Clothing line designed, manage, and marketed solely by Ryerson students
By Kate Kyle
Twenty-four fashion, business and retail marketing students are creating the first-ever clothing line designed, managed and marketed solely by Ryerson students.
The clothing line, which is currently unnamed, will deliver clothing that is comfortable, trendy and affordable for students.
The project began as a means for fashion students to socialize with other student unions at Ryerson, says Julia Che, a first-year fashion student.
“We originally wanted to do a semi-formal but then we started brainstorming ideas for a fashion show and then a line of clothing,” says Che, who is the president and founder of the fashion students’ union.
Meeting at a pub night at Mick E. Finn’s, executives from the fashion union and the business union decided to go ahead with the clothing line.
The spring/ summer line will be available to Ryerson students first.
However, members of the project say it has a separate identity from Ryerson — it isn’t Ryerson merchandise either. The line will have its own distinct logo designed by the marketing students.
“It’s designed by Ryerson students but we want to be able to sell it later on to other companies,” says Che. The project is still in its market research phase.
How Ryerson students respond to the line will determine what designs will reach Toronto’s fashion market. Che says that their long term goal is to see the line sold by independent boutiques on Queen Street.
The clothing line will be more stylish and trendy than the Ryerson-branded hoodies and t-shirts available at the Ryerson bookstore, says Che. For now, their main objective is to make the line available to Ryerson students and to break even on the production costs.
The style of clothing they are aiming for is similar to the clothing line Modrobes, a comfortable, sporty line of clothing says Darren Wong, a first-year fashion student. He is one of the four designers for the project.
“We’re taking it a step beyond Modrobes,” says Wong. The preliminary sketches include techie, long-sleeved shirts with mesh-like pit-vents, cotton baseball shirts, hooded vests with kangaroo pockets and baggy pants with extra knee room.
The initial line will consist of four basic items. They will produce 15 long-sleeve baseball shirts for the men, 30 pairs of unisex pants, seven to nine three-quarter-length sleeved baseball shirts and tank-tops for the women. Skirts will be added in the future.
For now, the colours will be Ryerson’s good old yellow and blue — navy blue for the men’s wear and baby blue for the women’s, in a cotton or cotton-polyester blend.
“Once we know exactly what sizes and colours sell, we can then consider expanding the line outside of Ryerson,” says Che. She is confident that the line will one day be a competitor in Toronto’s fashion industry.
Although the students have a business plan for their long term goals they are still looking for financial support and investors to get their ideas off the page and onto the assembly line. Che says the group is looking down all avenues for financial support, including RyeSAC, the fashion alumni, and P-facs, a program which funds student projects. They are also looking for a contractor to manufacture the clothing.
Delphine Nicholls, a first-year fashion student and treasurer of the fashion students’ union, says that they are encouraged by their professors to get experience outside the classroom. Until now there were no hands-on, extra curricular projects offered by the fashion program. “I think it’s about time we take [our skills] out of the classroom and apply our knowledge elsewhere,” says Nicholls. The students are planning to launch the final product in the spring at an outdoor fashion show on campus.