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Faculty Profile: Dimitri Koumbis, Visual Merchandising and Fashion Merchandising

Dimitri Koumbis began teaching at LIM College in 2013 and in the same year launched Bishop Collective, a highly curated collection of women’s apparel, accessories and lifestyle goods. Koumbis founded Bishop Collective with an eye toward advocating for stronger ethical industry practices as well as transparency within the fashion supply chain. In June 2018, Bishop Collective opened its first brick-and-mortar store in the heart of Lower Manhattan.

What kinds of courses do you most enjoy teaching?
I enjoy all of the courses I teach. My schedule includes a mix of business and studio courses that allows me to exercise both the left and right sides of my mind. However, I am partial to classes that allow me to help students connect the various skills and expertise they have gained from all of their classes, such as Senior Visual Capstone. In this course, students create their own program to design a portfolio piece that shows their ability to think critically and creatively. I simply manage the process to help them achieve their success. Also, it is a course that connects academia with the industry.

What makes LIM College the right place to study fashion and visual merchandising?
LIM has great faculty members who have a lot of core retailing experience and who are continually looking at future industry trends. LIM has an edge over other colleges with similar programs because of their industry member relationships and more importantly, the dialogue those industry members have with LIM to prepare students to become their new hires. This allows LIM to adjust both curriculum and courses accordingly.

What advice do you have for students who may be interested in launching their own line of clothing?
Save as much money as possible and don’t quit your full-time job unless you have exponential amounts of money to do your business full-time. It’s not always going to be the best day, financially and physically, but if you’re really passionate about it, then you’ll figure out a way to make it work. If not, then the pivot is important; always have a contingency plan. It took Bishop Collective five years developing an online presence ( before we opened up a physical store. We waited patiently for the right time and place to make our move. Strategy is key in this business.

What’s one of life lessons you bring from your professional experiences into the classroom?
You’re going to have downfalls, but it’s about learning from those unsuccessful moments. What is important to learn is that you’re not going to be the best in everything. If you did the best you could do at that moment, that is all that matters. Learn from the past, but do not let it dictate your future.