Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Female Butler - A Modern Jack-Of-All Trades

Since moving to Vancouver, Canada, many years ago, I have had the privilege to meet many interesting young people from all walks of life. It is a joy to continue to stay in touch with a few of them in even a small way and follow their journey as they embrace where life takes them. 

Awhile ago a private email arrived sharing that one of these uber-talented individuals had started on a new career - that of a modern day butler - I was intrigued. A female butler? This was something new. And it is absolutely not anything I ever pictured her doing as a career.  WOW!

I was seriously pleased when she agreed to share a bit of her story - but because of the inherent confidentiality issues, there are minor adjustments to fully guarantee the privacy of her clients - something very important in this business. All are very minor.  What you will get is a great feel for her job.  As she shares - it isn't what we see on old British TV shows.  She really functions more as jack-of-all-trades who steps into every role needed, doing whatever is asked.  This is a great look behind the scenes at how the other half lives - just my kind of story!

Not surprising, when I asked her philosophy her answer was, "Life is strange, go with the flow and always be nice."  Enjoy!

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Where were your born - grow up? What were you like as a child and teen?

I grew up in the Toronto area, was an honour roll student, studied a lot. loved music, play piano. did well in math and science. I also took up horse back riding and martial arts as a kid, competing in both and winning quite a few awards locally and on a national level and travelling to a lot of big competitions and seminars in the states to learn more and compete.

Typical picture of what a butler was in the past.
After graduating high school, what paths did your career take?

I followed the martial arts for a few years. It doesn't pay - more of a hobby I enjoyed and excelled at. I coached, trained and competed. On the side I was a server, bartender and house keeper for a hotel chain for about 12 years. I'm now in my thirties.

Favourite hobbies, passions, pursuits?

Vegetarian cooking. martial arts. yoga. horses. I love my two kitties.

When and how did the idea of becoming a butler first arise? Become a reality?

I met a couple through the martial arts Their kids are my age - in their thirties - and they are in their seventies. They're in great shape, great condition and they have staff- a personal chef, someone to do laundry and ironing, a chauffeur / maintenance man, personal trainer, personal yoga instructor, the whole nine yards. I met them several times over six years through the martial arts community. They have the same background (country, genetics, culture) as the leader / master of the martial arts I was excelling at. so I was often at these seminars on stage leading group exercises, etc. and I kept seeing them because they liked to travel and had the means for it.

Mr "Jones" approached me and offered a small summer job as I was already bartending weekends at night and coaching during the week. It was only a few hours. I started working cleaning, making the beds, laundry, ironing, tidying the kitchen, loading the dishwasher and setting the table. Basically they run their home like a small hotel plus restaurant. I had experience in both. 

One of the perks is driving luxury cars!
They also love to throw big parties with food and wine, so i would coordinate servers. I still know a lot of people in the city who want drop in work shifts. Shortly after I went to a Butler School. I won't say where or when to keep my identity private. However there are many locations in Europe, Virginia has a famous one, and there's a small up and coming school in the Toronto area that's getting some good press. My program cost was covered by my new boss, who flew me to the location, found accommodations, and gave me spending money.

What preconceptions did you have about the life and work of a butler before you started?

I had no idea what to think, no expectations. I love to watch Downton Abbey, but that has history as well. I was trained very formally, but the home I work in is rather informal. Compared to how most people live it's uptight, but in general it's relaxed atmosphere, not pretentious. My bosses are very kind and we actually have a small staff, so every one knows each other well.

What has surprised you about your responsibilities?
Not much. Every day is a little different. Sometimes I hear crazy business discussions on the phone - something I can't say so much about - but then a few days later I'll see something on the news or on Google mentioning the deal that i heard about. Kinda trippy!

Does a modern butler typically live-in or out? What is the uniform for a female butler?
Either. It depends. I don't live physically on the premises. but I live near the estate close enough to walk. My boss owns the unit I live in so I don't pay rent, but I'm also not technically "live in" as I don't live with them. It's a common perk to have housing taken care of. If i happen to travel with them, travel costs are covered, including hotel or apartment while we are away.

For a uniform I have a full on suit with white button up shirt, collar, black tie, black jacket. However, I rarely wear it. In my day to day chores I wear leggings and t-shirt. Modest. Where we travel during the winter it's hot so I wear shorts and a t-shirt. When we have guests I put on a simple black dress, panty hose, plain flat shoes. 

