Where did you grow up?
Annabel was born in Toronto and grew up in Waterloo, Ontario. She currently lives in Toronto in her own apartment which she has all set up as a working studio. She described her family as very supportive and looks forward to them coming to see the show on April 1.
How did you become interested in fashion?
She said she loved to dress up as a kid and in grade 10 she took a sewing course with an amazing teacher and she just loved it…she is the only one in her family who sews but she gets her creativity from her mom. She also loved her art courses in high school. She loves photography as well which was an important aspect of her collection. She was thinking of studying science as a back up first but still applied directly to the fashion design program at Ryerson. The admission portfolio required the submission of 4 fashion illustrations and three completed garments. When she got accepted she decided to “take the leap” directly into fashion.
What has been your biggest challenge in the program?
She hesitated somewhat before answering and then said it has really been having the confidence in herself and her work and feeling that it is good enough. When I asked her how she copes with lack of confidence she said that lots of support from family and friends is the key.
Tell me about your collection.
Annabel’s collection, called “Pay Homage”, is based on the idea of Jane Eyre at Sable Island. Sable Island is an island off the coast of Nova Scotia that is best known for the wild horses that run free there. Annabel had the opportunity to go to Sable Island with a friend and took some spectacular photographs that played a big role in her collection. They landed on the beach and spent two days there watching the horses and seals. Some of her photographs formed the basis of prints included in the collection. All the pictures in this blog are from Annabel’s website.
When she was at Sable Island in September 2013 she imagined the character Jane Eyre in that place and she started getting ideas for her collection. She sketched over this past summer and finalized all her plans in August just before the semester started. She bought most of her fabrics at the Fabric Room at Lida Biday in Toronto which sells imported fabrics by appointment only.
The presentation of the collection follows the transformation of her Jane character as she arrives on Sable Island and tries to break free from the conventions of Victorian culture and society. She is influenced by the freedom and wildness of the island and becomes more free herself. As the collection progresses the looks get looser, the models’ hair will get looser and the colours get lighter.
What was the most challenging part of creating your collection?
She showed me a jacket that she said was the most difficult item to construct as it had some details that she had never done before. One of her skirts has a photo along the bottom as a border print. Getting the straight photo properly aligned on the curved hem of the skirt was also a challenge.
What advice would you give a new fashion student?
She said that it is very expensive and most new students don’t understand the costs of all the materials required to do all of the assignments…especially the 4th year collection. She would also tell them it is a lot more work than most people would imagine and to expect a lot of late nights.
Who is your favourite designer?
She said Erdem is her favourite designer. In particular due to her interest in textile design she is especially inspired by his prints. Erdem is a graduate of the Ryerson School of Fashion who went on to do a Masters degree at the Royal College of Art in London and has found incredible success working there after graduation.
What comes next for you?
Like Stephanie who I profiled on the blog earlier, Annabel also already has a job lined up with Abercrombie and Fitch in Columbus, Ohio doing technical design which includes pattern making and fittings. She did a previous internship with textile designer Virginia Johnson which she really enjoyed. She is happy to have a job right after graduation but is not sure of her ultimate plan…she is also interested in textile design and in period costume design for films. Maybe graduate school at some point. She has lots of time to figure this out and I suspect that she will have many options given her talent and creativity.
She is also thinking of creating an “etsy” shop to sell some of the tops and scarves with the black and white horse photo…I hope she does because I would totally buy one.