Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Interviews With Fashion Arts Program at VCC: Students And A Grad!

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Going to Vancouver Fashion Weeks and ECO Fashion Weeks for several years now, I want to write up the shows differently, this season, and would like to see if I can find an illustrator to come to an event with me, so I can observe the process and include that with the write ups I will do. Sarah Murray, Fashion Arts Program Coordinator, always keeps me posted about VCC's latest Fashion Programs and accomplishments, invites me to interview before Vancouver Fashion Week and sends me the information on the annual fundraiser. This year, FLOURISH, VCC's annual fundraiser will be on March 9 and will feature one design/outfit from each of the Fashion Arts Students.

First, I met Elham Safaei who had her own showroom and pattern business, before coming to Vancouver to VCC Fashion Arts Program. An award winner (Student Association Sewing and Design), she will be on the runway at VFW this Fall. She will also be the only Vancouver Student Designer showing at a World Wide Design Competition in San Francisco. Her love is Haute Couture featuring traditional embroidery and 3D Design. The fabric swatch on her portfolio cover is a Mango Motif. Currently, she also works at an award winning Bridal Gallery in New West. Her design for Flourish is hand sewn and is definitely an example of elegant design and construction. News Flash, News Flash, Elham won the Designer Competition for VCC's Fundraiser, FLOURISH!!!

Elham Safa


Nico Gruzling has a Masters In Computer Science from UNBC and has managed a Marine Engineering Company for five years. Her skills certainly come in handy for pattern drafting. She is in her first year of this two year program. She has a young family and makes all of their clothes. Her sketches and collages show a playful, colorful approach to design. She finds her new career path more creative.

Nico Gruzling





Serine Zhang is an alumni of the Fashion Arts Program and is using the sewing skills she learned here, in her daily work as well as in her custom made couture designs for private clients. She is also a grad of the Textile Program, previously at Capilano University and wishes she had time to weave her own fabrics. She really appreciates the teachers at VCC, especially Lisa, for her ongoing support and straight forward, efficient teaching methods. Serine loves minimalist design but says that even the most elegant outfit won't look good unless the fit is perfect. Couture pop and fit are what counts, she says. She has always loved to draw and paint and looks forward to making her own fabric for the ultimate Chanel jacket. Italian and French designers are her favorites, but she really loves all good design.

Serine Zhang






Francesca Ramirez studied Textiles during her high school years and went directly from that into the Fashion Arts Program at VCC. She is already working for a fashion design company, in production and eventually plans to have her own business. Greatly influenced by the social scene, she likes the over sized trend and is focused on a unisex, ready to wear line. She has already shown her previous line and looks forward to Vancouver Fashion Week and other opportunities to share her work and learn, not only from her classmates but also from so many other local and visiting designers, world wide who grace the runway, here.

Francesca Ramirez


Nia Basilan chose VCC for many reasons: great reviews, specialized teachers, hands on experience, diversity of students, and location, right in downtown Vancouver. She blogged about her journey at seamlessbeginnings.tumblr.com.

She is inspired by the structure of architecture and the fluidity of graffiti. Her menswear collection is what she calls, "athleisure" and is a casual, comfortable, very wearable look. She is excited to do more illustration, saying that a closer look will help her to really see the design details as well as showing how the pieces move and work.

Nia Basilan


As always, VCC students say they learn so much in a two year program. Some even begin at the very beginning by learning to sew, first. Their portfolios and shows are excellent. I thank all of you for taking the time to interview and very best of luck with the FLOURISH competition, Fashion Week and all that awaits. Sure look forward to seeing the illustration process, soon.

Special thanks to Elou Abaga, Program Assistant at VCC, for coordinating space and props for these interviews!

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