome my fear of being an outsider and having English as a second language. To this day, I often struggle with myself but I love challenges because they keep me going. I’ve learned to start new friendships and value every person that crosses my path.”

As someone who enjoys traveling and experiencing different cultures, the adaptation process for Carolina was very natural. Despite it getting tough being away from friends and family back home, Carolina kept busy with creativity and made new connections.

Fashion is not the only thing that Carolina is passionate about—she enjoys studying and learning about Art History, Architecture, Design and recently found an interest in Botany.

“A few of my fashion inspirations are Grace Coddington, David Bowie, Alessandro Michele, Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney and Leandra Medine.”

Since graduating from the JCI Fashion Program, Carolina began her Co-op placement with Amaterasu, a Canadian Beauty Brand founded by JCI Fashion and Makeup graduate Sara Au Yeong. Carolina works as the Creative Digital Designer—creating visual content for the brand including videos, product photography, and graphics.

“I love the creative aspect of fashion. It it much more than trends— getting dressed is an act of poetry.”

The biggest challenge that Carolina has come across as an international fashion student is building a network from scratch. It’s difficult to start a career in a competitive industry without networking. This is a reason why Carolina decided to begin her Co-op at Amaterasu and since then she has built many connections.

“I have been very lucky to work alongside with Amaterasu Beauty because I get to work for a company that not only values quality over quantity but sees people and the planet alongside their profit.”

From Brazil to Canada, Carolina has been walking with her head held high and focusing on goals to consolidate her career as an Art Director and preparing to lead a creative team in the long run.

Check out the creative projects that Carolina has contributed to on her website.


Love fashion and want to make it your career? JCI Institute Vancouver’s Fashion Business & Creative Arts Diploma Program provide students with a comprehensive overview of the fashion industry, combining creative and business elements. This diverse approach gives our fashion school grads a distinct advantage both in knowledge and skill. Prepare for many jobs in the fashion industry, including becoming a fashion buyer, fashion stylist, or for work in fashion merchandising. If becoming a fashion designer is more your speed, choose our Core Fashion Program. This course at our fashion design institute will give you all the skills you need to be a fashion designer. Choose between our fashion programs to find the best fit for you!

Davneet Dhillon,
Blog / Fashion

JCI Talks: Creative and Fashion Director, Maneli Nourbakhsh

01
06.2017

Meet Maneli Nourbakhsh, the Creative Director of Aiki District and the Fashion Director/Career Liaison at John Casablancas Institute.

  

At age three, before even really knowing what fashion was, Maneli was already fascinated with illustrating women in different outfits. She loved creating from a young age but found herself equally drawn to the academic field of law as she continued through school.

“I was caught in-between my two passions: fashion and law. During career week in high school, I interned at a fashion house called Christine Vancouver for a week as well as a law firm.”

Maneli was torn between the legal and fashion worlds. She went on to graduate with a degree in Sociology and Political Science from the University of British Columbia and had the opportunity to work with a local Political Party. Soon after writing the LSAT, Maneli decided to hold off on law school to go traveling.

“While I was traveling throughout Europe and the Middle East, I was inspired by all the art surrounding me and I knew fashion is the path to pursue.”

This choice sparked her passion for the creative, and Maneli found herself inspired to pursue a career in fashion. A few months after her trip, she returned to Vancouver and enrolled in fashion school. After receiving a diploma in Fashion Design, Maneli once again packed her bags and moved to London where she interned at MCQ then joined the print design team at Alexander McQueen.

“Maison Margiela, Alexander McQueen and Commes des Garcons are my biggest fashion influencers.” 

Maneli co-founded Aiki District with Anahita Faghih in December 2016. As someone who enjoys traveling around the world, she often struggled to find clothes to pack in her luggage. Most of her favorite pieces did not travel well, becoming wrinkled or even damaged in a suitcase.

This sparked the idea to create a fashion label that focuses on clothing which is contemporary and ideal for packing. Aiki District has a full team of people who work together to create their versatile collections. The travel-wear line will also be launching menswear in the future.

“I always knew I wanted to start my own contemporary clothing line for women’s wear.”

 

“The most rewarding moments throughout my career were the launch party at Aiki District, which was really special, and earning the position of Fashion Director at JCI.”

