Generation Next: The Suzanne Rogers Fashion Institute’s Debut Students

I am proud and honoured to share an insider’s view of the Suzanne Rogers Fashion Institute’s 2017/18 Fellows. Each is a uniquely gifted artist who, I believe, will contribute greatly to global awareness of, and appreciation for, the Canadian fashion industry. The Fellowships will help the recipients to pursue their goals and hone their skills. I hope you share in my excitement for these rising stars. I will be closely following their progress and their inevitable successes.

ALEXANDRA ARMATA, 24

Model: Arden (Elmer Olsen Models)

DESIGN AESTHETIC:
“I incorporate deconstruction in my projects because I admire the symbolism behind the process, and I also think there’s an element of chaos. Lately, I’ve been finding myself gravitating towards a collage-style type of design. Something I’ve always admired in designers is when their work goes a step further than aesthetics and involves a narrative. My goal is for my work to cross that boundary.”

 SOURCES OF INSPIRATION:
“I find that museums inspire me best. I love walking through quiet, clean spaces with interesting architecture while admiring art. The Art Gallery of Ontario is my favourite gallery, and I have fond memories of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.”

CAREER GOAL:
I think I would enjoy calling the shots as a creative director at an existing fashion brand. One day, I hope to unify luxury fashion and sustainability by incorporating environmentally conscious production methods into my work without sacrificing creativity and beauty. Right now, I think people don’t associate sustainable fashion with luxury, with less than one percent of consumers seeking to purchase sustainable clothing. There’s a rather negative association with sustainable fashion at the moment.”

FUTURE LEGACY:
“A lot more doors have opened for me to make an impression on the international fashion industry. There are many established designers working abroad and making a name for themselves, like Erdem and Thomas Tait. I hope to one day add my name to that list and inspire up-and-coming designers to expand their brands beyond the Canadian market.”

THE SRFI IMPACT:
Without the generosity of the SRFI, achieving my dreams would be practically unfeasible. I’ve been accepted to study at the London College of Fashion, and the institute’s financial assistance is going to allow me to focus on school without the added stress that comes with student loans.”

STEPHANIE MOSCALL-VAREY, 24 

Model: Berkeley (Sutherland Models)

DESIGN AESTHETIC:
“Sculptural yet feminine. I focus on exploring shape and negative space while creating a garment that is emotionally charged.”

SOURCES OF INSPIRATION:
“The majority of my inspiration stems from science and reflection on childhood stories. I use nature and fantasies to form a mood. I consider myself a storyteller, but instead of words, it’s fabric. To regenerate my creativity, home is the best place. There is something about being home in a familiar place that gives you the freedom to explore your own mind and concede to your creativity. All my ideas, regardless of theme, are born in Port Dover, Ontario.”

CAREER GOAL:
“To someday have my own successful luxury brand. I look forward to the experiences along the way and my personal growth as a designer. I plan to hold various positions in the fashion industry to prepare myself for that ultimate goal. I am a perfectionist and want to learn all that I can in order to create my ideal brand.”

 FUTURE LEGACY:
“We have so much untapped talent and creativity here in Canada. I believe that together, the fellows and I can reach out to a larger audience and let the industry know that there is more to Canada then beavers and maple syrup. We can act as a sign of encouragement for young designers, so that they can have the courage and inspiration to reach for their dreams.”

THE SRFI IMPACT:
 “Before this opportunity, I really didn’t know how I was going to accomplish my goals. I felt like each day my dream was dwindling—getting a foot in the door is hard. The SRFI is giving me the means and connections to make that first step, as well as the confidence and guidance to move forward at an exciting pace.”

QUENTIN COLLIER, 20

Model: Christina (B&M Models)

DESIGN AESTHETIC:
“Dramatic romanticism collaged with a contemporary and youthful perspective.”

SOURCES OF INSPIRATION:
“Nature. I grew up hiking in the Rockie Mountains, swimming in lakes and spending hours in my mother’s garden. In Toronto, I sit in parks or down by the lake. Sunrises are also very calming and exhilarating all at once. Nature compels me to look more closely at things and think about the little things that remind you how inconsequential it all is, and how important it is to keep pursuing whatever brings meaning to one’s life.”

 CAREER GOAL:
“To have creative freedom, but not before paying my dues.”

FUTURE LEGACY:
“I want to merge the worlds of fashion, art, and performance to create inclusive and thoughtful presentations. Although creating beautiful, meaningful garments has always been my primary interest, I think that clothing is more interesting when it is part of overarching dialogues. Design can express ideas: what can’t always be said, but has to be embodied.”

THE SRFI IMPACT:
“Being a part of this program is invaluable, and it has already made a significant impact on my work. Even so, I think the most important thing about the institute is that fashion design, creative ideas, and craftsmanship are being supported in Canada.”

Photography by Andreya Klobucar

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