Monday is back with a new designer interview. Today we are talking to my wonderful friends, the ladies behind Canadian fashion line Avenir Designs. Avenir is a family owned and operated company – mother, Donna, and two daughters, Meghan and Micaela (designer). We are canadian made and have also ventured into plus sizes. We will be talking to Micaela more about the designing process. You will soon learn why this ladies are my new found best Canadian designers
Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your educational background? What are your general professional and non-professional interests?
My name is Micaela Cook and I am 25 years old. I am currently in the process of opening up a woman’s fashion boutique with my mother, Donna, in Almonte called Avenir Design Studio, as well as launching our first collection in Spring/Summer 2014 called ‘Cadence’ under our new label Avenir. So far it has been a whirlwind and I’m loving every minute of it. I am originally from here in Ottawa, but I moved around Canada a lot growing up due to my father being in the military. In the end, he got posted back here in Ottawa and I’m thrilled to be launching my career here.
I went to Fanshawe College, in London, Ontario where I took an advanced fashion design program, which turned out to be a stepping stone to attending the University of Huddersfield in England.
In my spare time, my interests include crafting; I love looking up different DIY’s to get interest for small projects to create, watching documentaries and doing research on different eras and cultures; I think if I never became a designer I would be in a profession that has something to do with ancient cultures. I also love hanging around with my friends or just chilling with my cat at home either watching TV or reading a book.
How would you define your city’s fashion?
I feel that Ottawa’s fashion could use a little boost. I find that since it is a government city that people tend to stick to the plain and boring. Don’t get me wrong, there are still lots of people in Ottawa who add flare and style to their wardrobe and can wear something fierce…we just need more of it! I have seen though, that over the past few years our fashion scene is growing.
When did you realize you wanted to become a fashion designer?
I first realized I wanted to become a fashion designer when I was in middle school. One day I was channel surfing on the TV and something caught my eye. The program ended up being a fashion show and I totally fell in love. As soon as the first commercial break came on, I ran upstairs to find a pencil and some paper and it just ended up spiraling out from there.
What is your favorite part about being a fashion designer?
My favourite part about being a designer is being creative. It’s fantastic to see that what was once floating around in my head, has now come alive on paper. I love designing unique garments that are one of a kind and stand out. One of my most unique garments I ever made was my finale piece for my Fanshawe College graduating collection, -a full fiber optic dress that lit up!. So far, I have yet to top it, but my new label is quite exciting and includes multi wear pieces.
What do u enjoy most about designing clothes?
I love making women feel special about themselves. It is great to see someone try on something they love and feel great wearing it.
What kind of feedback did you get on your first collection?
For my first, and so far only collection, I have received some very positive feedback. Everyone seemed to love the color blocking and bright, vibrant colors. The multi wear pieces got a lot of attention, as they are very unique, yet simple enough for any woman to wear.
Do you have a specific research process when you start a new collection?
Every time I start a new collection I always like to see what people are wearing and what catches my eye. I usually do this either while I am out and about in town or looking online at street fashion. Then, I get a vibe on what silhouettes I like for the season and pick a theme that inspires me. Many things can inspire me from an era, a culture or nature and it makes me want to research it further. Ideas then start exploding out on to paper!
You recently attended the Ottawa Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2013 what was the atmosphere? How did you feel?
This past Spring/Summer 2014 Ottawa Fashion Week was my first fashion show for my new collection and it was amazing. Everyone there was fantastic and the atmosphere was buzzing. As soon as the show started it was crazy backstage, models running every which way and me trying to get them dressed and ready to rock the runway. It was awesome and it felt like it flew by in minutes. I can’t wait to attend the next Fashion Week. I couldn’t believe that it was actually happening…., y dream come true!
Who inspires you the most in fashion? Anyone who stands out?
The people who inspire me the most in fashion are the bloggers and fashion icons. I love seeing their take on fashion and putting together wonderful and unique outfits. The people who stand out the most for me are Iris Apfel and Anna Piaggi, as well as Susie Lau from Style Bubble and Michelle from Kingdom Of Style.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I see myself hopefully traveling more and taking in the fashions of the world. I will be running Avenir Design Studio, which I hope has great success, and hopefully leading to a second boutique in Ottawa. Being able to see people walking down the street wearing my designs and sharing their love of my brand Avenir with others will be a great accomplishment!
Any closing conclusions/advice to give our readers or future designers
Stick with it and don’t give up! It can be tough and grueling work to get in the fashion industry, but as long as you have patience, a creative imagination and the tenacity to push yourself, you will succeed. Also, be prepared to hear a lot of criticism, good and bad, and really listen to it to be able to grow as a designer. In the end, seeing your designs come to life is worth it.
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