ASU FIDM fashion business management grad lands industry job in LA

Photo of Dominique Joseph

Dominique Joseph at her internship in summer 2023. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in fashion from ASU FIDM and a minor in African and African American studies this spring, she will begin her job as assistant buyer at the Ross Stores Inc. corporate buying office in Los Angeles. Photo by Camille Misty


Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2024 graduates.

Dominique Joseph is ready to make her mark in the fashion world — landing a job in Los Angeles before she has even graduated and laying the groundwork for her long-term ambition to start a company that values sustainability and diversity. 

Joseph graduates this spring with a Bachelor of Arts in fashion from ASU FIDM and a minor in African and African American studies from The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

She said she has always loved putting outfits together and how fashion allows you to “express yourself nonverbally through clothing,” but she wanted to explore the industry beyond designing and styling, which is why she chose the fashion business management track offered at ASU FIDM. 

“I have always just felt like being an entrepreneur, because that's what my parents have done throughout their life, so I was like, why not combine business and fashion together?” said Joseph, who is from east Mesa, Arizona, but lived in Germany until she was 8 years old while her military father was stationed overseas. 

After landing an internship last summer, she knew that her next step would be to start a career as an assistant buyer. 

“Throughout my internship as as an assistant buyer, seeing that there’s a lot of creative aspects to the business side of fashion really brought me closer to wanting to be an assistant buyer, because I get to still be creative but also learn all the analytical stuff that comes with business in the fashion world,” she said. 

She found out about the internship when Danielle Testa, assistant professor at ASU FIDM, participated in the Fashion Scholarship Fund, which Joseph said allows students to do a talent acquisition event where recruiters share opportunities and speak with potential candidates. 

And thanks to the internship, she is already on her way with a job secured at the Ross Stores Inc. corporate buying office in Los Angeles.

“After an amazing summer internship, I was blessed with a job offer and I accepted,” she said. “I will officially be an assistant buyer starting in September.”

Her role will be to pick out the assortment of clothes sold at stores in the West Coast region.

“Let’s say if I was working there right now, at this point I would be looking to fall 2025,” she said. “It’s just thinking ahead of what the customer would want, paying attention to trends, and learning about the trends that would be coming up.”

She said it’s also important to learn who your customer is, research competitor stores, see what is selling or what is not selling and filling the clearance racks, understand the store layout, visit with vendors and more. 

Once she started the internship, Joseph said it was her education that helped her thrive and eventually get the job offer. 

“Honestly all the knowledge that I learned throughout the program — just being aware of what the fashion industry is doing, like reading articles all the time and having to analyze them in class, was really helpful to be able to speak to certain things throughout the internship and put everything together,” she said.

The industry knowledge she gained not only helped prepare her for her internship, but also sparked a sense of purpose in the world of fashion.  

“One of the documentaries that ASU FIDM has its students watch in the classroom is called ‘The True Cost.’ This changed my perspective on the fashion industry, because I was not truly aware of how wasteful fashion can be and how it negatively affects other countries in the world. The documentary shares how much pollution is caused by the mass production of clothes due to fast fashion. This documentary made me become a conscious buyer, and I genuinely do not shop for clothing as often as I used to, because I realize the power that I have as a consumer and customer.”

“My goal is to eventually have my own brand or company, because I really care about sustainability.” 

She said the key to fostering sustainability in fashion is communication. 

“It doesn't really help that we live in a society that makes us feel like we need an outfit for every single occasion, so just helping consumers understand that we don't need to buy all this new stuff all the time,” she said. “I think being transparent with your customers is really important too. I feel like after COVID a lot of people shifted to paying attention to what their favorite brands are doing, if they’re really being sustainable or ethical, if they’re being transparent about that.”

She also said she will uphold the value of inclusion. 

“I picked my minor in African and African American Studies because I had an amazing teacher in high school,” she said. “Her name was Lauren Humphrey, and she was my AP U.S. history teacher. … She helped me to feel seen within my classroom, and for her to actually bring Black history within American history was really important to me. It made me want to study that more throughout my time at ASU.”

