By Roxana Hernandez
Originally posted on Her Campus
Posted Feb 22 2015 – 12:00am
Linnet Tarverdi, a CSULA alumnus, is an inspiration to not only the fashion students but all students in general. As a former student, Linnet recognizes the struggle that can happen when having work and class, but encourages students to push through and ignite their inner potential. Inspiration and hard work are two gears for success that Linnet always takes with her–it surely has brought her much success as she is now a member of the Michael Costello Couture team. Linnet shares with us what it was like to be a fashion student, and what it’s like to go out into the world of fashion, while keeping one’s own authenticity.
What sparked your interest in fashion?
My mother was always interested in fashion, it showed through the way she dressed herself and the way she dress us, her family. She used to sew, alter, remake different dresses, bead gowns, and make appliques. As a curious little girl, I would always stand next to her to watch how she did things. Of course, I would then try to copy her and make some pieces for my Barbie’s. The real highlight of the spark in fashion was during my teen years while watching fashion shows on FTV. After the shows I would discuss with my mother about the collections and the designs, and I would imagine my own shows as well. I could always see myself on the runway stage after the final walk down with my models. That scene is still one of my dreams, and I hope one day it comes true.
While at CSULA what were you involved with?
The most intricate period of my education at CSULA was the last two group projects in my senior year. The first one was a collection for the Art department faculties, and the second one was the final senior project. In both assignments the main challenge was combining two or three students’ ideas, tastes, and methods in a unifying theme to create cohesive designs.
Tell us a little bit about that.
For the faculty project, the central goal and challenge was making our actual client happy and satisfied with the final design, textile, fitting, and work quality of the collection. Fortunately, our collection was one of the top 3 in class, which came out very successful and identical with our client’s desire. For the senior project, I was in a group of 3 as a fashion designer with a merchandiser, and a textile designer. There was a lot of work to do in the 3 different fields such as: merging my designs with the textile and the final look book. The outcome came out extremely successful and was selected as one of the top 5. In fact, one of the looks has been exhibited in the campus art gallery for a week as one of the top 3.
What is the most important thing you learned from that involvement?
Team work and communication is essential, time management is vital and listening and respecting others’ ideas is very important. Among other things, I learned about: flexibility, agreements and disagreements, patience, and not to forget there is always a solution for any mistake in the process of a project.
Is there anything else you are passionate about aside from fashion?
Of course! Don’t forget your genuineness, which is the basis of innovation! I also majored in Architecture prior to my Fashion Design major, so that definitely influences me.
Is there a correlation between fashion and architecture?
Yes, there is a direct connection between architecture and fashion since both are conceptual. Imagery, materiality, and global perspectives are qualities both of them poses. Both architects and fashion designers aim to create perfect, comfortable, and beautiful forms for the human body, just like my designs do.
What was life like after graduation? What path did you take?
The first 2-3 weeks after graduation I was still working on a collection, so my mind was focused on that, but of course I kept my part-time job on the side. I did however promise myself to find another job or internship related to my major, so I kept searching online and asking anyone I knew for any opportunity in the fashion industry. Usually it isn’t easy to find a nice job right off the bat but I was extremely blessed to find an opportunity shortly after graduating. My best friend saw a flyer on Instagram informing of a new position for Michael Costello. This flyer was on Instagram! I called them and made an appointment immediately. They asked for my portfolio and some samples of my work. After the interview I got approved to take the test where they gave me a sketch of a nightgown and its fabric, and asked me to make it as fast as I could. When Michael came back from New York he liked my work, and I got hired!
What is it like to work for Michael Costello?
Getting hired by a popular American designer two months right after my graduation is pretty amazing, isn’t it? You would think they’d be bossing me around and having me do the side work, which is not the case. Michael Costello is such a hardworking, humble man; he is a sweetheart and very talented. Rather than bossing people around, he chooses to be friendly and helpful. He never hides his tricks and methods, and lets you learn and grow. He has become some sort of mentor for me, teaching me so much for my one-day showroom.
What is the next step in Linnet Tarverdi’s career?
Step or steps? Haha! Well, I am currently working for Michael Costello Couture Company as a seam maker since last August; meanwhile, I work on my personal collection too. I have been working with a graphic designer to create my brand and business. Next step is to register my brand. This fashion brand would be an online store with strong ready to wear collections. I’m hoping to extend my team little by little and rent a small showroom in Los Angeles.
Who would you say is your favorite fashion designer/brand? And why?
It is hard to mention just one or two, since there are so many amazing designers in market now. However, at this moment I have Stephane Rolland and Elie Saab in my mind, who are two of my favorites in haute couture. I love Stephane Rolland’s works because of his very innovative cuts in layers of fabrics, which always come from an interesting inspiration. Elie Saab is known for his gorgeous luxury designs and amazing textiles, which are designed in detail and made it just for his company. But I would have to say that Salvatore Ferregamo is my all-time favorite designer-he is my idol. He designed his first pair of shoes for his sisters at the age of 9. He then started repairing shoes in the street…and soon enough he worked his way up. He didn’t have the proper financial support he needed to be a designer and still he stamped his name forever to be in the fashion world.
You work in LA, right? What are the best and worst things about it?
In my opinion, LA is a good start for students like I was while in school. It certainly is not big enough to step up and be like the fashion industry in New York City. Although LA is filled with so much culture, I find myself not inspired enough. Europe and Australia seem to always leap ahead for me. I am from the Middle East and used to live in Europe for a short period of time so that is what I received from them in comparison to the other global fashion capitals such as London, Paris, and Milan.
Are there any projects you’ve been working on? Personal or non-personal.
At Costello’s, I am working on non-personal projects since I am making nightgowns, either customer order or show pieces. On the side, I have been working on some personal projects too. My friends enjoy my nightgowns pieces and I will be making some for three different wedding parties. I am travelling to Australia, Sydney now, to visit my grandparents and relatives, but also to research about Sydney’s fashion industry. Visiting the main global fashion cities around the world is necessary for every fresh and fashion hungry fashion designer at least once.
What was your favorite part about attending Cal State LA?
Every school has positive and negative points to mention, but to me Cal State LA was the best choice for studying fashion design in comparison to others. My favorite part about Cal State LA has to be the people in it. The art department chair, Mika, the fashion and textile professors, Dr. Davis, Dr. Tuntland, and Professor Lung, and my lovely friends in class I gained. The projects for every quarter always brought some serious challenges, both physical (technical) and emotional. That is how you learn. I miss the sleepless nights in the sewing lab, when we were helping, supporting, and encouraging each other not to give up on a project. I really did learn a lot of things from my classmates, whether it being through positive or negative experiences. Lastly, I miss the critique days for our projects. Those were very helpful; they ground you and push you to take it to the next level.
Any advice for any students perusing a fashion-related career?
Stay patient, curious, updated, competitive, active, and humble. These are the key of success to open any door in any field. I highly recommend starting an internship during the school period—it is hard but doable. I didn’t do it, and finding a job in fashion design immediately after school was only luck for me, maybe. It is really worth working hard in school and in internship because in the end you have experience for the real world and you can let the fashion industry know that you are prepared for anything. Also, it is good to consider that right after graduation you shouldn’t be expecting a super great job, you shouldn’t have high expectations in the beginning, but neither should your employer. You learn as you go. One last pointer! You learn a lot in school, at a job you apply everything, so don’t take your classes for granted. However, there is always room for growth; I’ve realized there are still so many other things I have left to learn in order to complete my knowledge and experiences related to fashion.