What should someone interested in this type of work expect in terms of working hours - obviously not usually a M-F, 9-5 job. How hard is it to schedule time off?

It really depends on the employer and contract that you negotiate. I'm on call pretty much.  If they ask me to come in, I do. My contract is for x number of hours with x days off per year. As they often travel, I usually take my "off" time when they are away. I work eight days in a row before my two off. I'm flexible because that's what my employer wants. There are definitely jobs that are 9-5. For example, a new job position in recent decades is the Corporate Butler who assists the key positions: CEO, Pres, VP etc board members. They drop dry cleaning, schedule appointments, run for coffee, etc. I have signed up to work every Saturday and Sunday as my co workers all have those ones off.

Describe a typical work day.

I work 8 to ten hours a day and these are the tasks that are done, sometimes by me, sometimes other staff. 

-Morning: Fetch paper, make tea (her) and coffee (him), bring into bedroom, with milk, sugar and wafers (cookies) when requested (request by text as the estate is so large yelling or ringing a bell is silly)

-Work out days: They both go down to meet the trainer in the personal gym. Sometimes the yoga teacher comes on the weekend and masseuse with table. I put out water, workout towels and running shoes by the front door in the direction of their gym (yes, their gym. it sits empty the other 160 hours of the week)

-Breakfast: It is formal. Plate, side plate, two forks, big spoon. tea spoon, two knives, linen napkin, not paper, fruit platter, eggs, toast, gluten free toast thing, oatmeal, topping for oat meal, yogurt, tea, more coffee and sometimes a meat dish or veggie scrambled eggs.

-I can load a whole dishwasher on just breakfast. It's okay. We have three dishwashers in the one kitchen, perpetual and double laundry system. We're not trying to save the planet, we're trying to upkeep standards of the house hold.
-While they eat I tidy the bathroom, make the bed, fetch the laundry (usually last night's clothes and the pyjamas, maybe work out clothes from the morning) and start running the machines. Two washers, two dryers - efficient.

-Afternoon is cleaning and errands. It takes about 45 minutes to really clean the bathroom. I wipe everything in the four living rooms. Wipe each TV. Dust pretty much every artifact and antique /I can reach. Vacuum 6000 square feet a few times a week. Iron everything that comes through the laundry including pyjamas, bed sheets and underwear; and of course all formal wear. Clean coffee tables, if the kids or grand kids have been around. Put shoes away and hang up coats in closet. Tidy the guest room / play room / media room. 

-Evening: set the table for dinner. The cook makes every thing. I heat and serve, clean up, load and empty dishwasher(s). Sometimes we have guests. The I would make tea/coffee service to go with desserts and serve wine if needed.

-While they eat I do turn down service, empty bathroom garbage again, tidy, refold towels, take decorative pillows off the bed, pull down the sheets so you just slip into bed, put new water glasses out next to beds and swifter the floors for hairs. re fill soap, toilet paper, Kleenex

-After dinner: Clean up dinner table, take out garbage, sanitize the sink with bleach, wash and polish wine glasses, wipe down entire kitchen especially the counters and take apart and clean coffee machine.

-Night: Flip the last loads of laundry. We don't leave unfolded laundry sitting around. If you don't have time for it to dry, don't put it in the wash. save it for tomorrow. We run about 6 loads of laundry per day depending on how many people are staying and/or how many family member are around.
-Sometimes drive dinner guests back to their hotel.

-They are both retired and don't go to work. but often have lunch dates / board meetings / charity events / golf games to attend. I drive them to the airport, doctors appointments, I call the dentist to make appointments, buy groceries, baby sit the grand kids, walk the dog, get the mail from the mail box, email, print, FedEx, fax, scan, copy and fix the settings on their iPad. Tutor math and science!

What do you love best about your job? Least? Is there a funniest moment you can share?

I love driving the fancy cars. I never thought I would be that chick but man, there's something about a Ferrari that feels special. Top down, drop at the airport and then O need to take the car back. It's always the return trip I love when I'm alone. And there are so many different cars. It's not really a Ferrari. I had to say something though! 

