By Sandy Escalante
Naomi St. Cyr takes inspiration from art and the environment. She cares deeply about reversing the society's disposable culture and is crafting a zero-waste collection that is well-made, high-quality, and can be preserved through generations to come as heirloom pieces. She is creating art-inspired statement pieces that can be worn to events and galleries. These pieces feature hand-painted silks and art-inspired applique.
ST CYR will be unveiled at 2018 The Show presented by Tamoda Apparel Inc., on April 19 and 20 at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) new purpose-built Wilson School of Design building. The beautiful and innovative $36-million building houses a range of design programs including the fashion-design-and-technology program. Thirty-one other lines by KPU fashion design and technology students will also be showcased.
Sandy Escalante: Describe your collection.
Naomi St. Cyr: ST CYR is a zero-waste collection of luxurious statement pieces that can be worn to events and galleries, or day-to-day. These pieces act as wearable art that are meant to be kept for generations.
SE: What aspect of design are you most passionate about?
NS: I like having a meaning behind my designs. I am passionate about the "why" factor. I am not just designing; I am designing with a purpose. I really hope the message in my designs will make a difference and convince people to shop more consciously. That being said, I also love the creative element. I am faced with solving problems all day and when I come up with a really effective solution it is so rewarding.
SE: Who or what was the inspiration behind your line?
NS: Western society throws away about 85 per cent of its clothing each year. This disposable mindset needs to be reversed for the sake of our planet. The fashion industry is the second largest polluter after the oil industry. To make a difference, we need to buy well-made and high-quality pieces that will surpass trends, and we need to take excellent care of them so they can be worn year after year.
Making the decision to buy quality over quantity will actually make your wardrobe more cohesive and define your look. These facts, as well as the amount of waste that ends up on the cutting room floor each year, led me in the direction of slow, zero-waste fashion. These are ideals I carry with me and promote every day, so transferring them into a creative collection came very fluidly.
SE: Walk me through your creative process.
NS: I have about 200 ongoing notes on my iPhone. Every time I get an idea, either regarding my collection or something else I am working on, I jot it down immediately. I find ideas come most naturally when you aren't trying to come up with them. Whenever I am on autopilot during a walk, drive, or other work, these thoughts finally connect in my brain and come forward.
In order to keep coming up with designs when I am pressed, I take pages of croquis and sketch iteration after iteration until I morph a style into something that works for the market. I love working in zero-waste because I like to puzzle the pattern together first, with an ideal style in mind. Because of the way zero-waste works, styles change a lot based on whether the pattern will fit together. This makes sewing up the first prototype so exciting because you aren’t sure if a new idea will work or not.
SE: What have you learned at KPU?
NS: I learned that everyone has very different perspectives. Looking at your work through different lenses is essential when creating. Collaborating with your peers is so creatively stimulating and yields amazing results. I bounce my ideas off others and offer constructive feedback to anyone who asks. I also learned how much more work goes into producing something creative, and how to draw from your wealth of inspiration to keep creating over and over.
Sandy Escalante is a final-year fashion design and technology student at KPU’s Wilson School of Design.