Highlight of the week – Galela

0 Posted by - January 25, 2015 - Fashion, Learning, Sewing progress, Thoughts

So the highlight of my week was meeting Galela…more on that farther down…

This week there was no outfit due but all the students had to hand in the final pattern for the outfit that they had completed for the week before. The instructors talked to the class about the presentation that students have to make to representatives from the industry. Each student will present their collection to a small panel of industry experts like buyers. They must give a 10 minute presentation about their collection, inspiration, pieces in the collection, etc. Then they will leave the room while the panel looks at their completed looks more closely and they will return for questions from the panel.

I know that I am engaging in this project to better understand the student experience first hand but of course with a full time job and trying to do some of the design project and some of the communications project I can’t do much of the work required of the students. What is required of them is a little overwhelming. The design students must also hand in a Style Book that includes their design philosophy, pattern and style numbers, competitive analysis for their collection, target market analysis, technical drawings, fabric swatches, cost sheets for each garment, etc. etc. They have to prepare a package for the panelists with a summary of the collection with some of this info and wholesale price and suggested retail price for each piece. As the instructors described, all of these pieces of work could become part of a fulsome portfolio that will be useful when they start to apply for and interview for jobs in the industry.


I spent the day working in the lab on Saturday…just me and Hamish who I have indicated in previous posts is in the lab all the time. Between 8:30 am. and 2:30 pm. when I left, I only saw one other student. Also had a visit from a staff member and his partner who came to see the lab and brought me a diet coke – thanks again Brandon and Blair!

Outfit #2 is due on Thursday this week…for me outfit #2 is a menswear look including a pair of black wool gabardine pants, a charcoal grey cotton shirt with a small pinstripe and a black wool flannel waistcost or vest with stripe details made with gold, purple and charcoal grey grosgrain ribbon. I have finished the look almost completely as of today, Sunday…only bits left are to hem the pants and do the buttonholes and buttons on the shirt. I do not however have the equipment needed to make proper keyhole buttonholes on the vest. The resource list provided to all students lists locations in the city for various speciality work, services or products that they may need. I needed someone to make buttonholes. On the list for buttonholes was Gale Designs on Spadina. I called earlier in the week and made an appointment to bring the vest in at the end of the day on Friday. This is when I first met Galela.


Her shop is on the 6th floor of a very utilitarian/industrial type building in the heart of Chinatown at Spadina and Dundas. She works there alone and told me that she has been working in this space for about 6 years. She said that she used to have a shop in Kensington Market. Her space was cluttered and looked disorganized and I couldn’t stop thinking about what it must be like to come here everyday and spend the day alone in this space. Galela was so friendly and so complimentary of my work when examining my vest. She said to call her the next day at 2 pm. to see if it was ready to pick up.

I went back late Saturday afternoon and she had done a lovely job with the buttonholes. We chatted only briefly but I left feeling so happy to have met with woman. She was friendly, generous, so sweet and quick to smile and laugh. She asked me questions about my work…I told her about my project and why I was doing this and she let me take her picture for the blog. She said that her generation isn’t very good with computers but she wanted to know how she could see my blog. She gave me her e-mail address and I told her I would send her a link so that she could see what I had posted. I can’t really describe why I felt so connected to this woman but I just feel so indebted to her for her help and contribution to my project and so blessed to have met her. Maybe she reminded me to think about all the people – strangers, friends, classmates and family members – who help our students get their work done and help them be successful even in small ways – with kindness, encouragement, and hands on support. Galela, if you do read this…thank you again.

Saturday was spent beginning the work on outfit #3 which is due in a few weeks. Outfit #3 is a floor length dress with a silk charmeuse print bodice and a black skirt made of silk peau de sioe with coloured swirl appliqués made from bias stripes of silk crepe de chine. I went to the lab to make use of the large tables to pin and baste the appliqués on to the skirt and last night I started to construct the dress bodice. This is the outfit that I am expect will be the most challenging for me. Will keep everyone posted as I make progress. Another exciting class coming up Thursday when all the students will have the second outfits in their collections completed for review. Can’t wait to see them!