by Eva Bowering
Age: 25
Hometown: Toronto

On the last episode you won the challenge and have had your dress displayed in Winners stores across Canada, how did this make you feel?
It was so amazing to win the Winners Spring Dress Challenge!! I mean so far, it has been the best challenge to win. It is the first time that a piece will be produced, and sold, in the competition. But aside from that, and how exciting it all is, the judges, finally realized that I have a lot of talent and skill, which they hadn’t really see from me yet. I am so proud of that dress, and it is such an opportunity for a young designer like myself.

What do you think you have learned most from this competition?
The competition is very stressful, and very challenging, but at the same time, it’s taught me that I definitely work well under the trigger. The whole process is a learning experience. Each challenge was different, and each one meant a new attack plan. It teaches you to think very quickly and react even quicker.

What made you decide to apply for Project Runway in the first place?
I’m a young designer, and I decided that when I graduated from school, by age 25, I would be making the steps necessary to get into the industry. Well, 25th birthday came, and still wasn’t ready financially (fashion costs a pretty penny). Then the second season started casting (I had tried out the first season and loved the show) so figured "why not?". The exposure that you get is priceless. I was an unknown, and now I have a dress in Winners stores across Canada with my name on it! And that wouldn’t be the case this soon in the game for me, if I didn’t apply for the show.

What do you hope to accomplish as a designer in the next 5 years?
Well I hope to win season 2 of Project Runway Canada! I would love to have my own line, and down the road, my own store. I love fashion shows, and want to show as much as I can. The thought that people want to buy and wear your art, is incredible, and whatever that takes, is what I will do to make that happen. This is what I’ve wanted my whole life, and I’m not stopping anytime soon!

What do you like and dislike about the fashion industry? If you could change anything about the industry what would it be?
I’m fresh to the industry, so I don’t know how it all works yet. I love how fast it all is. I love that fashion is an artistic expression that people wear, and a reflection of the designer and of the customer. I dislike the body image problems that come along with the industry. Fashion is an expression, not a number, so I find it very unfortunate that size dictates who can express that. I would love to see more sizes available for different shapes.

What is some of your own personal advice to those seeking to make it in the industry?
Do not be afraid to get yourself out there. Make contacts, meet people, go on Project Runway Canada if you can! But in all seriousness, be good at what you do, take the time to make things right. Get involved with the right contractors, and people that will help you. But most important is to listen to good advice when it comes to you. If you don’t listen to constructive criticism it can hurt you. People that have been in the industry longer know, they’ve been there. I’m not saying change your ideas, but take that information in!

What are some of your favorite places to shop in Toronto?
Queen West by far! I love seeing the different shops, whether it is fabric or boutiques. The area is fun, and always changing. There are so many people, and I love to people watch.

Who are some of your favorite local designers?
I really like The Damzels. Their shop is on the way home for me, and I always check out their window. I’m a fan of Evan Biddell and Lucian Matis.

How do you think Canada differs in comparison to other countries who dominate the fashion industry? What makes Canada stand out?
I think Canadian designers are very innovative. Look at Jeremy Laing. He has come so far, and is making it on the international stage, in such a unique way. Also there is a sense of Canadian pride which is nice. DSquared, very proud to be Canadian, and show the world what we’ve got.

Next to yourself, who’s designs did you favor the most in this competition?
I really love Adejoke and Sunny’s designs. They are different, and well crafted. They are some fierce competition! I also think Brandon has a lot of talent, but the challenges that he did only showed a little of that skill. His independent work is beautiful.