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ASU expands through Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles

The fashion school will be incorporated as part of the expansion of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts


"ASU's fashion program, which will now be called ASU FIDM, will operate in both Los Angeles and Phoenix."

ASU is expanding through the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, adding it to the Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts.

ASU's fashion program, which will now be called ASU FIDM, will operate in both Los Angeles and Phoenix.

FIDM, a private institution that focuses on providing its students with opportunities to further their creative abilities, will still continue to operate as a separate educational institution from ASU. As its own institution, FIDM will have an intentional focus on academic programs focused on business in the creative industry.

"The transition will provide students with access to a renowned faculty with extensive industry experience and the school will offer career-focused programs and experiences that enable students to have a sustainable and creative impact on the world," a press release from the University read. 

During the transitional period, FIDM students will have the opportunity to continue their curriculum as well as take ASU FIDM designated courses.

"As we work through the transition, over the next year students might take courses that are FIDM or ASU FIDM designated -- but our goal is that they can get the educational content and the co-curricular experiences that attracted them to FIDM," said Katie Paquet, an ASU spokesperson, in an email to The State Press. 

Steven Tepper, dean and director of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at ASU, talked about how this collaboration will expand students’ opportunities in a University press release.

"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," Tepper said.

ASU is collaborating with FIDM students to inform them about the ASU degree programs that have become accessible due to the expansion. Students enrolled in FIDM's fashion and design programs will receive guidance on their options to either finish their programs at FIDM or pursue their education at ASU, according to a University statement. 

"We are actively communicating with all currently enrolled students about the best pathway for them based on their field of study and where they are in their degree program," Paquet said. "We are working so that ASU programs will allow current FIDM students to continue to take classes in their selected degree pathways taught by faculty they came to study with at the current FIDM location in downtown LA."

FIDM Vice President of Education Barbara Bundy talked about the excitement around this expansion in a press release.

"Our tradition of excellence and inspiration will continue to thrive as a part of Arizona State University with students having expanded access to world-class facilities faculty, and programs to ensure they are prepared for a highly demanding, increasingly competitive and ever-evolving industry," Bundy said.

While ASU and FIDM administrators have expressed excitement for the partnership, several FIDM students have voiced their concerns about the plans on platforms such as TikTok and Twitter. 

"I have seen FIDM students' reaction to ASU buying their institution on TikTok, and I understand their concern on how much this will affect their education at FIDM," Alejandra Guerrero, a fashion major at ASU, said. "I believe they just need some reassurance from ASU that this is a good thing for both of our universities now that we won't be competing with each other but instead merging the two programs."

Guerrero said her feelings are mostly positive about the merge and the opportunities it could bring. 

"Overall, I would say my thoughts on ASU buying FIDM are, for the most part, positive," Guerrero said. "I think this opens a lot of doors for ASU fashion-focused students, especially since FIDM is located in Los Angeles where there are a handful of opportunities that would normally not be obtainable in Arizona."

Though Guerrero is excited for the partnership, she expressed concerns on its effect on student tuition and how much it will affect ASU's curriculum. 

Despite student hesitance, ASU and FIDM are confident in the partnership and the opportunities that it will provide Herberger Institute students and current FIDM students. 

"As we move forward with the transition ASU FIDM will bring students, faculty, staff and alumni together to talk about what the future of fashion education needs to be and we expect new pathways and degrees to emerge from those conversations, offered both in LA and Phoenix," Paquet said.

Correction: A previous version of this story and its headline incorrectly stated ASU was purchasing FIDM and adding it to its Herberger Institute. The story was updated on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, at 12:55 p.m. to correct the error. The story was updated again on Friday, April 21, 2023, at 11:10 a.m. to clarify FIDM will remain a separate institution. 

Edited by Sadie Buggle, Reagan Priest and Caera Learmonth.

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