Life is strange sometimes. I've been a broke martial arts coach, couch surfing, living simply, owning very few belongings and now I'm in charge of a closet of 80 handbags I could never afford in 12 life times. The excess I see is sometimes overwhelming. It's things i would never imagine or think of. Sets of keys to nine different cars with a combined total of 1.5 million. Not bad. Is that the definition of irony? I couldn't afford the gas nor the insurance on even one of them. I could sell the cheap car and buy a dozen Honda's. They only do fancy. Same with their clothes. One great perk - hand me downs!

Least favourite task is ironing bed sheets. the fitted sheet is my nemesis. I'm good at it. but it's not easy. Funniest moment was when he had a lab test his doctor wanted him to do involving peeing in a jug for 24 hours. My job was to drop it at the lab. Here, please take my piss to the lab. Sure. Yes sir. Another time, I drove two hours, to a rural town in Ontario. He had installed a pool for a set of the cousins. My job was to put a big red ribbon over the pool cover with a sign that had the kids names on it. I made the sign, bought thick velvet ribbon from a craft store and got crafty! I took a picture, emailed to boss, who was half way across the planet and when the twins came home from school, on their birthday, they had a new pool!

In the past this has traditionally been a male occupation. Is that changing? Do you know other 
female butlers?

The neighbours have a male butler.... but apparently it's becoming more of a thing in the Middle East. Dubai and Saudi Arabia have a growing market of new money, these people are getting staff, nannies, housekeepers, etc. The big thing is to have a butler. Really, I'm a glorified house keeper and personal assistant. The industry is big and I'm new as I've only been doing it for four years. 

It's the Muslim community that prefer female employees, especially Western females. They have a thing about women and men not touching - can't shake hands etc. - and if you have a man in your house and you're a woman, every time you leave your bedroom, you need to be covered head to toe including your hair. It's not practical. Plus they can only marry into their own culture, so if you're not Muslim you're not a threat to any marriage. I know of a family that prefers female staff for that reason. They have 7 employees, all female, mostly Mexican. That way the daughter and the mom don't have to cover up to eat breakfast in their own kitchen.

List some of the most important characteristics to excel at this type of work. I would assume confidentiality is top of the list.
Zita Langenstein - as of 2009,
Switzerland's only female butler

I have actually had to lie a little bit already, but I try and make up things that are close to the truth. I rarely tell people what I actually do for work. I imply my former job of martial arts coach, as I'm still active in that community plus the bar tending on the weekends. I post nothing on Facebook that would imply I even know my boss. I work long days. I don't drink. I have no social life really, but I have a career I love and I'm kinda a quiet person now. 

www.tourismvancouver.comI partied hard in my early twenties in college. Now I'm looking to retire at 55 and start a PHD in something interesting. I'm well paid and have the ability to save. I have to sleep, rest, do my laundry and get ready for another shift  in my off time. Anything can happen. One day i was told to bring my passport just in case that afternoon we flew to Florida and came back the next morning!

Note - want to read more - check out this article on Switzerland's Only Female Butler!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad

Image by Monique at Tasty Kitchen
I love salads that take me beyond that standard lettuce with extras realm and have published several on my website such as Rainbow Slaw, Aida's Corn, Tomato and Avocado SaladRice Noodle and Vegetable Salad and more. The 3 mentioned are full of colourful vegetables and have a bit of staying power so that leftovers are a delight instead of a wilted mess.

For a salad that lasts, let go of the lettuce and embrace Cabbage (red gives a beautiful colour), Kale, Carrots, Red Onion, snap peas, Peppers, raw corn (yes, cut right off the cob) and other firmer offerings.  They won't break down as quickly so that you can double the recipe and have leftovers the next day.  Always a plus in my busy schedule.

Fusion food is another passion of mine whether taking a specific ingredient and using in a unique way, adding an ethnic flare to a standard dish or combining elements from several cultures successfully. I am enthralled. One of my favourites shared on this site? Yam Pad Thai! Other goodies include - Thai Chicken Tacos, Thai Slaw and Asian Inspired Potatoes. So the idea of a Quinoa Salad with a hint of Asia fits the bill perfectly.

Today's offering is a salad whose title suggests a touch of Thai. The hint comes from the dressing created with peanut butter and fresh ginger.  In my personal opinion, anything labeled Thai should also have at least a bit of heat, but that's not included here. After trying it as is once to get a feel for what I like and what I would like to change, I am going to explore adding that element. There is an optional addition of Edamame or Chickpeas if you want to make this a whole meal salad. Tonight I'm using it as a side dish.

