By Hillary MacDonald
On Thursday, Nov. 16, Ryerson students exhibited their designs at the largest student-run fashion show in North America, this year named THE GRID: Magic Squares.
As the name might give away, the theme of this year’s show was magic squares — an ancient puzzle similar to Sudokus, in which players have to place numbers in a grid so that their sum is the same in all directions. As if combining math with fashion wasn’t already hard enough, designers were only given three hours to design and sew together a dress.
So how did the dresses stay true to the theme? The patterns on the garments were designed by elementary students across the city who were asked to make their own interpretation of a magic square in a drawing. High school students then took those drawings and printed them on fabric, which was later given to second-year Ryerson fashion students to make their dresses.
The Eyeopener spoke with Emaan El-Houni and Carly Hobson, two of the designers whose dresses were selected for the show, about their experience.
Eye: What was your inspiration for the designs?
Emaan: “What we did is we went out and tried to find some trims and pieces that kind of gave us inspiration that would follow the squares. So we have studs, ribbons… and from there we kind of worked with that. We had the black and red theme. It wasn’t so much an inspiration; instead it was kind of feeling the fabric and working with the cutaway method. So we cut sort of at random and it came together quite nicely I thought.”
Eye: How were you selected to have your designs in the show?
Carly: “I found out that our dresses were actually in the show when I went to help out with fittings. The dresses were…in rough shape when I went to go see them. We didn’t have any selection in picking them really, it was just by chance.”
Eye: What was the biggest challenge you had in putting together this production?
Carly: “Time limit.”
Emaan: “We had a very tight time limit. I think three hours to do the entire dress and we were only given the fabric a couple days before to see it. Everyone was in the same room, it was all being filmed, and it was very strenuous. And because of the cutaway method it’s very hard to plan it so getting the fit was hard because it was rather tight in some areas because you don’t know how it’s going to fit in the end.”
Eye: How did you feel when you saw your designs modeled at the show tonight?
Carly: “It felt pretty cool. It was very odd I thought when they emailed us about the VIP – I didn’t think we were going to have reserved seating even though it did say that. I thought everyone was going to have that. You walk in and they knew who you were, which was pretty cool. Seeing the designs walk down out first was also pretty cool.”
Emaan: “She had seen the designs recently but I hadn’t seen the designs in about a year or two so it was nice to see it again and get a refresher. And to see it on a person too. It was a nice change.”
Eye: Were there any funny moments in this experience?
Emaan: “When we were being filmed and the camera came up close to you. It was so hard to act natural and not look into the camera.”
Eye: In 10 years from now, what would you like to be doing?
Carly: “I want to either go into bridal or costume design. In my final collection [for my program] I’m thinking of doing ballet or dance apparel. Lots of beading and embroidery. I always liked theatres and plays but I am also interning right now at Twobirds Bridesmaids and I have also interned at redesigning bridal dresses, so I’ve seen both sides of the industry that I want to do.”
Emaan: “I want to do evening wear. I’m hoping to get into more of the plus size market. Do something for women with more curves. I work right now at Pam Chrolley’s Fashion Crimes, I get to work with a lot of different sized women. I get a feel of what works and what doesn’t work. I want to expand the plus size market because I don’t think it’s up to par.”
Photos by Hillary MacDonald