Runway photos courtesy of Peter Jensen
While Blanche Macdonald usually offers one large fashion design grad show each November featuring all students who have graduated in the last twelve months, there is occasionally a group of students who merit their own show. In May, ten such students took to the runway showcasing a truly outstanding group of collections. You can check out my show coverage for Metro Living Zine HERE.
I do my best to NEVER miss a local student show (supporting new talent is my number one passion), but as I was in Southern California at the time for a family event - I had to enjoy this show through the student's collection comments and the runway pictures by photographer Peter Jensen. I wasn't disappointed.
Next came the difficulty of picking just a few students from such a talented group to feature in solo articles. Anahita Monzavi and her Glassy Vision collection caught my eye. In following up, I was impressed with her extensive set of illustrations showcasing the diversity of this innovative and interesting grad collection. It was no surprise to find she had received a special award.
I want to first offer you her words. This is followed with an intriguing Q and A covering her journey to this moment. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
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ANAHITA MONZAVI – Awarded, Special Award for Innovative Use of Materials
“I was originally inspired by stained glass windows – the shapes and colors of the window really caught my eye. I knew it would be very hard task to create customize pieces of glass to use in my collection, but I had always wanted to do something different and challenging. I decided to take on the project...In my designs I used glass fusing, fabric fusing, beading, natural lamb leather and lacing, but the hardest part was making the mold for each piece and making holes in the bustier for the laces.” @fmanahitaa
Where were you born, where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Esfahan, Iran, till I was 28 years old. Then I got married and moved to Vancouver, Canada, about 2 years ago.
What you like when you were young?
I was always interested in Art and Design. I started knitting clothes for my dolls when I was six years old and than started painting from the very early age of eight, I used to paint at the professional level and display my paintings at different galleries .
When I was in high school, I was in Iran's national badminton team which took most of my time . However I never stopped painting, mostly as a hobby. During my high school years I designed my own clothes and my mother helped me sew them.
Looking back, can you remember any signs that you would end up in fashion? A personal story would be great here.
Well not really. I always knew I was interested in Arts and Design, but not fashion. However, When I was about 20 years old a friend of mine asked me if I could help her with her collection & Portfolio. It took us about 1 year and it was very successful. So I got really interested in creating my own collection. I knew I could do well as I was already good at sketching and had a good taste for fashion. I made a successful collection and started my show room in Iran at age 22. So that's how I started and in fact
By age 28 (when I moved to Canada) I only had one dream and that was to become a fashion designer and create my own brand. I had a very successful showroom in Iran for 5 years so I knew I had a great potential and I knew moving to Canada would give me a better chance to succeed. Therefore, I decided to learn the academics of fashion as well as the new methods and trends in North America which I knew it would be different from what I had learned I Iran.
Of course it was very difficult for me to keep up with other students as English was my second language, but I tried very hard every day. My husband was very supportive and would help me through all the difficulties.
Why did you choose to study at Blanche Macdonald?
Talk about your time studying Fashion Design. What was hard for you, what was easy for you, are they any high, low or funny moments you can share?
When I started Blanche Macdonald I was truly terrified. The courses we were studying were very hard, especially for me as English was my second language. It was really hard to keep up with the class. It was almost impossible for me to believe I could even graduate. But with the support of the instructors and my husband, after three months I got used to the program and things become easier.
What was the inspiration for your grad collection? Share anything you'd like readers to know?
I was originally inspired by stain window glass; the shape and colorful glass on the window really caught my eyes. I knew it would be very hard task to create customized pieces of glass and try using them in my collection, but as I always wanted to do something different and challenging I decided to take on the challenge. I decided to attend glass fusing, glass blowing and glass flaming classes in order to learn how to make my pieces. It was very time consuming and hard, I literally had to make each piece at least 15 to 20 times. Everyone's biggest concern was, glass pieces are really fragile , but the way I made them by fusing different layers of glass made each piece at least 3 times stronger and very hard to crack, yet still not too heavy to wear .
Describe your collection – customer, day-evening-sportswear-separates-casual-high end glamour-stage costuming-punk?
Glassy Vision is a combination of evening dress and sportswear with a hint of punk. I was mostly focused on the creativity more than creating a day to day wear type of dress.
What is the palette? What fabrics did you use?
I think the colorful stainless glass stands out more against black background, therefore I used black lamb leather and suede fabric to create my pieces.
Do you have a favorites look?
Yes my third look with the red bustier.
What do you think you can bring to the fashion world that is new?
I really would like to improve on combining my designs using stainless glass to make a new look for today's fashion scene, and create a unique and elegant high end line to encourage the creativity in fashion for myself and other designers.
Please share a fashion quote you love.
“Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.” - Marilyn Monroe 1952
To contact Anahita Monzavi, please email email@example.com