Image by Monique at Tasty Kitchen
One note I want to make is that I first found this recipe at The Ambitious Kitchen, but in a search today found the website not active.  This recipe shows up on other sites including The Tasty Kitchen - a cooking community - where it is credited to Monique. At the bottom of this recipe it noted Monique maintains a recipe box at The Tasty Kitchen and - drum roll please - is also the writer of The Ambitious Kitchen blog. Mystery solved!

Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad
Serves 6 (note - really depends on the salad passion of those eating - I always need to make more.) 

For the Salad
¾ c          uncooked quinoa 
              (I love to mix regular, red and black for colour)
1-2 c        shredded red cabbage
1              red bell pepper, diced
½             red onion, diced
1 c           shredded carrots
½ c          chopped cilantro
¼ c          diced green onions
½ c          cashew halves or peanuts (honey-roasted is good)
Optional: 1 cup edamame or chickpeas
Fresh lime, for a bit of tang

For the dressing:
¼ c         all natural peanut butter
2 tsps      freshly grated ginger
3 T         soy sauce, gluten-free if desired
1 T         honey (use agave if vegan)
1 T         red wine vinegar
1 tsp       sesame oil
1 tsp       olive oil
Water to thin, if necessary


To cook quinoa: Rinse with cold water in mesh strainer. In a saucepan, bring 1 ½ cups of water to a boil. Add in quinoa and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Remove from heat and fluff quinoa with fork; place in large bowl and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. You should have a little over 2 cups of quinoa.

To make dressing: Add peanut butter and honey or agave to a medium microwave safe bowl; heat in microwave for 20 seconds. Add in ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, and both sesame and olive oil and stir until mixture is smooth and creamy. If you want a thinner dressing, simply stir in a teaspoon or two of water or olive oil.

Add as much or as little dressing as you’d like to the quinoa. Next fold in red pepper, onion, cabbage, carrots, and cilantro into the quinoa. Garnish with cashews and green onions. Serve chilled or at room temperature with lime wedges if desired.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Eco Fashion Week 8th Edition - Holt Renfrew Charity Shopping Night + Obakki Trunk Show

by guest writer Helen Siwak - owner of Kitsilano Kitty's Closet and Vit Vit Vegan.

Upon entering off Granville Street, the Obakki runway set-up seemed simple enough – a few rows of pristine white chairs, bright lights and ribboned stanchions – all located just inside the doors of Holt Renfrew. Organizers, sponsors, and volunteers rushed around mannequins and luxury displays, whispering into walkie-talkies, while photographers popped light settings.

Those familiar with the interior of Holt Renfrew know of the stacking circular lay-out of three floors connected with escalators. The architecture lent itself to the creation of a truly unique fashion experience. Soon the doors opened and an exuberant crowd swarmed the floors bringing a myriad of bright colours, textures and selfie flashes. Fresh brewed David's Tea and BE Coconut water spritzers were sipped and bags of sweet coconut chips were dug into. Not only was this an RVSP fashion event but also a shopping event as it was announced 10% of all shopping proceeds for the evening would be donated to The Obakki Foundation.

Image by Kuna Photography

After an hour of posing, mingling and networking, Eco Fashion Week co-founder Myriam Laroche greeted everyone with her usual perk and charm. This was followed closely by Treana Peake, creative designer and founder of Obakki*, who spoke to the crowd with her young son hugging her waist. Her drive, passion and philanthropy touched everyone and with a rousing round of applause the runway show began.

Images by Kuna Photography

Images by Kuna Photography

The collection was uncomplicated yet sophisticated with clean body hugging lines and luxurious fabrics in soft natural colours and neutral tones. Mostly versatile day looks, each piece had the potential to be converted to a night look by belting and with the addition of strong accessories.

Images by Kuna Photography

The chic looks traveled not only the runway but continued past the end onto the showroom floors and up and down the escalators! Attendees were able to watch as the garments were showcased not only in a professional runway setting but how they would move in everyday activities, such as shopping in a crowded mall or presenting at a business luncheon.

