Cañada College Fashion Department Educating students and others about the ever-changing world of fashion design and merchandising. Thu, 14 Jun 2018 20:23:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 135513584 Top 5 Reasons to Sew Thu, 14 Jun 2018 20:23:29 +0000 Those of us who sew probably do it because we enjoy it. It turns out sewing has a lot of physical and mental health benefits as well, including:

1. Reducing blood pressure, making us feel more relaxed
2. Increasing dopamine, which makes us feel happier
3. Increasing hand-eye coordination
4. Keeping our brains active and decreasing our chances of developing dementia
5. Increasing confidence and self-esteem

So whatever your reason, keep sewing! Your brain and body will thank you!


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La Dolce Moda Wed, 06 Jun 2018 20:44:37 +0000 When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s Armani!

There’s just something about Italian style. A group of Cañada students are learning what’s behind that certain something right now as they study fashion first-hand in Florence. For those of us not lucky enough to be with them this week, here we provide a few windows into the magical world that is Italian style.

Italian Girl Street Style

In Italy you don’t have to attend a runway show to see a range of stunning looks on display. Just go out for a stroll and look around! Here a number of women with incredible style, seen on the streets of Italy’s major cities.

This Italian woman somehow makes a motorcycle helmet look like the chicest of accessories.

Tailoring, the Neapolitan Way

This engaging short film gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the long tradition of fine Italian suit making. In Italian with English subtitles.

Sophia Loren

Read more about the ultimate Italian style goddess and see pics of her many looks over the years here.

Many have tried but none have matched Sophia’s beauty and style.
Resort Season Means Business! Thu, 31 May 2018 20:05:25 +0000 Fashion Week in Milan is drawing to a close, after dozens of runway shows featuring Resort 2019 collections. But what is the Resort season anyway?

According to Leandra Medine of Man Repeller, Resort collections are also sometimes called Cruise, Holiday or Pre-Spring, but they all take place “after fall clothes have gone on sale but before spring clothes have been delivered to stores.” Resort merchandise typically ships in mid-November and continues to be seen at retailers at least through the winter holidays. Often the collections stay on the floor well into spring. This prevents a gap between fall and spring collections and means a long selling season. The best part for retailers? Resort pieces rarely go on sale.

Typically resort clothing is made of lighter-weight fabrics in brighter colors and is clearly intended for lounging on the beach, not going to the office. The target customer is someone who travels to warmer climes during the winter months. Those who live in warmer parts of the world, however, can sometimes wear Resort pieces year-round.

Following are a few highlights from the recent Resort 2019 shows:

A striking caftan with ribbon trim shown by Pucci. What other fashion house makes prints like that?
Another easy, breezy piece that could be thrown over a swimsuit, then worn out to dinner! This look by Oscar de la Renta.
Sometimes a Resort collection is indistinguishable from Spring, as is the case with this Temperley London collection. But isn’t it lovely?!
If you saw this woman walking down the street, you wouldn’t soon forget her! This hot pink leather ensemble could only come from Coach.
How do I love this look by Valentino? Let me count the ways …
Interwoven Topics: A Conversation about Sustainable Textiles Fri, 25 May 2018 20:44:09 +0000 Cañada fashion department student and staffer Shana McCracken attended the Planet Textiles conference in Vancouver, B.C. earlier this week. We sat down with her to find out what she learned.

CFD: So, you just got back from Planet Textiles. What was it all about?

SM: It was pretty incredible. There were attendees from all over the world—as far away as Germany, India and Australia. The overall theme was recent innovations in textiles and how we can scale them up so they have a greater positive impact.

Kate Heiny, Head of Global Sustainability for European fashion brand C&A spoke about what her company is doing to become ever-more environmentally friendly. Among other initiatives, 33% of the cotton they use is now organic, making them the largest buyer of this commodity.

CFD: How cool. What are some of those innovations?

SM: Gosh, there are so many. One really interesting group of innovations has to do with finding new, more sustainable sources of cellulose that we can make rayon from. According to presenter Valerie Langer from and CanopyStyle, the textile industry uses 120 million trees every year to make all the rayon that fashion demands. Some of these trees are sustainably harvested but many aren’t. Projects like CanopyStyle aim to make sure no wood from endangered forests is used to make fabrics.

Photo by Grewal, courtesy of CanopyStyle

Meanwhile there are companies producing rayon and similar fibers from things like leftover wheat straw and even microbes.

CFD: You mean bacteria?!

SM: Yep.

CFD: Wow, that’s amazing. What else were people talking about at the conference?

SM: A lot of the program dealt with so-called “microfiber” pollution. In this case, people mean tiny fragments of fibers, not filament fibers that are really small in diameter. These tiny fibers are finding their way from our washing machines into the ocean. Zooplankton eat them, and they make their way up the food chain—from salmon to Orcas and Grizzly Bears. Since we’re at the top of the food chain too, we humans are probably eating little bits of our clothing without realizing it!

CFD: That’s pretty scary. So what is being done about this problem?

Microfibers photographed under a microscope. A fleece pullover can release over one million fibers in just one washing, according to researcher and conference speaker Dr. Peter Ross.

SM: A number of different scientists, including Dr. Peter Ross, a toxicologist at OceanWise, presented the work they’re doing on microfiber pollution. They are trying to figure out where the fibers are coming from, what types they are (like polyester or cotton) and how they degrade in different kinds of environments. Cotton, Inc. a non-governmental organization (NGO) in North Carolina, is conducting tests on cotton, rayon and polyester and comparing the results. They are investigating what happens to these fibers when samples are placed at wastewater treatment plants as well as in fresh and salt water environments. They also look at what effects factors like temperature and detergents have on the shedding and break-down of these fibers.

