Canada’s Breakthrough Designers’ Jury Q&A: Izzy Camilleri

In the next few weeks before the Canada’s Breakthrough Designers 2015 finale, we will be presenting Q&A’s from our talented jury panel, who will soon be determining the scholarship winners for our anniversary edition. Today we present Izzy Camilleri, fashion designer of the brands Izzy Camilleri and IZ Adaptive!


Izzy Camilleri


Black or color? Black

How old were you when you learned to sew? My Mom taught me how to sew when I was ten.  At first I sewed for my dolls, then for myself, and then for my friends, making them grad dresses in high school.  I did the costumes of our High School play, Hello Dolly, in grade twelve.  After that, I went to Fashion School to continue my learning.  Everyday is an opportunity to learn more.  I hardly ever sew anymore however, as I have sewers that work for me, but without knowing how to sew myself, I could not design and do what I do.

First thing you do in the morning? First thing I do when I get up is go for a long brisk walk usually around 6:00 a.m.  It’s a great way to start the day, clear my thoughts and think about the day ahead.he morning?

What fuels your creativity? Anything could fuel my creativity.  Right now, my seated clients inspire me the most to create clothing that works for them in both design and function.

How did you decide to start designing for people in wheelchairs? I met a woman named Barb Turnbull about 10 years ago, who is quadriplegic from a shooting that she was involved in when she was a teenager.  She is paralyzed from the neck down, unable to move her body.  She was recommended to me by the Fashion Editor of the Toronto Star newspaper where she worked.  It was the first time I worked with someone in a wheelchair or with her level of disability.  It was quite a unique and humbling experience.  I continued to make clothes for her, learning what her challenges were surrounding clothes.  The rest is history.

In one word, how would you describe yourself? Open

What’s a typical day for you? 3km walk every morning.  Get kids and myself ready for the day, then off to work.  After that, there is no typical day for me.  I often think we need roller skates at our studio as we are always dashing around.  Most of the day is delegating, meeting people or clients and managing the studio.  Continuously designing and working on pieces for our website.  My work day never ends at a specific time; it just depends on what needs to be done.  Then dash home, make dinner, clean up, possibly do some work that I brought home, and at some point put my feet up and relax before bed.

What is your main motivation when doing what you do? My main motivation is providing my clients options that have not been available to them until now.

Thanks, Izzy!



Posted in