I want to be a fashion designer!
Since grade 7, I’ve wanted to be a fashion designer. One of the first collections I remember is one from Dolce and Gabbana where they used a slick metalic plastic fabric, and all the models had black lipstick. I covered all four walls and my ceiling in a grid of fashion magazine ads during highschool. In my twelfth year of highschool I applied for an got accepted into Senecca College in Toronto, paid my deposits on tuition and residence, and then quietly backed away from my dream. Comments ranging from “you’ll never get a job making clothes, nobody makes clothes”, to “you’ll never survive in Toronto, you’re not a city girl” coupled with stats like only 5% of fashion students survive in the fashion world 5 years after graduation, scared me enough not to try.
I entered and promptly failed my code class in the first semester of computer programming at Algonquin College in Ottawa. I spent three years earning a Graphic Design diploma with honours at St. Lawrence College in Kingston. I worked for 4 years in the print design industry before going back to school to retrain. The whole time I sketched clothing, designed and constructed my own clothing, and dreamed of a day when I could own my own business.
Looking for something more but not knowing what it was (a little bit of fashion no doubt) I attended Vancouver Film School for a year in the Digital Design program where I met an abundance of talented people in every field. I introduced myself to the game designers on campus, met some sound designers, makeup artists, producers, and chatted up the guys down in resources on the film campus. I got a game design job that I love (and I’m not leaving any time soon) at Microsoft a few months after I graduated through one of my past instructors at VFS. I’ve co-produced two films, worked on some probono projects, and lucky for me, had a great time in the process.
near the end of my student career, one of my contacts in resources asked me if I wanted to interview models, hair stylists, makeup artists and fashion designers at Vancouver Fashion Week. It was during my final project at VFS, and I took 4 nights off to do it. It was the best 4 nights out of that year I spent at VFS. Any and all of my passion for fashion and everything that comes with it came to the surface. I was on an eternal high, cloud 9, and nothing could have brought me down.
One of the things that had kept me from ever wanting to enter the fashion industry was the diva’s and the elitists of the fashion world that I had continuously seen on TV. But Vancouver fashion isn’t like that. The designers I interviewed were down to earth. They just loved their craft. The models were real girls, volunteering their time to strut down the runway in cool clothing. The whole venue had a wonderfully creative and youthful energy about it that I’d never felt before.
I’ve slowly been formulating an idea about selling my fashion wares ever since. I recently decided on a name – Mulierose – which means fond of woman. I’m fond of womanly shapes, feminine colour palettes, romantic words, and vintage pieces. Mulierose was an adjective used for little more than 20 years in the 1870’s, and I loved the idea of recycling it and making it new again. I’ve been collecting larger sized dress shirts with the intention of cutting them into sun dresses for the summer, and cutting scrapes of satin and fashioning them into flowers.
I originally wanted to work it all up and present it online in one big, scissor cutting the ribbon moment. But then I read the book Running Lean, which told me what I already knew in graphic design, but failed to implement in trying to start my own business: find a problem worth solving, before defining a solution. I’ve been trying to work out details here and there without fully determining or understanding my target audience.
So here I am. Putting my idea out there, on the interweb, never to be taken back or hidden away again. I’d like to ask a favour and request your feedback, suggestions for improvement, and to forward this article along to interested friends. I’m interested in why people buy what they do, and plan on writing a survey to send out soon to ask the right questions. For now, this is my first baby step. Testing the ice to see if it’s safe to walk on before putting my full weight on it. Feel free to leave comments on my blog (They’ll be pending moderator approval and make take a bit of time to show up) or email me directly at amanda (at) mulierose (dot) ca. Thanks in advance for your support.