It’s not for nothing that University of Alberta alum Zachary Ward won the special technical mention at Télio’s Canada’s Breakthrough Designers 2015 competition, his design was a vision of originality and complex construction. Our judges were simply blown away.
We caught up with Zachary last week to find out what he’s up to. We’re sure it’s not the last time you’ll head the name Zachary Ward.
Read our exclusive interview below.
What’s one thing you learned about yourself through your participation in the Télio Canada’s Breakthrough Designers competition?
I learned a lot about my capabilities and myself as a designer. What sticks out in my mind the most is how surprised I was with myself on the level of skill I have achieved since starting to study fashion. My artistic and technical capabilities are so much more advanced than I had originally judged them to be.
I think that almost every artist critiques themselves more harshly than anyone else would and sometimes unjustly so. What I learned is that I do possess some level of talent and it confirms my efforts in studying in this field.
Tell us the story behind your favourite garment you’ve made.
My favourite garment that I have ever made is a tough question to answer. Being very critical of myself and my creations, I don’t think I could say that I have a favourite. All my designs stand out to me for different reasons; they were all a part of a different thought and design process, and so therefore are fundamentally different – I cannot compare them. However I can say that I am proud of particular aspects of each of my designs, such as the appliqué I applied to one garment or the way that a particular dyeing technique turned out. Just like every garment ever made, all of my garments have a story and an inspiration.
However, my favourite story would have to be of one of the first dresses I ever made. I made it for my sister and all of my inspiration came from her and the things that made me think of her. In the end, I was very proud of what I made and my sister was proud to be seen in it. It was a very meaningful triumph for me at the time.
If you could only work with one fabric for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
It’s tough for me to pick only one fabric to work with for the rest of my life. I think that if I had to pick, I would choose silk because I have always been mesmerized by its look and feel. It is so luxurious and makes such delicate designs, yet silk fibres are amongst the strongest of natural fibres. Silk has always fascinated me and been one of my favourite fabrics to work with. So if you asked me what one fabric would I use for the rest of my life, I would reluctantly answer: silk.
What are your plans for the coming year? Anything we should look out for?
I am currently planning on applying to some fashion design schools to further develop my knowledge of the fashion industry and my technical skills.
What piece of advice would you give any future participant in the Télio Canada’s Breakthrough Designers competition?
The best advice that I could give to future participants would be for them to expect this competition to be a lot of work. It requires a great deal of skill in fashion illustration, design, and construction as well as a huge time commitment. I would say that if you wanted to participate in this competition you must be willing to make that commitment. I would also inform them that in the end, no matter what the outcome, it is worth the pain because you develop your skills, you get some constructive feedback and learn a lot about yourself along the way.
If you could collaborate with one major commercial brand/fashion house, which would you choose and why?
I love so many of the fashion brands that are currently out there and of course would love to collaborate with any one of them. If I could pick just one though, I would choose Elie Saab because I love how chic and glamorous his designs are. I love the attention to detail and fabrics that he uses and find his silhouettes to be very appealing. He is a master of couture and I feel that collaborating with him would teach me so much about style and about making and selling haute couture.
Which celebrity would you consider your fashion/style muse/inspiration and why? What kind of garments would you like to see her/him in?
This question is really tough; it’s something that I have never really thought of before. I think that I am very inspired by people with big personalities or distinct senses of fashion like Carmen Miranda, Diana Vreeland, Clint Eastwood, Ivete Sangalo, RuPaul, Twiggy, Madonna and many others.
I can easily say that I am very inspired by many people and things in my design work, but I could not tell you which garments I would want to see them wearing. Obviously when you admire someone you would feel incredibly honoured to see that person wearing any of your own designs. However, beyond that I do not really aspire to change the look of my style inspirations. If I did that, they probably would not inspire me anymore.