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francesignacio Can you tell us about what you do for H&M and how you got started? I’m a visual manager at H&M so I take care of all indoor displays, mannequins, merchandising the garments, and also helping out customers on the sales floor. I started at H&M in December 2007; I had just graduated from JCI and heard H&M was going to be expanding in BC (they only had 1 store open here at the time) so decided to apply for a Visual Manager position despite my lack of retail experience.  I got hired as a Full Time Sales Advisor and knew I wanted to work my way up towards being a Visual Merchandiser.  H&M really believes in their employees and will give you every opportunity as long as you have the drive to succeed. Within 2 years of being a Sales Advisor, I got promoted to a Visual Manager! Since then, I’ve had to opportunity to travel around Alberta and Toronto, travel to various stores around BC, and now I work in the downtown Vancouver flagship location. What inspired you to get into the Fashion industry? Ever since my childhood, I was always passionate for fashion. I was so interested in what celebrities wore in their music videos and concerts, the outfits that my favorite cartoons would wear, and I loved to draw as a kid so I would draw different outfits I came up with. It wasn’t until after my first semester at college that I realized I wanted to pursue fashion in my education and eventually a career.  I originally took accounting just because I wasn’t sure what I really wanted to do at the time and it was something my parents wanted me to go into.  I was unhappy and felt this isn’t who I am, so without telling my parents at first, I enrolled in the Fashion Business & Creative Arts Diploma Program. Before I had my interview to get into the program, I finally told my parents that I was miserable doing accounting and that fashion was my true interest.  Since then, they have supported me throughout my education and career!  Here I am 8 years later and I have no regrets at all for making that choice!

How would you describe your sense of style? Though my style is always changing, it has always been a mix of sporty and edgy (and lately the street goth look).  I am heavily influenced by menswear (I own a lot of men’s pieces and tend to shop in the men’s section often!) and streetwear brands and I wear a lot of black!  My favorite designers are Alexander Wang, and Chanel and as for streetwear brands my top favorites are Adidas, Nike, Untitled & Co, and various others that I have found through Instagram.  My biggest style icons are Rihanna, Beyonce, and Kanye West but I get a lot of inspiration from Instagram!  You can find anything through a hashtag or through your explore page!

Name an essential closet piece every person should have. An essential closet piece every person should have is a black leather moto jacket and a wool coat.  With fall and winter coming, these pieces are a must have and if you choose one in a neutral color and classic cut, it will last you for years!  And the great thing with the leather jacket is it’s a great transitional piece as you can layer it for colder days or wear it alone for warmer nights.

Are there any current trends you’re feeling at the moment? I love that the 90s is still in full swing; I’m obsessed with everything 90s and seeing everything from my childhood coming back is nostalgic to me!  (Hello choker necklaces and overalls!). I also love all the grey and beige hues on the runway as well.  I’m totally feeling the current Alexander Wang and Yeezy Season 2 collections.


Can you recall your experience at JCI? Did you have any favorite moments? The Fashion Business & Creative Arts Diploma Program was great because it covers most of the different positions you can have in the fashion industry and involves a lot of hands on projects.  The classes are also taught by people who actually work in the fashion industry so it was a great way to network as well.  My favorite moments were getting to do displays at the Bay and a window at a bridal boutique as part of our Visual Merchandising course (and I think this is what sparked my interest for visual merchandising!).  I also had to opportunity to work alongside the wardrobe team for an MTV show (and got to meet Cory Monteith , pre-Glee days!) thanks to my fashion styling teacher!  I’ve made some great network connections and friends through my schooling at JCI.

What advice do you have for newly graduated Fashion students? My advice for newly graduated fashion students is to stay focused on your goals and dreams, to take every opportunity given to you, and to have a work ethic and drive that makes you stand out from the others.  When your employer sees your dedication and hard work ethic they will invest the time to get you to where you want to be.  Ever since I graduated from JCI, I knew I had to work my way up to get where I wanted to be so don’t be afraid if you have to start from the very bottom…. We all need to start somewhere!  Don’t forget to always have a positive attitude and not to take feedback personally.  In the end, do what makes you happy!  If you enjoy the work you do, you’ve found your career!

What can we expect from you in the next few years? In the next few years, I hope to move up within H&M and continue to work on my fashion blog.  I love to travel so I plan to travel to new places in the future! _______________________________________________________________ Get social with Frances: Instagram: @franstar Pinterest: @Stylerution _______________________________________________________________

JCI’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 grads a distinct advantage both in knowledge and skill.

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