Vancouver Community College (VCC) - Stella Chu of 透 TÒU

Images by J. Collin Jones

When Vancouver Community College (VCC) moved their fashion design graduate showcase to the Vancouver Fashion Week runway, I was thrilled. It is such a great experience for the students and so much easier for me. I have been connected to VCC for over 10 years now and think I have seen every single one of their shows since 2007.

The collections shown this season - Fall/Winter 18 - did not disappoint. Every single student presented great design work, strong tailoring and well though out silhouettes. When it came to picking a student to feature in a solo article it wasn't an easy choice, but there was something about Stella Chu of 透 TÒU that really caught my eye.  Interestingly enough, the look I loved the most and would love to own was the designer's favourite as well. That made me smile. And if I read her answers right below - she made her own shoes as well. WOW!

So here you go, a chance to step behind the scenes in this Q and A interview with new designer Stella Chu. You'll get to learn a little bit about her journey to fashion design, her design process and the collection she showcased that day.


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My favourite look in this collection.
I would love to own it, except
maybe not in white. I spill things constantly
Where were you born, where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Taiwan, which has the mix of metropolis and nature, and moved to Vancouver when I was 15 to pursue my education.!

What were you like when you were young?

My siblings had influenced my interest in art. They both loved art and were both really artistic and creative. We were all sent to an art studio when we were little. Then all of us were enrolled in classes specializing in art in elementary school and high school. I guess you can tell how much I love art!

What were your interests in High School?

I was passionately driven by art and fashion when I was in High School. I loved dressing up and most of my elective courses were art classes such as print making, drawing, painting, ceramics, AP (Advanced Placement) arts and a portrait drawing class.

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

I studied Visual Art at Emily Carr University (ECU) for one and a half years. After years of taking mostly theory courses, I decided to take a semester off to rethink my career path. I first took a non-credit sewing course at VCC.  It really blew my mind and came to change what “Fashion” meanty to me. Fashion is not as simple as just dressing up. The course helped me appreciate the process of just making one simple garment.

I am thankful that my parents were always supportive of my hobby. However, they hoped I could finish my degree at ECU first, and then enroll in a fashion school after to pursue a career in the fashion industry. They felt quitting halfway through my degree at ECU was quite a pity.

Why did you choose to study in the program at Vancouver Community College?

After attending an information session at a few different schools, I chose the Fashion Diploma Program at VCC because it provided courses from the production process to sales, and it focuses more on hands-on technical courses rather than the creative process.

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?

Since we were the first group of students in this brand new 2- year program, there were only 4 of us. At first I was stressed by this small number of peers, but as the year progressed I ended up feeling very lucky to be a part of this group. As there were only 4 of us sharing the space, we each could use two full large working tables and there was no wait-line when accessing the sewing machines, equipments, and etc.  

Besides having the advantage of using the workspace, my classmates were very talented. They all had experience in fashion design and sewing. On the other hand, I didn't even know how to thread the machine in the beginning of the first class. One low point for me was that I was too shy and was afraid to speak up due to lack of confidence and experience. However, I gained a lot of valuable experience learning techniques, good working attitude and getting positive energy from being around them.

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

My Fall 2018 Ready-to-Wear collection was inspired by the travelling photos and videos I took in the summer. While looking at the natural scenery, landscape, architecture, textures and portraits I had captured, I started to write down all the Chinese characters that inspired me.

Chinese characters have a complex form, and the beauty of Chinese character is that one character may have many different meanings. By looking up the definition of the characters, breaking down each character into components and realizing how each character is formed, I picked the character “tòu” to be the inspirations for the season.

Describe your customer.

People who love minimal dressing and a minimal lifestyle. Minimalist fashion doesn’t have to be boring and you can dress comfortably without sacrificing style. The key message associated with this season for me is minimal, playful, effortless, ageless, and ease.

What is the palette? What fabrics did you use?

This season the palette consisted of neutral colours with muted brights. The fabrics I used in my collection are mostly 100% cotton, stretch cotton, cotton blend, wool blend twill fabric, polyester mesh and nylon mesh. I also incorporated clear PVC, leather and rubber for the accessories (flat mules).

Do you have a favourite look?

I personally love the 5th look - an oversized tee and trousers paired with a tight-fitting mesh turtle-neck sheer top. This look shows a balance between muscularity and femininity.

Links - 
  • Instagram - @and_a_n_d
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For more information on the Fashion Design program at Vancouver Community College, please visit their website at