3 Center images by Photos: Bijan Dharas & Reiko Katayama, 2 outside images by Bryon Dauncey

The hair and make-up for the models was fresh and relaxed without being too simplistic. Calgary based German husband and wife team, Marc and Anna Riese (hair and make-up respectively) worked with local talent to create natural looks with La Biosthetique cruelty-free products. I had the opportunity to speak with them pre-show about the choices they made to compliment the collection.

Image by Helen Siwak
Marc created two looks for the dual season themed runway show. The first being a fresh spring look with a low side part and pony tail tied with simple elastic for an unfinished urban look. The fall look had loose hair and incorporated a tiny cornrow along the low side part then the hair was smoothed backwards. To maintain the looks, the team used La Bioesthetique’s Luxury Spa Oil for straightening the hair, the Beach Effect Styling Spray for a gritty ‘by the ocean’ feel and finished looks with their classic Formule Laque dry hair spray.

Images by Kuna Photography
Anna explained that the make-up for the spring looks would have a very glossy peachy eye for a natural dewy look, a touch of ‘grandma pinched your cheek’ blush and natural lip colour. The fall look would use more texture, still with very natural with eyes defined by matt taupe shadow, slight mascara and highlighter on cheeks, centre nose and cupid bow. The lips would be pearly but neutral and dusted with Sugar Candy.

Image by Ed Ng Photography

When the last model traversed the final span of the runway, I realized that Obakki had showed us luxurious and feminine pieces suitable for many different body types which make this collection accessible to the buying public and in turn means more revenue for this charitable foundation and its good works.

Congratulations to Ashleigh Said for keeping everyone coordinated and calm, the volunteers for knowing their stuff and to all others involved to make this closing night event such a great success. For those who missed it, the Spring/Summer Obakki line will be available at Holt Renfrew soon as part of the charitable H Project shop (second floor across from Prada).

Images by Kuna Photography

* Obakki was founded in 2005 by Treana Peake in Vancouver, BC. Collections are created, designed and manufactured locally and support The Obakki Foundation which is Obakki’s philanthropic counterpart and registered charity. With a focus on providing clean water and education in Africa, the Obakki Foundation has provided over 500 water wells and built 12 schools in South Sudan and Cameroon.

Images by Kuna Photography

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Check out Helen Siwak's two great businesses!

KITSILANO KITTY'S CLOSET - Online and local Vancouver re-seller of new/pre-loved luxury and vintage collections & collectibles. Gucci, Prada, Versace, Dior, Chanel and more all at super discounts! Private shopping & inhome parties!

VIT VIT VEGAN - Interested in a starting or maintaining a plant-based diet? Vit Vit Vegan provides home-style weekly food packages (breakfast, lunch, dinner) that are affordable, convenient and delicious! Customizable for young and old, gluten-free and diabetic. Solo packages starting at $50/week. Delivery

Friday, May 2, 2014

Blanche Macdonald - Costume Designer Kira Sams of Luxuria Vice, "Die Walkure"

It is rare you see a costume designer in a student fashion design grad show. Kira Sams - Luxuria Vice - is one of the exceptions and her looks were showstoppers.  In a pre-show glance into her portfolio, it was overwhelmingly clear her illustration skills were equally impressive.  While the two designs shown on the runway were inspired by the opera, a few of the individual pieces could easily be snatched up by those in the audience wanting to impress at a high-end fashion function. Who will win her heart in the long run - my bet is on the theatre and this talented designer/illustrator is more than ready for the challenge.

Sams was born in Edmonton, but moved to Calgary at the age of three. This is where she has memories - this is home. As a child, she loved stories. "I could entertain myself for hours telling stories and making up fantastic tales. It’s easy to see where my love of theatre came from."  She started reading Shakespeare in fifth grade and by high school had embraced the world of theatre. Three shows a year were produced. "It was the extracurricular activity that took up all my time. In my first year, I started by assistant stage managing. The next year, I was the stage manager. In my final year, I balanced stage managing with designing the costumes for my first show, The Children’s Hour; a melodramatic two-act set in the the thirties."

