Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from? My name is Micaela Cook and I live in Ottawa Ontario. I studied Fashion Design at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario Canada and then went on to study at the University of Huddersfield in England.
Now before we get into this interview... please tell us about this design in this incredible shoot. The dress is part of my five piece graduating collection from Fanshawe College. It was inspired by a future where technology has become the major influence in the world. I wanted to create a fusion between a light and dark color palette by the integration of light, technology and fashion. What does fashion mean to you? Fashion is all about expressing yourself and telling a story to the world through the use of clothing and accessories. It is a way of introducing yourself and showing your identity without having to say a word. When did you realize you wanted to become a fashion designer? I realized I wanted to become a fashion designer probably around the age of 13. I remember I was channel surfing on TV and happened to come across a runway show. When I saw that first model walk down that runway I knew fashion design was what I wanted to do for a living.
What was the first article of clothing you ever designed? The first article of clothing I designed was a brightly colored pair of fish print shorts I had created in a sewing course when I was around 10 years old. I still have the picture and it cracks me up every time I see it.
How is it designing clothes? Designing clothes can be challenging. It can be hard to judge what people would want to wear and buy for the upcoming seasons, but it is incredibly rewarding seeing the finished garment and a customer radiating with happiness while wearing it. How long does it usually take you to construct a piece? It depends on what I am creating. The fiber optic piece I designed took quite a number of hours because you had to plan for all of the electronic components as well as the placement of the wires. These days I have been working on my ready-to-wear clothing line, AVENIR Designs, which does not take me nearly as long to construct due to the pieces not being as complicated. Describe the general process you go through to design and realize a piece of clothing. The first steps in designing a new garment would be to decide on the season as well as the general feel I am going for. Do I want to design something casual and comfy to wear or a garment that you would wear on a night out? I then start sketching out all the ideas that are floating around in my head, which are usually just parts and pieces of designs. I then go back and start filling out the rest of the garments, sometimes merging ideas together to get a finished garment. From there, I start editing the garments until I am satisfied with the final outcome. Once I have all my finished designs for a collection, I then head to my fabric supplier to pick the perfect material to go with the designs and then start pattern drafting. What are some of your accomplishments as a designer? My biggest accomplishment as a designer is creating my own clothing line, AVENIR Designs with my mother as well as showcasing during Ottawa Fashion Week with our first collection. Who are some of your favorite designers? It is so hard to pick a favorite designer as there are so many talented ones, and new ones emerging all the time. I would have to say my all-time favorite designer since I was a child is Alexander McQueen. He had such a unique vision and his runway shows were spectacular. Some other designers that I follow are Gareth Pugh, Iris van Herpen, and Kye just to name a few.
Where can readers buy your clothes? Readers can buy my ready-to-wear line at avenirdesigns.com or if you are in the Ottawa, Canada area you can always pop into our boutique, AVENIR Design Studio located in Almonte Ontario, just outside of Ottawa where we sell only Canadian and locally made clothing and accessories. How long have you worked as a designer? I have worked as a designer for the past five years since graduating from Huddersfield University. What are some of your favorite clothing stores/catalogs/websites? I do not have any set favourite clothing stores or websites, but I do like to check out the websites or stores of new designers I find while surfing the internet or Instagram. Where do you buy your fabrics and other sewing materials? I buy all of my fabrics from Telios, who are a wholesale textile distribution company in Canada. What do you believe makes a quality article of clothing? I believe a quality article of clothing has to be well made to fit the individual wearing it, made with quality fabrics, and will last for multiple seasons. Do you consider yourself an artist? Honestly, I do not really consider myself an artist. If I was designing and creating my own prints then I would, but I just consider myself a creative person. I would like to branch out more into other creative avenues; maybe then I would consider myself more of an artist.
What matters to you most as a fashion designer? What matters to me most as a fashion designer is making the customer happy and feeling confident. Nothing is more satisfying when a customer comes back to tell you about all the compliments they get wearing your garments and how great they feel wearing it.
What's your favorite part about conceptualizing a design? My favorite part about conceptualizing a design is the finished product. It is such a satisfying feeling when you finish a garment and it turns out exactly how you pictured it.