Runway Radar: Sarah Woodburne empowers girls interested in STEM with inventHERs

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      By Chelsea Manansala

      Sarah Woodburne, owner of children’s sewing school Stitch a Story, unveils her graduate collection inspired by the kids she works with.

      inventHERs, Woodburne’s thesis collection, strives to provide young, forward-thinking girls a means of outwardly expressing their interests in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). inventHERs is inspired by courageous females who act as role models, which is evident throughout the whole collection. Each piece encourages girls to speak with confidence about their interests in STEM fields.

      inventHERs 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.

      For event details, visit or follow @wilsondesignkpu on Instagram.

      Chelsea Manansala: Describe your collection.

      Sarah Woodburne: inventHERs is a conversation starting line of clothing for girls interested in STEM subjects.

      CM: Who or what was the inspiration behind your line?

      SW: The inspiration behind this collection is about fostering confidence in young girls. I was extremely shy when I was younger and it wasn’t until I could pursue my interests that my confidence started to blossom, so I wanted to create clothing for girls that will help them be their most confident selves. Building on this concept, I became aware of how many girls begin to lack confidence in STEM fields as they enter their tween years.

      CM: Walk me through your creative process.

      SW: In one word, I’d say messy. First, I need to find my inspiration and place to pull ideas from, so I explore colour, texture, and styling. From here, I print everything out and begin creating moods and storyboards. I am extremely visual, so mind maps, large mood-boards, and physical pieces are what drive my ideas forward.

      My creativity really comes from physically drawing and looking at things in my hands, cutting out pieces, and rearranging. I continue this process to explore as much as possible visually, and then cut down until I’m left with an idea that has sparked and is cohesive.

      CM: What have you learned at KPU?

      SW: The most standout thing I have learned at KPU is the power and importance of community. From day one, this program put forward a “We’re all in this together” mentality that has cemented bonds between students, instructors, and alumni, creating a community that will go above and beyond to help those in it succeed. This mentality has taught me how beneficial collaborative work is in creating the best product possible.

      CM: What aspect of design are you most passionate about?

      SW: Collaboration, 100 percent. It’s very visual and a really great tool for me to get ideas flowing. I love working with other people and getting to see their ideas on paper. These conversations get loud as ideas start bouncing faster and faster, and everyone’s passions for what they are working on begin to shine through.

      In design, so many of us have all these ideas inside our heads, and I find working on a team—with a bunch of likeminded individuals—is a fantastic way to get ideas out. It’s a really fun experience to see people so in their zones and to feed off the energy generated from one of these meetings.

      CM: What made you want to become a designer?

      SW: I don’t think I necessarily knew I wanted to become a fashion designer, but I knew I wanted to create things. Ever since I was really young, art and design have been my outlets. They were things that built my confidence, so it made sense for me to follow that desire. I entered into this program extremely passionate about teaching sewing and working with kids creatively. This program has allowed me to blend those passions together and create meaningful work.

      Chelsea Manansala is a final-year fashion design and technology student at KPU’s Wilson School of Design.

      Places to go nearby

      Approx. 15 minutes away