A school field trip really paid off for IDEAS Academy junior Jacob Olmedo. Thanks to connections he made that day, he has an opportunity to get invaluable work experience and pre-college credits this summer.
Jacob was one of 10 IDEAS students who took part in last fall’s National Portfolio Day at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design.
Interested in fashion design, Jacob shared his portfolio and met with representatives from several prestigious art schools. He was particularly interested in the Art Institute of Chicago and the California College for the Arts. The latter offered him a scholarship for its pre-college summer program.
Since attending Portfolio Day, Jacob has remained in close contact with representatives from both schools and is in the process of completing applications for the summer programs at each.
“The portfolio deadlines for both are in March, so I’m guessing that I should hear back from them in April,” Jacob said.
While some high-school students might not want to give up part of their summer for a program at college, Jacob is grateful for the opportunity to do just that.
He’s never been one to shy away from something others may view as a challenge. As a sophomore at Etude, he opted to give his Showcase presentation to the public at John Michael Kohler Arts Center versus the Etude community.
Jacob said he felt it was important to present at the arts center to share his talent and to expand his audience.
That project and others now comprise his portfolio, which is already opening doors to his future.
Jacob, 17, has been interested in fashion since he watched his first episode of “Project Runway.”
“I know that’s how a lot of others got started,” he said, “but to see designers try and make a masterpiece in hours/days makes me want to make something. It’s so inspiring! And to then look at videos of runway shows from New York Fashion Week, it just makes me want to make a collection and have people see it and wear it.”
This budding designer has been sewing since middle school, but his design work began last year as a sophomore. He’s accomplished a lot in the past year.
“I feel like I haven’t really made much, but looking back on it, I have,” Jacob reflected. “I made a red polka dot dress, just for fun. I also made a peacock dress and a red glitter diamond dress for the North/South musical ‘Aida.’ I made a red coat for an Etude project. I made three corsets for the North/South production of ‘Les Miserables.’ I made two prom dresses. I made three dresses out of paper for my first IDEAS project. I’m dressing seven characters for the North production of ‘The Primary English Class.’ I’m also working on my next IDEAS project, making five outfits on 9-11 and how the towers fell.”
His parents, Luis and Faith Olmedo, are very supportive of Jacob following his dreams.
“They think it’s good to have me do something I love doing,” he said. “I love my parents for supporting me in what I want to do in life.”
After graduating from IDEAS, Jacob plans to go to college and get an internship in the fashion industry. At this point, he’s leaning toward the Art Institute of Chicago because it’s a great school and still close enough that he could come home for visits.
Jacob says he’s inspired by Oscar de la Renta “because looking at his story of coming from nothing and making it big, it kinda gives me a feeling like maybe I could follow my dreams and be successful.”
Someday Jacob would like to work with Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors. Of course, he’d also like to have his own clothing line. “I just want to make beautiful clothes,” he shared.
One of Jacob’s favorite quotations is from Ralph Lauren: “I don’t design clothes. I design dreams.”
This IDEAS junior is doing both.