Deciding to pursue Costume Design as a career took more time. At the University of Calgary the first direction pursued was stage managing. While rewarding in its own right, there was a lack of creative input Sams found stifling.  By the third year of studies she realized where her passion lay. "I decided that I should go for what I actually wanted to do ever since getting a taste of it in high school; design costumes and clothing. After making my decision, I found a job as the solo costume designer, fabricator, and buyer for an after-school teen theatrical company and spent my summers honing my abilities with them." Despite their concerns about future job prospects, her family gave her the support necessary to follow her instincts. "They are always there for me, cheering me on, providing me with financial support and lending an ear when I need advice. I wouldn't be where I am today without them."

After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre from the University of Calgary, it was time to look beyond the academic qualifications and experience she currently possessed, to a program that would advance her technical skills. "I felt shaky in my practical abilities. The costume design classes I had taken previous were mostly theoretical in nature, analyzing character and script, studying fashion history, and working on illustration skills."  Sams' sewing skills were self-taught and creating patterns as this point involved altering store bought ones. To pursue a career working in the wardrobe departments of film, television and theatre meant it was important to know the best way to approach each assignment and the right way to do it.

After a tour of the campus, Sams decided that Blanche Macdonald in Vancouver was the place to be. They were one of the few schools that taught garment construction, pattern making AND fashion illustration - an important skill that has taken a back seat in recent years. It was also an accelerated program that only took 1 year to complete. "After five years in post-secondary, I was ready to wrap up my education and move into the workforce. Blanche allowed me to do that in the shortest amount of time."

There were many similarities to her previous studies. The main focus just shifted from current shows to current runway/fashion events. Sams initially dreaded pattern drafting as she has no experience, but it grew to inspired her. "For one look that didn't make it on the graduation runway, I drafted rather complicated sleeves. I had to draft, create a muslin, adjust, and then repeat this series of tasks about twelve times before I settled on the finished result. I found this process to actually be invigorating and it quickly began my favorite part of the process."

The title of her grad collection was "Die Walkure" - inspired by a series of 4 operas titled Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) loosely based on Nordic mythology - by German composer Richard Wagner. Amazing Victorian illustrations of the text by Arthur Rackham guided the collection's color palette. As Sams immersed herself in the music and lyrics, the character of Brunhilde - a Valkyrie who falls from grace, is claimed by the hero of the story and meets a tragic end - became the starting point for her collection. "Focusing in on my fascination with Brunhilde and her own personal story, I found that the designs I was creating reflected her journey through the narrative."

Sams never wanted to conform to one label - fashion, costume, stage, etc. - instead she found it far more interesting to create the looks and see how the audience interpreted them.The results were intriguing as when you removed the label of the theatre, the looks could find a home in many areas of the fashion industry. "My history and goals in costume design often influence people to assume my collection is one comprised entirely of costumes. Without that association, I’ve been told my collection falls under a variety of other classifications, such as evening-wear and haute couture. I love being able to work outside of the box and allow others to decide what to do with my work."

Choosing the initial palette began with lots of off-white, taupe, beige and brown to replicate the ink-washed feel of illustrations by Arthur Rackham. But the character of Brunhilde as well as fabric choices led Sams to expand this vision. Looks showcased several kinds of silk, suede and leather. Rooster feathers added a mystical touch. The two look shows were vibrant, with white, silver, red and burgundy making a show-stopping statement as the models hit the runway. The designer also wanted to honour the fact that Brunhilde was a warrior.  "Wagner talks at length about her armor in his play and I wanted to bring that element to my collection. After a bit of research, I taught myself how to weave scalemaille and incorporated it into garments." Here favourite look - whichever one she is working on at them moment!

Step away from the world of design and you'll also find an academic project in the works. "While doing research for an independent project in University, I stumbled across an interesting conundrum. There is no formal classification for what separates ordinary clothing from fashion, from costume or from ‘wearable art.’ What makes fashion art but not clothing? Why are the collected works of fashion designers being turned into museum exhibits? What separates a costume from an individual's personal style? I want to start drawing the lines between these definitions, exploring where they intersect and can be separated. I find it’s something that no one else is looking at."

Sams is juggling many things at the moment. There are commissions to fill, personal projects in the
works and the all important union membership to finalize, opening the door to booking work in TV, film and stage. Most likely the next year or so will be in Calgary and then it will be back to Vancouver to continue on in the entertainment industry here.  The dream?  To one day be a head costume designer.

For more information in the fashion design program at Blanche Macdonald go to To reach Kira Sams or see more of her work, go to her website at