A Small Town Girl with Big City Dreams
By NATASHA BHATNAGAR
Illustrations by CHRISTINA McFADDIN
Brandon, Manitoba, is hardly the place to fulfill one's dream of dabbling in the fashion world and Christina McFaddin - a soon to be grad at the Art Institute of Vancouver - came to this realization when she was at the crossroads of her educational career. Having been accepted to study English as a second language at Brandon University, it was a surprising conversation with her mother that changed the course of her life. "My mom sat me down and asked me if this is what I actually wanted to do. I told her I would love to study fashion and design but that would mean I would have to move far away". With her mother's encouragement and approval to follow her dreams McFaddin took a chance and never looked back.
Leaving family and friends in the prairies was a risk for the then 18-year-old. "I don't have any family out here but surprisingly it's the greatest thing I've ever done. I was in Vancouver for a week before I started school so I was going out every day by myself just exploring. I always felt I would get extremely homesick but I never did". Wasting no time, and utilizing the resources at the Art Institute, McFaddin has a whirlwind of experience under her belt in just two years.
Growing up in Brandon, the young creative always had a knack for art and sketching but it was flipping through a Vogue magazine and seeing Dior's Spring|Summer 2006 collection that sparked her love of fabric and couture design. It was then she knew what she wanted to do. McFaddin's grad collection is reminiscent of her favourite English design house - Alexander McQueen- which she has titled "Innocence of Survival".The young designer's inspiration ignites from fabric and fabric manipulation. "I love taking a fabric and manipulating it so that it looks completely different. A lot of people grow and their inspirations are constantly changing, but I find with my inspiration it always goes back to the fabric."
McFaddin's design style is typically feminine and whimsical. For her grad collection, however, she pushed the envelope and added deep intricate fabrics such as dark velvets, black lace and painted sequence that give the collection an edgy feel. One standout piece is a long black couture gown with elaborate detailing. It has scalloping features along the back and wrist, custom buttons and zippers and hundreds of sequined cascades cut and sewn individually in strips. This particular dress took McFaddin an entire semester to complete.
After graduating at the top of her class, participating in the TELIO competition and having her designs strutting down the catwalk at Montreal Fashion Week, the starry eyed designer has now set her sights on London. Here she hopes to take courses at the prominent Central Saint Martins College in London, intern at a design house and work on the side. "I've always been interested in London and felt a connection there. I absolutely love every designer that has come out of London." With her love of European fashion, Christina McFaddin would love to find a job across the pond. But if she decides to come back to Canada, it is Montreal she will call home. One can expect big things from this small town girl.
You can see Christina McFaddin's designs at the Art Institute Grad Show on Novemeber 8th.