Runway Radar: Jennifer Callihoo’s minimalistic Clara/Callihoo collection is aesthetics-meets-ethics

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      Jennifer Callihoo sees design as an opportunity to make a positive impact on people and the planet through ethical practices. She puts emphasis on maintaining her values throughout the creative process and this is found in her final line.

      With the intent to elevate minimalism, her collection provides trans-seasonal clothing with a dedication to garment longevity through quality, adaptability and the use of natural fabrics.

      Clara/Callihoo will be unveiled at the 2019 The Show on April 18 at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) newly opened Wilson School of Design building in Richmond. The beautiful and innovative $36-million building houses a range of design programs including the fashion-design-and-technology program.

      Event details and tickets can be found online.

      Who or what was the inspiration behind your line?

      Jennifer Callihoo: My collection was designed with the motive to veer away from fast fashion and to promote longevity of garments through quality. I took a sustainable approach to designing for a minimalistic, professional woman without having to sacrifice aesthetic. This motive is inspired by my values, and my aesthetic is inspired by Nordic design-minimalism, simplicity and functionality.

      What’s the most helpful thing you learned at KPU?

      JC: I would have to say the most helpful thing I’ve learned at KPU is validation. Learning to think with purpose, understanding why I’ve made the decisions I have, and then successfully validating those decisions has been huge. Knowing the “why” behind your thoughts and choices forces you to think more practically, understand yourself better, and make decisions with confidence. The art of articulating yourself is certainly the most valuable skill I will carry forward with me.

      Describe your education journey.

      JC: To begin, I’ve always had an interest in the apparel industry. I find the process of design to construction so fascinating. Not knowing what I wanted as a career in the apparel industry, or even really knowing what opportunities were out there at the time, I enrolled in post-secondary for a textiles program before graduating high school.

      However, certain events directed me otherwise. I ended up traveling internationally, followed by taking on coaching gymnastics for more than a few years. Honestly, I think I allowed my fear of following my dreams and entering an unknown deter from doing what I really wanted to do.

      So, with an athletic background and experience coaching, I took on the “safe” choice. I completed the 10-month Personal Fitness Trainer Certificate at Mount Royal University in Calgary, and took on a fitness-consultation position writing programs for gym members. I entered the second year of the diploma program, but by the end of the first semester, I knew it just wasn’t for me. I knew it was time for me to pursue what I’ve always wanted, fashion.

      I then enrolled and completed the Fashion Design and Marketing program at Lethbridge College. From there, I knew I wanted to go further with my education and applied to the Fashion Design and Technology program at KPU. I took on freelance work and a retail position while preparing to move to Vancouver to take on the last stretch of my educational journey. I transferred into the second year of the Fashion Design and Technology program in 2016, and now here I am.

      What word best encapsulates you as a designer?

      JC: I would have to say values-oriented best summarizes me as a designer and a person.