6 B.C. designers rank in Top 25 in TÉLIO’s annual design competition

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Six aspiring British Columbia designers have made it into a group of 25 finalists for TÉLIO’s annual ‘Canada’s Breakthrough Designers’ competition.

The national event, which also celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, showcases the talent and creativity of the most remarkable young designers from across Canada and offers a variety of exciting opportunities for the finalists.

This year, several hundred fashion design students from around the country took to the challenge set by textile producer Télio, and let this year’s theme Lux(e) and its boundless interpretations inspire their design sketches.

Having been selected in October, the 25 finalists must now work fervently to create a unique garment to win over a jury of fashion industry insiders, the presentation of which will be held in Montréal in February 2015.

Meet five of the six B.C. hopefuls below.

Ashley Morin, student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Ashley-Morin-Canda-Breakthrough-Designer

How were you able balance this years competition theme Lux(e), whilst staying true to your own vision and design style?
I design for myself. I envisioned a scene in my head and re-created it in my design using all the influences from the setting. I pictured a garden party in the afternoon light and how the light would reflect off my chosen fabrics. I immediately thought of a dress – light and airy. I was inspired by light, not in colour but in tones.

Describe your design aesthetic in three words:
Sophisticated. Feminine. Detailed.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt during this whole competition process?
Competitions force you out of your comfort zone and are a huge learning experience. You work within a timeframe and learn to accept criticism and feedback to constantly improve and re-evaluate your designs as well as your process.

In February, if you were awarded one of the prized scholarships, what would this opportunity mean to you?
To me, it’s not as much about winning as it is about the learning experience. Every time you put yourself out there, you get more experience. When your work is recognized and validated, you are able to grow and move forward. The scholarships and prizes offered by Télio’s Design Competition are huge opportunities for me to be able to attain my Masters in my chosen field.

What advice can you give fellow aspiring designers who want to get into the industry?
Designing is not easy. You need to be willing to take every opportunity and learn from your failures.

Vancouver is great place for design and technology opportunities, especially in the technical apparel field. The Wilson School of design is unique in offering post-secondary studies that will encourage aspiring designers and provide them with necessary skills to achieve success in the fashion industry.

Grace Tannahill, student at Vancouver Community Collage

Grace-Tannahill-Canada-Breakthrough-Designer

How were you able balance this years competition theme Lux(e), whilst staying true to your own vision and design style?
I found Télio’s theme of Lux(e) to be broad enough for me, as a designer, to have the ability to move around and explore it in many different ways. I chose to focus on and explore Lux as the mathematical equation that measures reflected light.

Describe your design aesthetic in three words:
Clean. Versatile. Balanced.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt during this whole competition process?
It is important to follow through with the design process.You have your initial idea and everything looks great on paper, but then you need to experiment with the fabric and proportion. It is at this time that you need to keep your eyes open and become flexible and creative in your mind.

In February, if you were awarded one of the prized scholarships, what would this opportunity mean to you?

After I graduate, I’m looking forward to finding a valuable internship where I can mentor under someone that I respect and learn the business first hand. Winning one of the scholarships would give me a bit of breathing room and allow me to focus on my career.

What advice can you give fellow aspiring designers who want to get into the industry?

As an aspiring designer, myself, I would say that what I’ve tried to do was build respectful relationships with my industry working instructors at school, learn as much as I can from them, demonstrate my work ethic, and try to understand industry standards.

Jasmine Su, student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Jasmine-Su-Canada-Breakthrough-Designer

How were you able balance this years competition theme Lux(e), whilst staying true to your own vision and design style?
Researching and finding out what luxury meant to me was the key factor in helping me stay on track with the Lux(e) theme, while staying true to my own design aesthetics.

Describe your design aesthetic in three words:
Edgy. Contemporary. Geometric.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt during this whole competition process?
As an introverted person, I had to learn not to be afraid of showing my unfinished work to others for feedback.

In February, if you were awarded one of the prized scholarships, what would this opportunity mean to you?
I would be very honored if I was awarded one of the prized scholarships. I am interested in textile surface design and textile waste management and this opportunity would definitely help me to further my studies.

What advice can you give fellow aspiring designers who want to get into the industry?
The apparel industry is a tough one to get in and stay in, so passion for the industry is absolutely crucial. It isn’t as glamorous as the media portrays. It is challenging emotionally and physically so you must be willing to work hard and persevere.

Sara Lowe, student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Sara-Lowe-Canda-Breakthrough-Desinger

How were you able balance this years competition theme Lux(e), whilst staying true to your own vision and design style?
I looked at many images of what Lux(e) would look like as a visual and started designing a garment around that. Keeping in mind what visuals are appealing to me. The light fixtures in my illustration express the theme, while describing my design aesthetic in visual form.

Describe your design aesthetic in three words:
Lines. Structure. Refined.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt during this whole competition process?
To always keep the theme in mind and make sure that the design reflects the themes aesthetic. I would step back and look at the design from other perspectives.

In February, if you were awarded one of the prized scholarships, what would this opportunity mean to you?
It would be a great honor and help me further my education in design. It would also be a great opportunity to get my name out into the industry.

What advice can you give fellow aspiring designers who want to get into the industry?
You need be dedicated and never give up when things get tough. Love what you are doing because passion is a great motivator.

Sherry Chen, student at Vancouver Community College

Sherry-Chen-Canda-Breakthough-Desinger

How were you able balance this year’s competition theme Lux(e) whilst staying true to your own vision and design style?
I focused on playing with fabrics. My style has always been “less is more”; therefore I did not create an exaggerated design. I am petite so I love cropped and high-waisted styles and I decided to mix my style into the theme. I wanted to make a daily outfit rather than evening gown dress.

Describe your design aesthetic in three words:
Structure. Contemporary. Simple.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt during this whole competition process?
“Art imitating life.” When I first started to work on the theme, I had no clue what direction I should take. All I kept thinking was one key word shadow and I want to play with fabrics. After a week, I woke up one morning and noticed the shadow lines from the sunshine through the window shades, that’s when I got my inspiration.

In February, if you were awarded one of the prized scholarships, what would this opportunity mean to you?
I would feel more confident about my decision to pursue a career in the fashion industry.

What advice can you give fellow aspiring designers who want to get into the industry?
Just do it!

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Jess Fleming Jess is a Staff Writer at Vancity Buzz. Originally from Sydney, she obsesses over where to eat and drink and writes about adventures near and far.
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