Introducing our First Graduating Class

Introducing our First Graduating Class
The energy and excitement are rising in our school as graduation is just around the corner! FISFL’s first graduating class will be showcasing their work on a professional runway this November 15, 2018. Our students have come a long way to prepare for this moment and have been working diligently for the past year and a half. We interviewed a few of our graduates to get some insight into their collections and learn about their journey as fashion students. They shared what it takes to succeed in school as well as in life. We couldn’t be more inspired and proud of them as well!


Get to know our first graduates in our interview below.

What inspired your collection?

Nathalie: My collection is called Tropical Forest. As the name implies, it is very tropical and summery; perfect for resort wear. It’s inspired by the city that I live in, Miami. The jungle’s trees, flowers, and natural vibrant colors inspired me as well as everything that nature has to offer.


Gabriela: I’m also inspired by the city of Miami. I’m from Caracas, Venezuela which is a tropical country in the Caribbean. I love the ruffles, movement, diversity, and culture in both environments. 

Ana: I have two collections. The first one is called Zen Tropics. I really wanted something that I could wear at resorts. It’s very much a tropical islandy collection inspired by my home, the Philippines. My collection reminds me of home — the green and the lightness of the fabrics. The second collection was inspired by my daughter. She’s four and she loves color and life and everything bright and fun. So I wanted that feeling, but feminine. That collection is called Living out Loud.

What was the hardest part of preparing for graduation?

Gabriela: All the details. I think we are all perfectionists here. To put everything together and have everything ready has been a challenge, but we’re working at it.

Ana: Working and being a mom. I do work full time and really trying to overcome self-doubt and questioning myself like, “Is it good enough?” It really becomes like your baby. I’m very cautious about it. I try not to be overly critical of my own creation because it’s going to be out there presented to the world for the first time.

It must almost feel like being naked.

Ana: Yes, I do! Even when people were telling me to buy the graduation tickets I was like, “Oh my God!” My stomach clenched every time. But it’s really about overcoming the emotions.

Nathalie: Oh my God. Well, I challenge myself in tremendous ways because Rucht had sent us an email asking who would like to volunteer to speak at the graduation event and I chose to.

So you’re the Valedictorian in a sense.

Nathalie: Yes, so I’m going to be talking about my experience, about the school and the classes through these past couple of months. How it was when we were creating the patterns for our collections, etc. Another challenge about gathering my collection and having it come to reality was finding the fabrics. It took me so long to find the fabrics.

Why was it so hard for you to find fabrics? Were you looking for something specific?

Nathalie: Yes, I went to various fabric stores, but they didn’t have quite what I was looking for. It was not just the look of the fabric, I was also looking for a better feel and quality. Thankfully, I found a place called Fabric World.

Out of all the courses you had to take, what was your favorite class? Which was the most difficult?

Gabriela: My favorites were the sewing classes. In the beginning, I couldn’t even turn on a sewing machine. Being able to put a garment together for me is fascinating.


It must feel very empowering.

Gabriela: Yes, very much so. And as far as my least favorite…they are all very important but I found the more “technical” courses to be the most difficult for me. I like to be hands-on so for me the lectures were the most difficult for me to sit through. Ana: The most difficult class for me was Illustration. I did the foundations, but I prefer to do work on the computer because I have such a hard time making choices. I want to see every pattern and color combination possible. So I had such a hard time drawing everything out, coloring it in, and putting it together for the portfolio. I just wanted to scan the photos of the fabric and see what works.

And your favorite class?

Ana: My favorite class was absolutely sewing. It’s very therapeutic and I love seeing the final pieces come together. Seeing it manifest into what you wanted it to be and what you created it to be.

Nathalie: My favorite class was definitely Draping. I like it the most because you actually get to see the design beforehand. You get to see it live versus just sketching it and imagining how it would look on fabric. You can actually see it. And I don’t want to speak for most people, but my least favorite was the Grading class.

Really, why?

Nathalie: It’s a very important class because it’s where you learn how to increase and decrease sizes, but somehow it was not my forte.

What was the most valuable lesson you learned at the Fashion Institute of South Florida?

Gabriela: If you want to do something, you can do it. You are able to learn anything you want to do. Just put the effort in and want it. You are able to do whatever you want in life.

Ana: Taking from patternmaking, we take all of our measurements and plan out and plot and do as much as we can on paper and really put something down as a plan. Then we put it on the dress form. It might not be perfect or it might not work out the way we wanted it to, but then we make adjustments. So with that aspect, that is probably the most important thing I’ve learned in my 34 years. I have made adjustments in my life and that is something that is 17 years in the making for me. I started off in fashion school in San Francisco, then I moved to Miami, then went off for my degree in finance, and now I’m back here so it really is just making those adjustments.

Nathalie:  As soon as I came to this school, it was a beautiful experience for me. The value that I got out of it was to work hard, even if you have to work late at night. That is really is something. Because it taught me how to be determined, and determination is an essential thing for you to have in this industry. In order to get what you want you need to work really hard for it, regardless of what it takes.

What are your plans after graduation?

Ana: If it were up to my daughter, she would probably want me to make her collection every day all day, but I think I want to start off small. Maybe posting some collections on Instagram, building a website, and seeing where it goes from there.

So what would you call your line?

Ana: So my grandmother was the seamstress and I’m the only one that took after her, and I never got a chance meet her. Her name was Lorraine, so I would do House of Laurenz.

Gabriela: Basically the same. I already have my brand, Pink Clover Beachwear. The goal is to make the brand known, to do the marketing, and to keep designing and creating versatile garments that every woman is able to wear.

Nathalie: My plan is to extend my collection, to do various fashion shows, and to get my name known in the fashion industry. I want to start working in the Miami area locally then eventually be nationwide and then internationally so I can be a world known fashion designer.

Save the Date!

The Fashion Institute of South Florida’s first class will be graduating this November 15, 2018. We will host a Fashion Show in which our students will showcase a three-look collection that they have been working diligently on for the last few months.


The students will also be competing for the opportunity to showcase their entire collection at NYFW Designers of Latin America this upcoming February 2019 in New York.


The festivities will begin with a presentation of our students’ portfolios. The evening will then proceed with the graduation ceremony which includes a speech from one of our graduating students, Nathalie Moya, and our school president, Ms. D’Oleo. The event will conclude with a runway show where the students will showcase their designs on professional runway models on a 50-foot long catwalk.

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