She said starting her own company is still a long ways off, but until then she is thrilled to begin working in the thriving creative hub in Los Angeles, to continue putting in the work to build her career and to keep learning. 

“I think that it’s important to learn from people before starting a business if I want it to be truly successful and a long-term success,” she said.

Joseph, who worked four jobs all at once while a student, including Design and Arts Corps, teacher assistant for two fashion professors, BIPOC mentor and assistant facilitator for Discovery Kids in the Queen Creek Unified School District, said she also benefited from the scholarships she received.  

She was awarded the African and African American Studies Book Scholarship from The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Special Talent Award-Art from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. She also received a scholarship from the town of Queen Creek, a scholarship from the Black Retail Action Group and Federal-Work study funding. 

“It meant the world to me to receive this funding,” she said, “because it took financial stress off of me, which is an indescribable feeling that I am forever grateful for. I am very thankful to all of my scholarship donors, because being a student can be very stressful at times, especially when it comes to financial stressors added on top of everything else that goes on in a college student's life.” 

Question: Why did you choose ASU?

Answer: I chose ASU because my family moved to Arizona after leaving Germany when I was 8 years old and we have lived here ever since. I am a very family-oriented person; my sister is only one year behind me, and we both attend ASU. Going to ASU would allow me to be around my family more often, which is very important to me.

Q; Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: It is really hard to choose one. I would say that Naomi Ellis, Danielle Testa and Jennifer Boonlorn all taught me important lessons. They all expressed to me the power of networking. I am a people person, so it is pretty easy for me to network with my peers or industry professionals, but I did not realize or understand the magnitude and importance of networking until late in my studies at ASU. It was hard for me at first to transition back to my extroverted self after COVID. Earlier in my college career, I had a hard time networking, but when it came to my junior and senior years, everything fell into place. I am thankful to those professors for constantly reminding me to network and the importance of it.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: To make the most out of your college experience by going to events and joining clubs. For the first half of my time at ASU, I was so focused on my schoolwork and my job(s) that I did not make time to have fun. I wish I did go to events and was more active on campus back then, but I believe everything happens for a reason. When you go to events and join clubs, you are connecting with fellow classmates and creating memories, which is so important. We pay all this money to go to college, so why not make the most out of our experience?

Q: What is a favorite project or work you did while at ASU and why?

A: My favorite project that I worked on while I attended ASU was an event I co-created/planned (with Sophia Wyllie and Juliet Surdyn) called the Fusion Gala that happened in November of 2023 and was also a collaboration with the popular music program’s Open Mic Night. 

The purpose of this event was for three main reasons: (1) At Fusion on First (on the Downtown Phoenix campus), there are two programs, fashion and popular music. Although these programs share the same building, there wasn't any event collaboration present. Myself and Sophia recognized this, so we decided to fill this void by creating the Fusion Gala, which allowed for fashion and popular music students to showcase their work. (2) We wanted to give an opportunity to students to showcase their work to the community. This allows their friends to support them, get out of their comfort zone to show their work to others, and for people to learn about the work of their peers at Fusion on First. (3) Lastly, to build community, network and learn about clubs and organizations to become part of. With this project, I was able to co-create this event with the organization that I work in called Design and Arts Corps, which is part of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. I also utilized the photos taken from the event to create my capstone project, a magazine spread about the event. I was very passionate about this project, so I had an amazing time creating it and presenting it.

The Design and Arts Corps is a program that engages in community, partnerships and programming. I am part of their fellowship, and I have been a fellow since September of 2022. I joined the Design and Arts Corps because I wanted an opportunity to become more involved on campus, and this program has allowed me to do that. The fellowship is focused on creating events for the undergraduate population who study within the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts to enhance their experience at ASU. Being part of the fellowship really helped me to find my love again for event planning, because I used to do that in high school. 

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: One of my favorite spots on campus was the Flex Space at Fusion on First. I spent a lot of time in that building, but being in the Flex Space holds a lot of memories of reuniting with friends, eating, relaxing, catching up with others and doing homework.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I would utilize the $40 million to solve hunger within the American population. I believe that no one should have to experience wondering where their next meal may come from. Having food is one of the basic necessities of life.

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