Vancouver Fashion Week FW19 - Interview With Designer Noele Baptista of Noelzinia

Runway Images by Dale Rollings

Please share a bit about your journey to embrace fashion design as a career.

I have had a life long fascination with fashion and drawing, and have grown up in a very artistic environment, as my mother and all of her friends are artists. We own a little shoppe in our hometown and it has been a hub of creativity - art, handmade fashion and decor for three and a half years now, and counting.

I had intended to take the Fashion Design Technician program at St Clair College just as a hobby, or something I wanted to do just for myself, and then continue on to Interior Design leading to Architecture at the University of Michigan, but I became so enamored with fashion, that is where is stayed. I only graduated one year ago, but have been selling my clothing in our shoppe and had a wonderful time showing my first professional line at VFW, where we met!

 Since then, I have been invited to show collections in London, Paris, Milan and New York fashion weeks over the next four seasons, and I am so excited for the future of Noelzinia brand!

How did you learn your skills? 

I learned a lot from watching my mother and aunt, and grandmother sew, but entered St. Clair College as a newbie. St. Clair graduation was a jumping off point to my career, with awesome advice and assistance from the Head Coordinator of the program, Elaine Chatwood. Also. seeing what sold at our shoppe, and also working in a high end boutique game me invaluable insight as to what women wanted, how they shopped, and what they would wear/buy versus what they said they liked.

Who you are as a designer? Aesthetic? Customer? Brand?

As a designer, I am a lover of colour,art, ruffles and femininity, but with a little edge or attitude. I like to mix old world with modern, and I am constantly influenced by other countries, customs, travel and people. I am an observer and an innovator. I like to create new takes on old ideas. I like to design my pieces with attention to detail, and construct them in unexpected ways, using materials that are sometimes upcycled or repurposed. A common element is art - wearable art.

The customer wants to look beautiful in her clothes - she knows her own body and what will work. She operates outside of the norm, the status quo, and wears what speaks to her. Much like a tattoo speaks volumes to the observer, she is fearless and feminine at the same time. What a woman puts on her body can be a real statement about how she feels, and my customers are individuals, not basing their choices on age or other confinements. Whether 12 or 80, the attitude is the common denominator of the woman who wears my clothing. I create what I love, and what I would wear, and my youth imprints my clothing with a contagious youthful vibe.

The brand is named after me, a nickname my long-deceased father called me as a little girl. It means"little Noele" in Portuguese. It is a really new brand, and I am only 21,so I feel it will grow as I grow, and reflect what I observe in the world and how I relate to it. It is deeply personal, and people seem to resonate with my designs as I think they capture my unique perspective and vision and I learn and grow. Travel, the past, the present reality and history, humanities, colour and the feelings it evokes are all elements of design to me.

What comes easiest for you as a designer? What is hardest?

I have an over abundance of ideas - they come easiest. The difficulty is in narrowing them down to create a cohesive line that looks good together.

Where do you find inspiration for new collections? How important is colour to your design process?

Each collection takes on the feeling of a different place or feeling in history, and takes shape based on colour and the emotion of colour. Colour is very integral to the design process for me. It always means something.

Readers would love to know more about the current collection you showed at Vancouver Fashion Week. Can you describe it for us - aesthetic, fabrics, palette, silhouettes, inspiration, etc.?
As described for VFW, this Collection, "Fleurs Pressees", Fall/Winter 19/20, or Pressed Flowers, is influenced by the desire to preserve beautiful memories of seasons long ago between the pages of a treasured book, merging the past with the present and defying winter's cruelty. It has been a common thread throughout many cultures and eras - a practice throughout the world. Why can't we have beautiful flowers in winter, and save moments from the past forever?

The line is constructed with cotton velvets, silks and chiffons with artful flowers appliqued or drawn by Susan Dupont Baptista (my mother), and patchwork, upcycled denim makes it relatable to today's market.

Do you have a favorite look in this collection?

My favourite look would be the last look - the rouched dress with heavy draping. Almost every woman can wear it, and everyone who has worn it says they feel like a queen. The colour looks luminous on every skin tone.

Where can readers purchase your designs?

Readers can purchase our designs at our small boutique, Windblown & Weathered in Kingsville, Ontario. They can find us online and we will happily work with them personally until we can create a more substantial online buying venue (currently in the works)

What's next for you as a designer and your brand?

I am currently working on a ready to wear line to be featured in our store later this spring and designing for London Fashion Week in September.

What advice do you have for young fashion artists just beginning their journey to become designers?

I am a young designer and I am living my dream. It's a glamorous industry, but the work is not glamorous- I would say to work harder than everyone else and design what you like. Try not to pay too much attention to what everyone else is doing. I would say that authenticity and uniqueness can be your greatest assets.

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