I plan to post a weekly profile of a student that I meet during this project activity…so if you follow along you will meet some of our fourth year fashion students.
My first profile is of Jaclyn, a fourth year fashion communication student. Jaclyn agreed to be first and I am so grateful. I actually met her before school started when I was speaking to our Residence Life Staff as part of their training. When I found out we had a fourth year fashion student in the group I knew that she would be my first target. In fact it was at this training session and with this group that I first publicly announced my plans for this project so maybe I piqued her interest early on too.
We met on Friday at Balzac’s and had a chat.
- Where did you grow up?
Jaclyn grew up in Georgetown Ontario just west of Toronto with her parents and three sisters – she is actually one of triplets. She is studying fashion, two of her sisters are in animal sciences and her third sister is a pastry chef. She mentioned that she had considered commuting from Georgetown but decided to move to the city. We are indeed lucky she made this decision because she lived in residence and stayed on as a member of the Residence Life Staff. She works as an Academic Link for fashion and in that role supports over 50 new fashion students living in residence.
- When did you know that you wanted to study fashion?
She had some interesting influences in her youth that sparked an interest in fashion including a grandmother who was a model and a great aunt who sewed and still sews at the age of 93. When she was in high school she took a fashion class and decided that this was something that she wanted to pursue further.
I also asked Jaclyn how she explains to people what she is studying when she tells them that she is in the fashion communication program at Ryerson. She said that she explains that she is learning about the business aspects of fashion – marketing, selling, PR, event production and communication all related to fashion and the promotion of fashion.
- What has been your biggest challenge in the last three years?
Jaclyn is a very involved member of the residence life staff at Ryerson and is a full time student in a program that has a heavy workload. She described a very common challenge that students face – juggling all of their responsibilities, commitments and roles – the goal is finding balance and that can be very challenging for students who want to get involved in many different ways on campus. We also talked about what she thinks is the biggest challenge for new fashion students and she said it was adjusting to the heavy workload. The design and communication students take a common first year and she said without an art background she found some of the courses requiring certain skills in this area challenging as well.
- Who inspires you?
She identified two inspirations – First her parents who have raised 4 daughters. She expressed her appreciation for how much they have done for her and her sisters and that they inspire her with how they live their lives with passion. Second – a woman that she worked for in one of her internships…this woman works in fashion PR and has been successful with her own ventures as an entrepreneur and as Jaclyn described her, “she is really true to herself”. Jaclyn realized as we were talking that she never told this woman that she thinks of her as an inspiration. I encouraged her to do just that.
- Who is your favourite designer or fashion personality?
Jaclyn said that she is partial to the classics such as vintage Dior but also talked about the amazing work happening in Canada and cited in particular Ryerson grad Lucian Matis (http://lucianmatis.com)
- What do you like most about Ryerson?
There was no hesitation here…the strong community and sense of acceptance. We talked about the diversity on campus and how it feels like you can touch various parts of the world just by being in this community.
- What advice would you give to a new fashion student at Ryerson?
First piece of advice was to get an agenda/day planner to keep track of your life and commitments and deadlines. Next don’t fret about little things. Good advice for anyone not just a first year fashion student.
- What place in the world would you most like to visit?
Jaclyn has never been to Europe and spoke specifically of wanting to go to England – in addition to fashion, the society, culture, music, etc. is of interest to her…she noted that travel is a big part of the fashion industry as it really is a truly global industry so she looks forward to travelling when she is finished school.
- Where do you hope to be 5 years from now in terms of job, lifestyle, etc.?
Finally I asked her about her future plans and I was surprised that she didn’t first answer with her career aspirations but talked about simply wanting to live a happy life and a balanced life. She expects that she will most likely look to establish herself in a role in PR in the fashion industry. We talked about the industry as being one that is fast based, and as she described it “a little intense”. I was impressed with her awareness, likely learned through her experiences at Ryerson, of the importance of balance. I wish that I had known and understood this better in my early 20’s.
Thanks again Jaclyn…a pleasure to spend some time chatting with you over a tea at Balzac’s.