Fashion Design Grad Stars in Drew Barrymore's Whip It!

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Rachel Piplica credits FIDM with helping her prepare for her fast-paced career and the excitement that has followed since moving to Los Angeles.

FIDM Grad Rachel Piplica Stars in Drew Barrymore Whip It!

I have all my old notes I took from school and anytime I get stuck or need some guidance I pull out my pattern books. Every time I tell my story it begins with, 'I moved to California to attend Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising.

Pittsburgh native Rachel Piplica moved to Los Angeles in 2004, to pursue her lifelong dream of studying fashion design. One month later she was introduced to the roller derby community and began skating as part of the L.A. Derby Dolls. "I fell in love with it, attending FIDM as a fashion student by day and skating practices as 'Iron Maiven' by night."

After graduating from FIDM, Piplica continued skating and decided to launch Iron Doll Clothing, which creates custom roller derby uniforms. Her day job as a production manager at Lucky 13 Apparel keeps the L.A. resident busy. "My boss is incredibly supportive of roller derby and has been helping me with Iron Doll Clothing," she explains.

When Drew Barrymore started researching her film Whip It, based on the book Derby Girl, she attended several of Piplica's team's bouts. She quickly received the call that she had been cast in the film. "The reaction has been incredibly positive and uplifting," she says. "It has given me a lot of confidence in my life, my career, and in derby."

Piplica credits FIDM with helping her prepare for her fast paced career and the excitement that has followed since moving to Los Angeles. "Everything taught in class was industry specific and to the point," she says. "I have all my old notes I took from school and anytime I get stuck or need some guidance I pull out my pattern books. Every time I tell my story it begins with, 'I moved to California to attend Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising."

With four dynamic California campuses, FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising is the premier west coast fashion school, educating for careers in fashion design, fashion merchandising, graphic design, interior design, and entertainment. FIDM's graduates include renowned fashion designers like Monique Lhuillier, Emmy® and Academy Award® award-winning costume designers, top fashion industry executives, and entrepreneurs.

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Lisa Kloetzli
FIDM
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