Why did you choose to pursue an MA in Fashion at Ryerson and what did you gain from completing the program?
Before attending Ryerson I earned a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in marketing, from McGill University. Although I found the program challenging and rewarding, I still felt uncertain about the type of career that I wanted to pursue – I didn’t necessarily want a job in marketing, but was still very interested the concept of brands and wanted to explore that further in relation to a more creative and aesthetic field like fashion. Fashion, fine art and interior design were always a passion that I was finally hoping to develop into viable career. I also knew that I loved Toronto and during my search for postgraduate options was happy to see that there was a new program that was backed by the reputable School of Fashion at Ryerson. Pursuing an MA in Fashion felt like a good option at the time because I wanted to challenge myself to learn about and explore fashion on an intellectual level. I was also intrigued by the internship component of the two-year program.
By completing the program I learned a lot about myself. For one, it became clear to me that I am more interested in interiors than fashion, per se – although they are heavily related. This was a happy evolution that I am thankful to have come to while navigating the program. I also gained a number of skills in terms of developing research questions that I was actually interested in, and producing a long-term project to explore those queries. I also feel that a valuable asset from the program is being able to work with individuals that have a wide range of interest when it comes to the very broad industry of fashion.
Where are you now and how has your degree aided you in your current position?
I am currently in a role which I greatly value, as a Design Editor at Canadian House & Home Magazine. I produce original content for the magazine, website and House & Home Online TV segments. I feel that a large reason why I was able to ‘get my foot in the door’ was because of the internship component of the MA program. I started as an intern and have progressed from there. I find that everyday, in small ways, my experience from the degree is apparent. I am able to more wholly develop ideas after understanding the importance of the ‘process’. I am also able to easily navigate between many different types of jobs from research to producing entirely visual concepts.
Who’s your favourite fashion theorist or practitioner and why?
I’m not sure that I have a favourite, but I am incredibly intrigued by Iris Apfel and Bill Cunningham. They are both incredibly authentic and don’t adhere to any pre-conceived constructs in fashion. They operate very intelligently and thoughtfully, but also purely based on their own passion for the art and not as part of a commercial pursuit.
What interests you most about the discipline of Fashion Studies?
What interests me most about the discipline of Fashion Studies is also something that I came to fully realize and appreciate while in the program: it is the fact that fashion is completely interdisciplinary – the study of fashion is almost always to study it within or in relation to another faculty such as economics, branding, anthropology or history (to name a few in a relatively endless list).
What item in your wardrobe could you never part with and why?
I don’t really adhere to trends and appreciate investing in high quality staples. I don’t necessarily have one item that I can’t live without, but find that every day I wont leave the house without wearing at least one of the following: a great pair of jeans, a simple cashmere sweater or a classic pair of black flats or ankle boots. I’m more about building a high quality and classic base uniform and embellishing in small doses.
Who’s your favourite fashion designer and why?
In the world of fashionable clothes, I’m inspired by Sarah Burton at McQueen and Raf Simons at Dior. They are both contemporary geniuses that consistently produce jaw-dropping collections in their own signature styles. I absolutely loved Dior and I, which exposed Simons’ first couture show at Dior.
In the world of Fashionable interiors, I’m intrigued by the aspirational work of Joseph Dirand and livable work (although still aspirational) of Amber Lewis. Dirand is a master when it comes to incredible, expansive Parisian interiors and always exceeds expectations. Lewis produces expertly layered yet airy spaces that are the perfect combination of SoCal aesthetics within a contemporary framework. I also love the work of British designer, Ben Pentreath because it is very much the opposite of my personal style, but his work is still so beautiful to look at.
What course did you most enjoy and why?
I most enjoyed Colour Theory and the Fashion History. I had a fun time working on the final project for Colour Theory where I designed a series of lamps using colours from portraits. I enjoyed Fashion History because it was so interesting to learn how heavily fashion has played a role in culture and society throughout history.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d pass on to a student interested in applying to the program?
Enjoy the process and don’t procrastinate! AND take advantage of the relationships you build with your fellow students and faculty – connections really help when starting and developing a career.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years and/or what’s your dream job?
I feel like I currently have my dream job. In five years I would love to be in the same role, or have been promoted to a senior design editor. I would also like to be working on more in-depth design projects, either independently or as makeovers for the magazine.