Perfecting the Career Cocktail
by Katie Mogan
Photos by Peter Jensen
Stylist, scholar, designer, event producer, teacher: all are labels that Vancouver-based fashion professional Natasha Campbell has worn in the last decade. How has she managed to accomplish such a feat in so short a time? With 2010 fresh out of the gates, Campbell has taken an uncharacteristic break from her 24/7 schedule to reflect on her personal fashion retrospective and shed light on what's next.
Born into a British-Caribbean family and raised in Vancouver, Campbell spent much of her youth travelling to visit relatives in London. This early exposure to what she deems a "stylish way of life" gave her an innate appreciation for the arts. However, it was not until Campbell enrolled in a high school home economics class under the tutelage of "Miss Schindel" that she learned her art of choice had a name - fashion. As Campbell explains, "Some people are born to do things . . . I just happened to be doing [fashion] and never knew what it was called." Most high school students can't wait for the ring of the proverbial "bell", but Campbell wasn't your average student. Long after classes had ended the school staff would find her glued to a sewing machine either creating graduation dresses or making alterations to one of her many designs. The home economics room was her "second home" and her "first business".
Next to fashion, business proved to be Campbell's second passion and at the age of 20 she proved her clout in both by producing her first fashion show. With its signature combination of fashion, artistry and marketing, event production proved to be the perfect "career cocktail" and Campbell knew she had found what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. In the years following that first show, Campbell juggled her event production career with academics by enrolling in courses at Blanche Macdonald while producing events such as Deuce Is Wild Carnival. As more event production opportunities came her way, Campbell's name became well known in the fashion industry. However, one promotions company that hired her for a show felt otherwise. "You need a name," the PR woman told Campbell, so she gave the woman her childhood nickname and Tasha E Productions was born.
While Campbell still produces events, she has also taken on another career - teaching. Her experiences in fashion design and event production are used as fodder for her classes' curriculum. She has taught courses at her alma mater, Blanche Macdonald, and is currently on staff at The Art Institute of Vancouver. When asked about the importance of education in her own journey, Campbell insists that she would not have been able to accomplish what she has without it. She now involves her students in the events she produces as "Tasha E". This hands-on approach to teaching ensures that her students are not only well versed in the academic side of fashion but are also equipped to deal with the "in the moment" material that textbooks just can't teach you.
So what's next for this fashion professional? An MBA? A "Tasha E" clothing line? A teaching position at the Sorbonne? All are viable options, but Campbell has slightly different goals. Continuing her education with graduate school, building her fashion events networks in New York, LA and London and, of course, sharing all of these experiences through teaching.
To learn more about Natasha Campbell and her upcoming projects, visit her website: www.tashae.com.