Blanche Macdonald - Jordyn Heck, "Swim" by Jordyn Leah

Runway Images by Peter Jensen Photography
Illustrations by Julian Leclerc

Neon Dreams 2016 show recap -

I was honoured to be at the most recent Blanche Macdonald grad show to see the newest group of Fashion Design students offer their amazing grad collections. As always, I left the event inspired.

Design students may not have the experience and technical skills that come from working a long time in the fashion industry, but they bring fresh ideas to the table that offer a small window into where things may head in the future.

Each season I pick a few students to offer a solo article on and I try to offer a wide range of aesthetics and styles. Choosing who to feature all starts with a look at their portfolios. I want these to be strong representations of their work overall as well as offer good illustrations. Strong illustrations offer me an idea of the designers potential as an artist.

Next I watch the runway show closely. As someone who sewed professionally for five years, I don't want to see puckered seams or odd threads hanging. I look for proportions that are flattering and interesting ideas. In the end, fashion is very subjective, so I look for what catches my eye.

Jordyn Heck's collection caught my eye on the runway - the beautiful colour with black detailing combined with the flowing silk separates were well chosen. Those silk over garments took it to the next level for me. Then I checked out her portfolio and was impressed with her illustrations.  Now for the final note - I love to be surprised. When I received her interview answer I learned this was not a lingerie line (looking back now at the images a silly assumption, not sure why I thought that), but a resort swimwear line. Kudos! You surprised me in the best way possible.

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Where were you born, where did you grow up?

I was born in Edmonton, Alberta and grew up there with my mom, dad and younger sister. My parents separated when I was about four years old so most of my childhood was spent between the two of them - growing up in two different homes.

What you like when you were young?

As a child I was always coloring. My mom used to tell me that I not only loved it, but I would color in my princess coloring book and redesign the dresses using my markers to illustrate what I considered at the time beautiful prints and patterns. I took singing lessons, dance and swimming but my favorite activity was gymnastics which I avidly practiced for over 12 years. I felt like I’ve always known I was more artistic than analytical.

What were your interests in High School?

In high school I was more into sports at the time and spent most of it after school training for the next upcoming volleyball game or going to gymnastics. I have always been the type of person to live life to the fullest, and my high school years were no exemption. Creating countless memories at my best and worst as teenagers do, I grew up around an amazing group of positive/supportive people. It wasn’t until about a year after graduation when I became even more interested and knowledgeable in fashion and it just progressed from there. 

Looking back, can you remember any signs that you would end up in fashion?

I think just how much I enjoyed clothing and being able to express myself in my own way helped me choose a career that would let me be free to create like fashion designing. Growing up I always thought I would end up in business school. It actually wasn’t until a little after high school and a year in college I realized I wanted a career in fashion. It’s almost like it snuck up on me! Like its been there the whole time and I didn’t realize it until I was older and experienced different jobs and going to business school that I really knew.

Talk about when and how you decided to study fashion design. Was you family supportive?

I decided to study fashion professionally about 2 years ago. I knew that I had to take my interests and passion and make a career out of it. I’ve always loved the quote, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” That was my goal. I didn’t want to spend my life “working”, I wanted to love and enjoy my work. I wanted to wake up every day and be excited for the work day ahead. My family has always been so supportive of me no matter what interests I’ve taken. Both my parents and sister have been my rocks and have helped shape me to who I am today.

Why did you choose to study at Blanche Macdonald?

I chose to Study at Blanche Macdonald because of the amazing reputation the school has within Canada. When I was ready to start my education in fashion design, Blanche was the first thing that popped up in my search engine when I typed in “Best Fashion School in Canada”. I reviewed a couple other schools but Blanche just seemed like the perfect fit for me. I really liked that the course was only a year long, I still got to receive a Diploma at the end, along with a full fashion show that showcased my three looks I came up with. I was also told the teachers were absolutely amazing. I made the move to Vancouver a few months before school and started in the fall of 2015. I’m so, so happy I chose Blanche because I learned SO much and the teachers really are incredible. They’re so helpful, knowledgeable and so down to earth and their passion for fashion is so inspiring.

Talk about your time studying Fashion Design. What was hard for you, what was easy for you? Are there any high, low or funny moments you can share?

At first, pattern drafting was a little difficult for me. Having never drafted a pattern or even knowing what a basic front bodice pattern looked like was confusing at first. After I got into the swing of it and getting some help from my teachers, spending my evenings after school for hours upon hours with fellow classmates working on our quarter scales together, I got better and better with each passing week. Now it’s one of my favorite things to do! I also really enjoy designing as it abeles me to express myself and be free to imagine and create what I’m feeling. I had such a good group of classmates and teachers that every day was really enjoyable. I love all the new friends I’ve made too. A funny moment I can recall from the top of my head (there were a lot though) was one night I was sewing until about 3 in the morning and I knew it was time for bed when I sewed an arm sleeve onto a neck hole, haha.

What was the inspiration for your grad collection? Share anything you'd like readers to know?

My inspiration for my grad collection was silhouettes on a beach at sunset. I have always traveled to tropical places since I can remember. My mom and dad took my sister and I at least once a year since I was about 5 or 6 years old. I really fell in love with the ocean, beach and my favorite part were the sunsets! I love the different hues of pinks, oranges, blues and purples that flash across the sky and touch the horizon. I also love the way palm trees, flowers and silhouettes of bodies look when you capture a picture during sunset and whatever you’re shooting is completely black with a beautiful sunset behind. I can’t wait to travel more to different parts of the world to gather more inspirations for future collections.

Describe your collection – title, customer, day-evening-sportswear-separates-casual-high-end glamour-stage costuming-punk?

My collection is titled ‘SWIM’ by Jordyn Leah which is a high quality resort swimwear line intended to serve the passion of the fierce goddess within. Designs with innovative high performance fabric technology sourced from Italy, I created soft, functionally luxurious feminine silhouettes rich in hand stitched lace appliques and silk chiffon in a luxurious palette of blush, nude, rose gold and ebony. Brazilian inspired bottoms, paired with strappy halters and fun cover-up garments creates an ultra-flirty, attention getting aesthetic.

What is the palette? What fabrics did you use?

For my palette I wanted to use the colors of a sunset in my silk chiffon cover ups, so, a mixture of blush, rose gold and orange paired with high quality nude Lycra swimwear fabric and imported black cotton lace appliques.

Do you have a favorite look?

I think my favorite look from my collection was Look 1. I wanted to create something that no one has really seen before, especially in swimwear. I think the black hand stitched lace applique on a nude colored bodice with the halter straps coming into a lace applique choker was really pretty. It paired really nice with the ‘Sunset Skirt’ as well.

What do you think you can bring to the fashion world that is new?
Talking with a lot of different woman of all ages and sizes, I found that function as well as style in swimwear is a constant problem. I want my suits to be able to look really good but be able to have my customers go into the salt water, chlorine pools and stand up against tanning creams and oils without having it fade, loose it elasticity and shape over time. I found a lot of swimwear fades and loses its elasticity so quickly after I’ve paid over $200 for the suit. I really want to change and excel at this!

Where do you go from here – are you going to work for others for awhile, launch your own line, take a break and travel?

In the new year I want to work with a local swimwear designer who is very hands on with their own line. I want to learn and develop new skills all while I’m able to launch my own line in the future. I plan to do some travelling this coming year as well for more research.

Links - 
Instagram: @jordynleahswim

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For more information on the fashion design program at Blanche Macdonald, please visit their website at


  1. Thank you so much Marilyn, I really enjoyed telling you my story. I will be posting the link for your fantastic article on my new website. Thanks again.


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