Last week, we were invited to The Roncesvalles School of Fashion fashion show; it was sweet, endearing and we wish it had been around in our day. Founded by designer Sarah Hopgood, the Roncesvalles School of Fashion is a program where students aged 10-15 learn to design and make their own clothes.

Held in Hopgood’s studio, students are first taught some fashion basics:  history, styles and influential designers. Following, they create inspiration boards, pulling looks from magazines that appeal to them. Once an initial idea is formed, Hopgood teaches them how to sketch and draw their designs.

Without a doubt, our favourite part of this process is the parade that takes place all the way to Designer Fabrics in Parkdale. (Hopgood leads the pack with a festive flag.) Once patterns are selected, mad sewing commences at The Workroom, in order for everyone to finish their piece(s) before the big show!

The fashion show took place at much-loved Roncy restaurant, Hopgoods Foodliner. (Sarah’s brother is Chef Geoff Hopgood.) Tables were pushed to the side to form a catwalk and parents sat front row to watch their daughters show off their handmade outfits.

Beaming with pride, many of the girls were keen to tell us exactly how they made their outfit and why they chose the particular style they did. Once the show ended, adults enjoyed a glass of wine while students ran to the bar for hot cocoa with marshmallows.

Not only is this a fun extracurricluar activity but it’s empowering, creative and will surely benefit the budding designers in terms of understanding the process and time that goes into making clothes. (It will probably make them smarter consumers too!)

New courses begins in January! See website for details.