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Family Influence Meets Future Impact
Beauty equals power – especially when it's a subtle approach
to sustainable consumption like Winnipeg native
Bronwyn Seier's beautiful and ethereal collection.
We have seen the future, and if it's shaped by
Simons Fashion Design Student CAFA winner and London College of Fashion M.A. candidate
Bronwyn Seier, it will be sustainable, conscientious and beautifully cut.
Bronwyn, how did your love affair with fashion begin?
My love affair with fashion is slightly secondary to my love of making things. I was lucky to have my Oma teach me to sew from childhood. I'm also quite math-y when it comes to the ability to engineer structures, so I started making my own patterns from a place of zero knowledge, but lots of experimentation. I love making things, not only because it's my ultimate creative outlet, but also because it's given me a better appreciation for any crafted thing.
Who influenced you then, and who influences you now?
My first influencer, teacher, and mentor was my Oma. My mom is also an influence, and my favourite person to style. Beyond my immediate people, I'm influenced by designers like Molly Goddard, Kym Ellery, and Faustine Steinmetz. I'm also really inspired by artsy activists right now, like Lucy Orta and Ai Weiwei.
How would you describe your personal style?
I dress really simple. I'm a big fan of slow fashion,
and investing in things. The clothing I wear the most is stuff
I've made for myself over the years, but it's not as flashy
as what I'd put in my collections.
Tell us about your collection - what inspired your design direction?
My collection came from the idea that if people know how their clothing is made, they'll value it more. It's a subtle approach to sustainable consumption. And, I wanted to present this idea in a really beautiful way. I made sure my fabrics were fair trade or dead stock, and the embroidery thread is from a vintage sewing box. It's meant to depict, through embroidered words and imagery,
the beauty of craftsmanship and the labour of production.
Who do you design for?
I design for a polished version of myself. I want the women who wear my clothing to disregard trends and seek uniqueness and beauty in their clothing. I want to dress women who are unconventional, yet confident.
Fashion has changed with social media and the internet -
where do you think retail will head?
I'm not very zeitgeist-y so I don't think my predictions are solid. BUT, if I'm being optimistic, I'd say the future of retail is in the sharing economy. Clothing libraries and transparency are the business ideas I'm most interested in right now.
What is your favourite social platform and who is your favourite follow?
Instagram is my main social platform. I use it to keep up with friends and family since I live far from home. But it's also wonderful for fashion and creative inspiration. It's hard to pick a single favourite. I've recently discovered @zerowastememes, which I'm obsessed with, and I also love @popmyeyes and @petrafcollins.
What does being a Canadian designer mean to you?
Having lived outside of Canada, briefly in Melbourne, and now London, I’m keenly aware that being Canadian is a massive part of my identity. Although I currently live and create outside of the country, my frame of reference has been shaped by Winnipeg and Toronto. Beyond geography, I think there is a friendly, resilient nature that is innately Canadian, which I try and hold on to.
Imagine it's 5 years down the road...
where are you and what are you doing?
Geographically where I’ll be in 5 years is anyone’s guess. In terms of what I’m doing, I hope to shape some sort of unconventional career that combines fashion design with my other passions and professions of making art, writing, and graphic design. I will always work in the areas of environmental and ethical responsibility in fashion, as this is really core to what gives me motivation.
What do you think the role of a designer is with the rise of personal stylists?
Stylists have skills I don’t. When I put my graduate collection into the Ryerson show, the jewelry, shoes, hair and makeup execution were among the biggest stressors. The relationship between stylists and designers is very similar to that of interior designers and furniture designers: one is the creative force behind individual pieces, the other has to brilliantly tie it all together.
Proudest moment so far?
Getting into my MA Fashion Futures course at the London College of Fashion was a big moment. It was a pretty gruelling interview and the offer was unexpected. Another time, a role model of mine, eco-fashion warrior Safia Minney commissioned a garment from me. Both of these felt like big-picture moments. But having moved around the world a bit, other big moments come in the form of finding a place to live in a foreign city or giving a tourist the proper directions for the first time.
What can't you live without?
Coffee, Brussel sprouts, black high-waisted denim,
Adobe Illustrator, hummus, and my sister.
What does this award mean to you?
I’m beyond honoured. It's really exciting to have been recognized by the industry in Canada.
And as the collection was based around the impact of fashion, it feels like the Canadian fashion industry is saying yes to sustainability.
Since I've returned to uni for MA study, my thesis has been quite speculative and theoretical,
so I'm really looking forward to working with Simons to jump back into the realm of fashion design
and learn from the industry.