Our contest garments have traveled a lot this summer. You can read the about the first part of their adventures here.

Two local designers, Jill Pillot of Ricochet and Darcy Fowkes of D’Arcy Couture, that participate in Artistry in Fashion borrowed several of our students’ contest garments to display with their own creations this summer at a San Mateo Art Fair event. Jill is also a former student and Darcy is on our Advisory Board. Read on to learn more!

Cañada Fashion Department (CFD): How did you get involved in the show?
Jill Pillot (JP): Darcy and I reached out to the San Mateo Community and to see if we could present our works their San Mateo Art Fair event.
Darcy Fowkes (DF): Jill and I met with the executive director of Downtown San Mateo, Ann Feinman, to brainstorm about ways we might be included in the street festival, and we suggested a fashion show (rather than participating as a vendor). They backed us, and provided the infrastructure for the show.

CFD: How was the response from the audience?
JP: I believe we had a great following, and a nice audience.
DF: The fashion show attracted more people than any other stage performance for the two days of the street festival, in spite of the fact that it was Father’s Day, so we were competing with a major holiday!

CFD: We appreciate you showcasing Cañada designs. What do you see as some of the challenges in using repurposed items?
JP: Some of the challenges is to be able to succeed in this re purposed Fashion industry and staying sustainable. The creation is one thing, staying in business is another. And the challenges are that each garment is unique and not mass produced, and takes much more time to produce.
DF: The biggest obstacle for re-purposed fashion is that it has to compete with a very entrenched and powerful fashion industry. In order to do this, what we design and make has to appeal to the consumer as a viable alternative to high fashion. It will take many years and/or decades to get there. So every effort we all make to showcase fabulous fashion that features discarded fabrics and/or materials is paramount. So we applaud Canada and Jill’s programs for educating along these lines. But because supply and demand is what makes markets, ‘one-of-a-kind’ design work is a hard sell to a population that has succumbed to a uniform of jeans and t-shirts! For me the bottom line is designing work that can compete with this uniform.

CFD: How do you overcome these in your own work?
JP: With dedication and great passion.

CFD: Are there plans for another show in the future?
JP: Yes, I am signed up for a couple of shows in October.
DF: I am always interested in producing more runway shows featuring local designers, and particularly upcycled designers, and this is an area I am passionate about.

CFD: Anything else you might like to add?
JP: I have created Ricochet from the bottom up by designing from rescued materials. I was told I could not make it in this industry, but have proved differently. With lots of dedication, determination and passion I am able to sustain a slow fashion business and Academy of Wearable Art. And I hope to be an inspiration for all who would like to venture out in this unique creative business.

Thank you, Jill and Darcy, for your wisdom and for sharing the wonderful student garments in the fashion show. We can’t wait to see what kind of collaboration we can come up with next.

Here are student garments from the show.

Here are Jill Pillot’s Ricochet garments from the show.

Here are Darcy Fowke’s garments from the show and her line.