By Adriana Parente
Ekaterina Kuzheleva, a third-year Ryerson fashion design student, created a leather jacket that won first place in the Danier Design Challenge.
The annual design challenge is a partnership between Ryerson University and Danier which helps promote young designers and is a requirement for fashion design students in their third year.
“The school allows me to become deeply involved in the industry by introducing me to amazing opportunities,” said Kuzheleva. “It was an absolute certainty for me that I wanted to test my skills and enter this challenge.”
Kuzheleva said she had no experience working with leather before participating in the challenge.
“Leather is completely different than fabric and there is no room to make mistakes when working with it,” said Kuzheleva.
Despite all the difficulties in sewing, she focused on the overall silhouette, fit and details. In the end, she said the results were rewarding.
Kuzheleva used traditional fabric manipulation techniques like smoking and trapunto when creating the jacket.
“It was important that my design would have a certain degree of attention and craftsmanship, so that the customer could feel the warmth of this handwork and foster a close connection with the garment,” said Kuzheleva.
When Kuzheleva was designing the leather jacket, she tried her best to steer away from fast fashion trends.
“My goal was to challenge traditional perception of what we commonly associate with a leather jacket, but stay within the borders of marketability,” said Kuzheleva.
Kuzheleva’s designs were also one of the finalists in the Telio and North American Fur Auction (NAFA) student design competitions, the winner of the Lindt Excellence Award for evening wear design in second-year and she is currently in the midst of designing a menswear collection that was accepted as a top five finalist for Emerging Menswear Designer Award and showcased on the runway for Toronto Men’s Fashion Week.
In the meantime, Kuzheleva said she is working on another fur design that has been selected by NAFA and she plans to return to her menswear line in the summer.