I have only sewn on an industrial sewing machine once. My chance came during a product design internship. There were a few other interns in the program, but only two sewing machines: one unremarkable consumer grade machine and an industrial Juki. The others were unwilling to use the Juki; after mashing the pedal down once they would recoil in fear and resign themselves back to the mellow cadence the consumer machine. Needless to say the Juki was mine for an entire summer.
I have always been sewing despite pushing it aside for my high school and university years. I moved onto other endeavors; I was told visual art was more artistic and less shallow, and much to my dismay, I listened to such advice. However, I keep coming back to the problem solving that fashion provides. Getting lost in this process during the small hours is its own reward, but has left me hungry for something more substantial. I balance a full time job with my passion, and it is unjust to scrape together the leftover hours of the day for the work that is legitimately important to me.
I crave an environment to experiment, to receive constructive feedback from professionals, and to feel like my passion is not a singular flame, but part of a great bonfire. I do not subscribe to the notion that I need to identify with the binary gender system society has created. I’ve known for a long time that I am not gender normative and feel much more comfortable with the label person. In the context of traditional fashion it’s hard to find a place for myself. Menswear and Womenswear are defining pillars of the establishment, but when I look at street fashion I see a diverse array of people as opposed to a man or woman. I’m compelled to create work that people can wear; I strive to alleviate the tension created by society.
When looking through the bios of Ryerson’s Fashion professors, I see words like “inclusivity,” “gender studies,” and “androgyny” and honestly I feel that I am looking in the right place. With the guidance and wisdom of people that understand my position, I know that I can create meaningful daily wear that is free of the harmful labels so many people struggle with. My undergraduate degree in illustration had me visualizing, generating concepts, producing, and executing finalized illustrations. I’ve learned to communicate and clarify complex ideas and narratives to reach a wide audience through the use of visual media. While I still sketch both traditionally and digitally, the sewing machine has become my tool, fabric my medium, and garment my vehicle to share thoughts and feelings with others.
And though illustration will always be a part of me and has helped me grow and become a better designer, my past and present inclinations towards fashion design prove to me that I could fully utilize a higher level of instruction. I am hopeful that you will feel the same, and I thank you for your consideration.