Canada’s Breakthrough Designers Finalist Q&A: Ryerson University

We are back in force with our first TÉLIO Competition blog post of the year! This week we present you the finalists from Ryerson University.

From the Canada’s Breakthrough Designers team, we wish you a most incredibly fashion savvy year filled with laughter and good times.

Happy 2014!


Layered mosaic, Print mixing, Retro geometric, Layers, Fit, Composition, Delicate, Appliqués, Papillon, Lines, Tailored, Symmetry,
Hourglass shape, Softness, Transformation, Monochromatic, Balance, Surface mixture, Graceful.
Nine fabrics, nine textures, nine styles.

Mira Héon

1. Who or what inspires you most?
Inspiration tends to take many shapes and many different paths. I believe that what inspires me the most are my own feelings. I create only when I feel attracted to a subject or theme, when I feel overwhelmed or fascinated and need to explore and master what tickled my interest. Inspiration has to come through feeling, what my emotions are telling me.

2. Do you prefer sketching designs or actually constructing them?
Sketching is definitely what I prefer. It is really through this media that I can explore and develop my ideas. However, I do not banish the construction side of my creative process because it is often the best way to test an idea and evaluate its fit, look and appeal.

3. What fabric(s) did you select for your TÉLIO garment and why?
Being a fan of colour blocking and seaming, the outfit I created needed many fabrics and some textiles jumped out at me while I was exploring the textures of my design. This brought me to choose nine (9) different fabrics in order to achieve my three piece garment. The crinkled faux leather, smooth faux suede, pitch black wool and shiny chiffon were a perfect combination for my transformable jacket. I could showcase a variety of textures while keeping this piece the same colour. For the tank top, the base is a white crepe complemented with silk digital print appliqués and an overlay of lace to play with transparency, graphic contours and the monochromatic colour palette. Finally, the pant is made from a jacquard with angled insertions of tweed which elongate the silhouette and showcase the matte and lustrous, light and dark sides of the garment.

4. Your hero(es)/heroine(s) in real life?
Definitively Jennifer Lawrence. I am a big fan! I think she is admirable and exceptional. She is an amazing actress and she is aware of the influence she has on others. I admire her self-confidence and her personality which also shows through her appearances in the media scene. She does not comply with what society calls for but imposes herself as she is and creates new standards.

Fayann Huang copy

She’s made of many layers, like the pinecones on the Autumn floor.
She views the season as her runway to shine, in textures and layers through her busy cosmopolitan lifestyles.

Fayann Huang

1. Describe the general process you go through to design a piece of clothing.
My general process in designing anything begins with finding inspiration. The source of the latter usually comes from natural objects, places or people. Next I figure out what type of garment I want to design and how I can apply my inspiration into it. Whether it is an obvious influence through cut, shape or print or just a simple back-story to a style line or design choice. I try to apply as much of the inspiration as I can into garments I make while still remaining true to my own esthetic. Throughout the construction of the garment, I’m always redefining the look, tweaking little details here and there.  Every project is another learning opportunity to challenge myself in order to extend my knowledge of garment construction and production.

2. What’s your favourite part of this process?
My favourite part about this process is trying to figure out how I can apply my inspiration to my designs. This step is so therapeutic for me because I tend to let my mind wander into the countless design possibilities while my hand does the drawing. When an idea clicks, I get very excited and passionate about it, and I do my best work that way. I give 150% of my energy to make it come together; that creative fire is what I live for.

3. How would you define your personal style?
I would describe my personal style to be “versatile” and “classic”.  The way I dress everyday depends on how I feel in the morning. Sometimes I want to be quirky or cute, so I wear miniskirts and printed tops. Other days I want to be mysterious and minimalistic so I wear black and white. I try to pick up some of the trends of the season, however I dress in a more classic, timeless style that allows me to express my own personality, while at the same time, feel comfortable throughout the day.

4. What is your favourite clothing store?
Having many favourites, it was difficult to narrow the list down to just one. However, after thinking about it, my favourite would be, hands-down, Topshop. This British based brand is very fun and quirky, sexy and minimal.  The style of the Brits has always been very intriguing to me. I own various pieces from Topshop, that I enjoy giving my own twist to when styling on myself.

Jeesun Lee copy

Rainy Night
The mystique fog, the rain drops, the silver moonlight and the swirling dark clouds all weave together creating a textile of this melancholy and sentimental, yet fascinating texture

Jeesun Lee

1. What was the first article of clothing you ever designed?
The first article of clothing I ever designed was a grey knit top with quilted patches. When I think about it now, it was not beautiful or well-made, but it sure was creative. It was my first-ever designed and hand-sewn garment which opened the door to a whole new world for me.

2. What are some of your favourite fashion websites, magazines, or books?
I read Elle, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Vivi, and articles from their SNS pages and websites. These are the basic resources that I often enjoy for inspiration-hunting, but studying costumes in movies is another powerful route to produce creative ideas as well.

3. How would you define your city’s fashion?
Toronto is a very busy, fashionable and multi-cultural city. It is often called the second New York City, the residents of which lead a lifestyle that often revolves around busy work schedule, exercising at the gym, and fun parties. The city’s fashion, thus, represents such lifestyle with trendy, sophisticated and functional qualities.

4. Fashion don’t(s)?
The absolute don’t in fashion is to stop. Fashion evolves, circulates, and improves over time. Fashion can be found everywhere, and it can be made with anything. Fashion designers are the innovators who try various new ideas, materials, and designs in creative, innovative ways.

Hamish Thwaites copy

The working class of the industrial revolution is expressed through deconstructive raw seams and a collapsed shoulder as well as hints of embellishments (sequins and glitter) against masculine fabrics.

Hamish Thwaites

1. What does fashion mean to you? 
Fashion is an expression of beauty. It connects art and body in a functional and respectful manner (respecting the body, age, gender etc).

2. What are your favourite fabrics to work with and why? 
Cotton and wool. They achieve a traditional yet modern aesthetic and are wonderful to cut, construct and wear.

3. Who is your favourite artist and why? 
My mother’s art is a constant favourite. I grew up with her painting, making lampshades, decorating pysanky eggs and much more. Her collage-like approach to art is alive with lines and colours and brings so much character to a space, all qualities that designers should consider.

4. Tailored or loungy?
A combination. A somewhat loungy fit with tailoring techniques is ideal for comfort, quality and an overall flattering shape.

Next week’s Q&A’s will present George Brown College!


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