Flip through Krystal Frizzell's portfolio and you'll find a distinct musical influence. Music notes and lyrics are set as backdrops to patterns, sketched models are posed like band members accessorized with instruments and her collection even has its own soundtrack. There is also a lot of strawberries, which Frizzell admits is an obsession. This 22-year-old, Blanche MacDonald design graduate believes that great fabric and the right playlist are essentials for design inspiration.
Branding herself after her favourite song, "Sik baby," Frizzell attributes music to having led her to pursue a career in fashion. From an original interest in anime as a teen, Frizzell began to follow Japanese bands and street fashion, leading to several trips to Japan to see her favourite bands perform." Here she became interested in cosplaying, short for costume play, a popular hobby in Japan of dressing up as one's favourite characters from anime, comics, video games, or bands. Dreams of opening her own store to sell the types of clothing she was seeing in Japan encouraged her to study Japanese and Business at the University of the Fraser Valley. However, one day she saw Alexander McQueen on TV and it became very clear that what she really wanted to do was design the clothes not just sell them. "I wanted to move into Vancouver and Blanche MacDonald's program was split between Fashion Merchandising and Fashion Design so I could really focus on what I truly wanted to do." Frizzell put her plans into practice and started designing costumes for local band members.
If Frizzell is outgoing in her own style with her bright pink hair, thigh highs and countless piercings, it's because she views clothing as a true reflection of how you live your life. "I think it's easier for people to express themselves through their clothes," she says. Her grad project is a mix of ballgowns and separates that combine her punk, alternative personal taste with the elaborate styles of the Victorian era, a period that Frizzell admires for the enchanting, dressed up styles. Frizzell was inspired by the Sedlec Ossuary bone church in the Czech Republic, seeing it as a unique element to incorporate into her designs. Looking through the pieces, she shows me the bone details and tells me that she even found a contact to make a few bone jewellery pieces to complete the look. A tailcoat with bishop sleeves, a ribbon corset and a short tiered cape are some of the looks from the project which was the finale to the November 2010 grad show.
Frizzell graduated as a straight-A student with a greater appreciation for fashion. "The classes I have taken have really opened up my eyes to a wide range of fashion, especially couture." She is appreciative of how schooling has brought her more in touch with what is going on in all aspects within the fashion world. Learning designer's specialties and the correct language is an important foundation for the business. "I'm a hands-on learner, I need to apply the skills I've learned in a business setting." In the future Frizzell hopes to open a store with her own fashion line, but for now she'll take things one step at a time. "I want to focus on building a strong brand image and decide what I really want to make."