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Arts in Review

Local talent: UFV’s design program and fashion show

Absolute Style is the year-end fashion show that design students put together, and is taking place this year on April 25.

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By Leanna Pankratz (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: February 29, 2012

New York, London and Milan’s fashion weeks have drawn to a close, and the Paris shows have just begun. For other fashion lovers like myself, I am sure it’s easy to feel a bit distanced from all the fashion genius that is occurring miles and miles away while we are inevitably stuck among textbooks and multi-thousand-word essays.

While the constant perusal of couture looks can become redundant, and the size of fashion houses can be distancing, local and new talent is constantly changing, developing and is very, very accessible. Perhaps the most exciting sort of design for its freshness and innovation, local talent is in full bloom around our campus in the form of UFV’s own Fashion Design Program. I had the opportunity to sit down with Deanna Devitt, UFV’s fashion department head since 2003, to talk about the program and their annual fashion show.

“We offer a unique, two-year program at UFV that includes a variety of core courses in design, pattern drafting, construction, textiles, history of fashion and computer-aided design,” she said. “We offer a diverse curriculum that allows students to select from the options of applied study in different avenues within the fashion industry, ranging from marketing, technology and a hands-on approach through textiles.”

“We offer a practicum where students have one week to work at a fashion industry job of their choice,” she continued, “which includes such areas as design, retail and merchandising.”

Students who have graduated from UFV’s Fashion Design program have gone on to thriving careers in various aspects of the style industry, including starting their own businesses, getting involved in the business aspects through fashion merchandising and in the cases of two students, having their designs featured on the pages of Elle Canada, and interning with fashion label Diane von Furstenberg. There is a huge market out there for new talent, and UFV is proving itself to be a prime breeding ground of such.

Absolute Style is the year-end fashion show that design students put together, and is taking place this year on April 25. “Students in [the] Fashion Design diploma program work hard all year on the show. Absolute Style is unique to our program as it highlights a diverse assortment of pieces,” said Devitt. “Pieces range from ready-to-wear to art-to-wear – a segment that includes one-of-a-kind garments created in the textile option of the program. These garments are a medley of fabrics that are created, transformed and embellished through techniques such as shibori pleating and devore burnouts. The show also includes designs for specialty markets such as swimwear, coats, evening wear and lingerie.” Absolute Style also features collections created by the program’s grad students – fashion lines they have been working on since January: researching, planning and eventually producing.

In the past shows I have attended and once participated in as a model, the number one comment I heard from friends, family and other attendees was on the show’s amazing quality. Absolute Style is not typical to most university fashion shows. This is a professional, full-scale catwalk event that utilizes sound and lighting technicians from other professional-level fashion events in Vancouver. It also incorporates the talents of photographers and makeup artists, and is sponsored by names such as Shaw Media, The Abbotsford News and our very own Student Union Society. “This is one of the most exciting events of the year at our school, and our Fashion Design students have been working hard to put together a high quality, innovative, and enjoyable style experience to showcase their creations,” Devitt explained. Absolute Style is a unique opportunity to view the coming-together of a Fashion student’s creative vision. It is sure to be a striking and remarkable experience.

Tickets for the Absolute Style event are $10 for the 2:30 p.m. matinee show and $18 for the 7:00 p.m. show. UFV’s Alumni Association will host a wine and cheese reception at the evening event. Book tickets early if you wish to attend, as the shows sell out quickly. This is a UFV fashion event that is not to be missed. For more information or to book tickets, please call 604-557-4073.

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