By Jenny Choi
Inspired by her experience working in the activewear industry and as a hip-hop dancer in Vancouver, Maria Hilario fell in love with exploring technicality, innovation, and function in garments.
MUVMINT, Hilario’s graduate collection, showcases technical streetwear garments for female hip-hop dancers. The brand aims to provide innovation, comfort, and performance in its designs. Hilario uses laser-cutting to create patterns that produce a unique form of body ventilation.
MUVMINT will be unveiled at 2017 The Show presented by Tamoda Apparel Inc., on April 5 and 6 at the Imperial (319 Main Street). Twenty-seven other lines by Kwantlen Polytechnic University Fashion Design and Technology students will also be showcased.
Jenny Choi: Describe your collection.
Maria Hilario: MUVMINT is a technical streetwear brand for the active female who loves to dance. It is designed to accommodate freedom of movement and versatility during her choreography. Each collection takes inspiration from the hip-hop fashion culture and today's streetwear trends. All garments are made with technical fabrics that have moisture-wicking, breathable, and anti-sweat properties to provide comfort for dancers.
JC: Who or what was the inspiration behind your line?
MH: The inspiration behind my line came from my experience as a female hip-hop dancer. I have been dancing hip-hop ever since high school. Last year, I danced in an all-female hip-hop team in Surrey called Style & Grace. Shopping for performances, or trying to find a cool outfit that both fit our style and was functional, was nearly impossible.
We grew tired of dancing in ripped denim jeans that restricted us from bending, boring leggings, bomber jackets that didn't allow our bodies to breathe, and graphic tees upon graphic tees. With MUVMINT, I aimed to fulfill the need for technical and stylish clothing that female hip-hop dancers are looking for on the market.
JC: Walk me through your creative process.
MH: My creative process usually starts off backwards. I have a vision of what I want to achieve as the end result, but it changes as it develops. I’m most creative when I’m inspired by something, whether it’s an image, video, or a person. As I find inspiration, my head starts to go crazy.
I start to think, "Where can I use this inspiration in my designs? How can I tell a story?" Sometimes, there may be a delay in the process where my mind goes blank. Then I have to take a step back, envision my end result and goals, and my mind comes back.
JC: What aspect of design are you most passionate about?
MH: I’m a small girl with a lot of ideas. I love the process of finding inspiration, drawing sketches, taking that sketch and turning it into a detailed flat, and watching your design come to life. I love that design allows you to be creative as well as to problem solve.
JC: What have you learned at KPU?
MH: That nothing is ever fully finished. Designers can keep developing something further and further, but it is up to us to know when to stop when it feels right.
JC: What are your plans after graduation?
MH: I want to start my career in the industry as a designer. I’m excited to adapt and develop the skills that I have gained at my job. I also plan to continue developing MUVMINT and taking it to the market. I have been so invested in this brand that I have created. I want to see it grow. I’m not ready to let it go just yet.
Jenny Choi is a final-year fashion design and technology student at KPU’s Wilson School of Design.