KPU Wilson School of Design - Sandy Escalante of ONE IN TWO

Runway image by Peter Jensen

On April 19, 2018, I was honoured to be invited to view KPU Wilson School of Design's 2018 The Show, a showcase of collections from the 31 students graduating from their fashion design program.

In addition to a show overview HERE, I selected a few student grads to offer solo interviews with. Each stood out in their own way.

Today's interview is with Sandy Escalante.  What I loved about her designs is they were not only great wearable, comfortable, stylish pieces - they were also uniquely convertible.  Hooks down the side of a wider Capri length pant meant you could narrow them to a slim silhouette.  Sleeve length on her top could go up and down.  And one pant had a lower panel that could be removed to make them capris.  All great ideas


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Where were you born, where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in East Vancouver; however, my parents are from El Salvador and I grew up speaking Spanish at home.

What were you like when you were young?

I am the youngest of 3 and I was very shy, soft spoken and had a big imagination. I spent a lot of my childhood making crafts. I borrowed books from the library, watched Art Attack on TV and tried to recreate what I saw. I was always proud of my artwork and would bring it to school for show and tell.

What were your interests in High School?

I took textiles classes throughout high school. Most academic classes and PE were not my strong suit, I tried everything to avoid running laps! I excelled on the creative side, but at the time academic courses were seen as more important so I felt like I needed to focus on them more and put my creativity aside to do better in those courses. The way I was able to actually express my creativity during this time was through dress.

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

Even though money was scarce growing up, my mom always ensured that we were dressed in the latest trends. She was always fashion forward and taught us that fashion, along with your overall appearance are forms in portraying yourself and how you are perceived by others, in addition to being comfortable in what expresses you. That really stuck with me and peaked my interest in fashion. From then on I started following trends and went through some interesting phases until I found my personal style.

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

I had a lot of family and friends encouraging me to pursue fashion, however I wasn’t sure where it would take me as a profession. After high school, I took time off to reflect and decide what would be the right path for me.

Why did you choose to study in the program at KPU Wilson School of Design?

I had a few friends who had been in the program at KPU and were successful in the industry, and shared their experiences, opportunities and challenges. After doing my own research about the program and the job market in Vancouver, I was convinced that this was the right place for me to obtain an education in design.

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?

During my time studying Fashion Design, I learned a lot about the reality of the fashion industry; the business, technical and creative side of the processes. I learned how important it is to design with intent, empathizing with a group of people through design by doing research and analysis, producing a garment they need/want and marketing it to them. Community and collaboration were an essential part in my education that pushed my perspective and helped me improve. I was lucky to be with a group of people who always tried to remain positive through the stress and deadlines, whether it was through jokes or sending memes.

What was the inspiration for your grad collection? Share anything you'd like readers to know?
In my 3rd year at KPU, I studied abroad in Berlin and I lived in a very small single dorm room, and in I traveled around Europe with only my carry on bag. I noticed that most of the clothes I had and the clothes I would pack for travel were all similar with slight detail differences (95% of it was black). So, I had to be mindful of what I was consuming, more than usual, because I was limited to space-and 50 pounds of luggage space for my trip back home. When I returned home, I became aware of how little space my friends and friends of friends had. In my research, I found that many people in Vancouver live in homes that are 1000 square feet or less.

Describe your collection?

ONE IN TWO is inspired by limited space, decluttering and convertibility for the modern day minimalistic woman aged 35-45; minimal in the sense of owning fewer possessions and consuming fewer products. A single product from this collection can be worn in up to two ways, adopted from the idea of saving space and time. Subtle and effortless minimalist details are showcased within the collection, allowing individuals to manipulate the silhouette of the garments, transforming the appearance from one look to the next.

What is the palette? What fabrics did you use?

This season I tried to stay away from black because she will already have black in her closet. So the palette consists of colours within the realm of minimalism, that are light and classic that can be effortlessly transitioned through seasons. This collection includes quality woven and knit fabrics such as wool silk and bamboo cotton blends, that have the ability to last through wear and time along with being lightweight for packability, storage and travel. Additionally, these pieces have the capacity to be layered and worn easily with one another along with what is already in her wardrobe.

Do you have a favourite look?

I like all the looks in this collection but my favorite would be the white pants and crop jacket because it represents me as a person and designer the best.

What do you think you can bring to the fashion world that is new?
Hopefully, I will encourage combining function from other areas of design (such as technical apparel and accessories) with fashion and trends. I can showcase how functionality can play a role in fashion without having to sacrifice style. Along with increasing awareness of over consumption and creating an expressive platform that people can identify with.

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

All of the above. After 4 years of full time school I definitely want to take a bit of time to relax and regroup. Ideally I’d like to gather experience from experts in the industry and my long term goal would be to have my own brand and collection.

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