Fashioning her designer life

Senior Angela Shimabukuro promotes the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDS) in a sponsored Instagram post.

Senior Angela Shimabukuro knows how to make a statement. After all, when she pairs flared cuffs with a black leather jacket and Converse platforms, she can’t help but stand out to all those who come across her Instagram account. 

Shimabukuro was an ambassador for the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM), a specialized trade school in Los Angeles, Calif. She was recruited after Glacier Influencers, an advertising company working with young creators to reach a teenage audience, contacted her. For this particular position, the company was looking for high school seniors based in California with around 1,000 or more followers on Instagram.  

“It’s good that I’m able to spread the word for a college that’s not the standard [academic] education. I’m glad [to show] that there are other options if you’re not interested in doing the normal route,” Shimabukuro said. “I’m really happy to spread that out to students who feel like they’re not sure if they’re able to go somewhere and do something that they love.”

As an FIDM ambassador, Shimabukuro made Instagram posts promoting FIDM and their scholarship program. She was paid $170 for three posts: the first one introducing the college, second regarding details of the scholarship and third about deadlines of the scholarship application. 

“Since [FIDM] is a private school, it’s more expensive to go there. I like the idea that they’re giving people the chance to show that they really do love something [by offering this scholarship],” Shimabukuro said. “I’m happy that they’re giving this to people who may not have enough money to go [to FIDM].”

Shimabukuro was able to reach an estimated 12,000 people with her message, having been featured on the Instagram Explore page several times. She also met other FIDM ambassadors across California virtually. 

“We’re all interested in fashion and we have the same persona,” Shimabukuro said. “It’s really nice because whenever we posted, the other ambassadors [would] hype [each other] up in the comments. That was my favorite part about it.”

Shimabukuro’s sponsored posts all featured a picture of her with the FIDM logo in some form plus a caption explaining the college or scholarship program. During the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), however, Shimabukuro began focusing more on casual posts that show her personality, like her outfits or past vacation photos. 

“Sometimes people get self-conscious about [their pictures]. It’s like you’re not even sure if you want to post it because they feel like it’s not good enough,” Shimabukuro said. “[But] over quarantine, I’ve been posting [pictures] because I realized they could show a part of me I’ve never done. I like seeing pictures that I’ve a good time in.”

Shimabukuro’s role as an FIDM ambassador concluded after the three Instagram posts, though she is considering FIDM as a possible college option. Shimabukuro wants to pursue graphic design as a career, ideally combining that and fashion into one by working as creative director for either a fashion or social media company. 

“Fashion is all about expressing how you feel and your creativity and your personality,” Shimabukuro said. “Clothes can make you feel a certain way because [it] boosts your self esteem. I believe fashion itself is art.”

By Cathy Li, Feature editor
Photo courtesy of Angela Shimabukuro