Maneli keeps a busy schedule between running Aiki District and directing the Fashion Department at John Casablancas Institute. She enjoys working at JCI because of the positive, professional environment and good energy from the students and staff. Maneli has a lot of plans for her future at JCI and is excited to see the school grow, especially after the introduction of the Core Design Program in Fall 2016.

“I never thought I would get into the educational side of fashion but I love it. Definitely, take opportunities and put your all into it and see where you can go from there.”

Though it’s difficult to get time for yourself when you’re running your own business and working as a Fashion Director, on her days off Maneli can be seen restaurant hopping, catching the latest shows and trying to plan a weekend getaway.

Maneli has never stopped traveling and continues to use her trips for design inspiration. She has driven all around Europe and still goes back and forth between London and Vancouver. Of all the places Maneli has visited, the city Shiraz in Iran has been her favorite muse to date.

“Take any opportunity that comes your way because you never know what you will enjoy unless you give it a try.”

The word of advice Maneli would give to students striving to make it in the fashion industry is to start networking as much as possible. It is a key concept in the industry, so begin making connections while you’re a student or as soon as you graduate from your program,  Maneli encourages students to take any opportunity that comes their way.  You may not know what other jobs you enjoy unless you take the risk and give it a try!

Keep up with Maneli and her stylish adventures on her Instagram

Shop Aiki District 


Love fashion and want to make it your career? JCI Institute Vancouver’s Fashion Business & Creative Arts Diploma Program provide students with a comprehensive overview of the fashion industry, combining creative and business elements. This diverse approach gives our fashion school grads a distinct advantage both in knowledge and skill. Prepare for many jobs in the fashion industry, including becoming a fashion buyer, fashion stylist, or for work in fashion merchandising. If becoming a fashion designer is more your speed, choose our Core Fashion Program. This course at our fashion design institute will give you all the skills you need to be a fashion designer. Choose between our fashion programs to find the best fit for you!

Davneet Dhillon,
Blog / Fashion

Men in Rompers: A Thing or Fling?

19
05.2017

Believe it or not, the romper may be summer 2017’s hottest trend for men. Let’s face it ladies, we tried to warn them about how onesies can be uncomfortable, and even explained just how annoying they are during trips to the bathroom. Despite our cautionary tales, men in rompers have been a hot topic all across social media this week.

ACED Design is the company behind the creation of male rompers, which they have branded the “RompHim.” The start-up company describes this must-have summer item for men to be “more stylish and fun without sacrificing comfort, fit and versatility.”

ACED quickly surpassed their KickStarter goal of $10,000, and has now raised more than $300,000 from over 2,500 backers.

Cam Newton, an American Football quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, was also seen rocking a floral romper at the Coachella Valley Music Festival last month. This outfit certainly made a big impression, and soon went viral on Twitter.

You may be wondering where the inspiration to design male rompers came from. Flare Magazine suggests that legendary rap artist Tupac Shakur and hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper are icons who may have began this trend without even knowing it.

Tupac rocked a denim jumpsuit back in the ‘90s and Chance the Rapper has been seen wearing a pair of red overalls on Saturday Night Live. These looks may have been the stepping stones to what we now call “RompHims.”

Staff members at John Casablancas Institute have their own opinions on male rompers:

“If you’re a man with a pot belly, don’t wear a romper.”  – Jenifer Sterling, JCI Body Spa Instructor 

“Male rompers are a crime to fashion. The only male who got away with wearing a romper was James Bond in 1964’s Goldfinger (and that was questionable). But 007 gets away with everything.” – Colin Boguski, JCI Managing Director  

“While I don’t know that I would be totally on board with a man in a romper, I can certainly appreciate the effort to be adventurous with fashion. Menswear can be so stagnant!” – Samantha Young, JCI Associate Director of Admissions

“Not all men can pull off wearing a romper. You’ve got to be darn special to pull this look off, perhaps a toddler.”  Jamie Esmeria-Bantog, JCI  Coordinator 

“All I can say is male cameltoe, yikes!” – Trish Cox, JCI Associate Director of Admissions

“The only thing worse than a male romper is a male romper with a man bun. Out.” Celia Bica, JCI Associate Director of Admissions

JCI staff and the rest of the world has spoken out about how they feel about men in rompers. Now only time will tell if RompHims become a thing this summer or simply remain a social media fling!

Davneet Dhillon,
MAKE YOUR PASSION YOUR PAYCHECK
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