Illustrations by Caitlyn Bellavance
Where were you born, where did you grow up?
I was born in Calgary, moved to Hong Kong when I was ten, did my first year of University in Victoria, lived the ski bum life in Fernie, and now I am in Vancouver, British Columbia.
What you like when you were young?
I loved being around my family and being outdoors exploring. I never liked to play with dolls or girl type activities. I loved art and crafts and was always creating things. I played piano and guitar, and loved skiing and biking.
High school was pretty boring for me. My mom took me out of the traditional High School and registered me in an Independent Learning High school where I finished the rest of High School in 1 1⁄2 years. I was able to spend a lot of time studying art and different mediums. I painted a whole mural on a wall in the High School, which was featured on the CTV news. I started snowboarding and was spending a lot of time in Banff and Fernie.
Looking back, can you remember any signs that you would end up in fashion?
When I was very young, I insisted on dressing differently from the other girls around me and at school. I would mix up outfits and layer clothes to look differently. I started to set fashion trends at an early age and would get really annoyed at my classmates if they copied me. Ironically, now in my career, I want them to copy me!
My mother explored all of the Fashion design schools in Canada a year before I decided to go back to school. One day in August I read my horoscope, and it said I was about to receive a long distance invitation that would change my life. I later got a call from a representative of Blanche Macdonald following up on our inquiry of the school. She offered me a grant to start the program in November. It felt meant to be, so I jumped on it!
Studying Fashion Design at Blanche was interesting as it is a condensed program. It is effectively designed to have you working your butt off until the very last second. Which I am now grateful for as it instilled good work habits and time management in me. I enjoyed all of it and embraced every challenge, even the countless times I had to work backwards because I had sewn something wrong.
What was the inspiration for your grad collection?
The inspiration for my grad collection was the word “ Fernweh”. Which means, the longing for somewhere distant. To me this meant somewhere beyond this world, a mystical alien world. I tried to imagine what the people who inhabited this world might wear, and designed it.
My collection consists of casual, practical garments that can be worn anytime. The garments can be interchangeable from the 3 looks.
What is the palette? What fabrics did you use?
Do you have a favourite look?
What do you think you can bring to the fashion world that is new?
My favourite quote is “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different” - Coco Chanel. This quote really resonates with me and how I feel about creating clothing from scratch.
My collection can be viewed on my website : www.bellav.co.