The textile industry wants to figure all that out before they try to come up with solutions. They say they don’t want to inadvertently make things worse or trade one problem for another.

Different types of textiles are being tested at wastewater treatment plants like this one, where the water from our washing machines goes. Scientists want to see what happens to them under typical conditions.

CFD: Fascinating. What was your favorite part of the conference?

SM: As with just about any conference, the best part was the conversations I had with other attendees. I got to meet Kaya Dorey, the founder of Novel Supply Co., who recently received a grant from the United Nations to grown her sustainable fashion business. I also met somebody who works for a company called Asia Inspection that does sustainability audits at apparel factories in Asia and Latin America. Their clients are fashion brands that want to track what’s going on with their supply chains. They need a knowledgeable third party to make sure their contractors are doing what they promised when it comes to how they treat the environment and their workers.

Sure lectures and expert panels are great, but conversations had over lunch can be the best sources of information and inspiration.
Kaya Dorey is the founder and owner of Novel Supply Co. in Vancouver, B.C. Besides having all of her tees made from organic cotton, she also uses local talent to design and sew her garments.

CFD: It sounds like you really got a lot out of Planet Textiles!

SM: I sure did. And I have to give credit to the Cañada fashion department and Kathleen McCarney in particular. If I hadn’t taken professor McCarney’s Textiles class before going to this conference, I wouldn’t have been able to make heads of tails of a lot of it. I was able to keep up with most of the technical information that was presented because of what I learned in her class.

CFD: That’s great to hear!

To our readers: We highly recommend our Textiles course for anyone interested in fashion design and merchandising. Now is the time to sign up for fall!

Sewing Tips from Our Resident Expert Tue, 15 May 2018 14:00:13 +0000 Our fearless leader Ronda Chaney is unmatched in the field of fashion education, particularly when it comes to impeccable construction. She is co-author of the book Make It Your Own and has written for such publications as Sewing UpdateSerger UpdateSew NewsF.I.T. Review and Singer Sewing Books. She has also appeared on the nationally syndicated television program America Sews. Here she shares 10 tips for how to eliminate frustration by avoiding common mistakes.

#1—Choose the correct fabric for each design. Should the fabric be soft or crisp? How much drape do you want?
#2—Sewing machine maintenance is essential. Clean and oil your machine regularly.
#3—Change the needle on your machine when necessary. A good rule of thumb is to install a new needle after every 6-8 hours of sewing.
#4—Read through all of the pattern instructions several times before beginning a garment.
#5—Mark the wrong side of your fabric when laying out your pattern pieces. This is especially important with fabrics that have less obvious right and wrong sides.
#6—Use directional stitching, especially on necklines.
#7—Prevent wavy button holes by making a “sandwich” with stabilizer on both sides. Solvy brand or another tear-away product works best.
#8—Prevent hemlines from stretching by first attaching with a fusible web, then top stitching.
#9—When you’re feeling tired, take a break, and save the most challenging part of a sewing project for when you’re most rested.
#10—Plan to make mistakes and understand that doing so is the best way to learn. Sewing is an acquired skill that is improved with practice. Lots of practice.
Annual Spring Celebration! Tue, 08 May 2018 14:00:16 +0000 Last Friday faculty, staff, family members and friends of the department all gathered to celebrate our students’ achievements. And what achievements they were—from degrees and certificates, to scholarships and contest prizes!

The Cocktail Dress Challenge winners were finally revealed, after entries were carefully scrutinized by a panel of 32 judges. The judging panel consisted of Cañada professors from both inside and outside the department, as well as our Advisory Board members. Criteria for judging included creativity of design, quality of construction, use of fabrics from the mystery packages, and adherence to the contest theme.

Here are just a few highlights of many from the celebration:

Our five Cocktail Dress Challenge finalists! From Left to Right: Billy Lash (2nd Place), Ping Mathre (1st Place), Neta Levi (2nd Place, not pictured), Johanna Jay (2nd Place) and Linda Imlay (3rd Place). That’s right—three of our contestants tied for 2nd!
Ashley Weiss only just started learning sewing and fashion, but look what she was able to create!
Meghana Manjunath sewed all the black sequins onto her asymmetrical bodice by hand! She described the process, saying that it took her about two and a half full days to complete this one design feature.
Sally-Ann Rudd decided to make the most of the sequined fabric that came in her mystery bundle rather than hide it. We think she did a splendid job!
It was standing—and sitting—room only as students listened with interest to the contestants’ presentations.
Audience members at the tea didn’t need drum rolls to eagerly anticipate each and every announcement.
Student Talia Findley wasn’t present when her certificate in Fashion Design Technical, Apparel Industry was announced, so her dad accepted it for her. What a heart-warming moment!
Molly Dagnelie accepted her Theater Costuming and Fashion Design Technical Apparel Industry certificates (that’s right, two of them!) to exuberant cheers and a raucous round of applause.
Billy’s mom couldn’t be prouder of her son’s achievements. And the two of them couldn’t be any cuter! Am I right?!
Mother and daughter Leslie and Emily Abrams are both Cañada fashionistas. Here they proudly display mom’s contest creation with a removable overskirt!
Our Students Are All Winners! Tue, 01 May 2018 15:54:11 +0000 Each spring the fashion department holds a contest featuring student work. Students are given a theme and a list of requirements they must adhere to.

This year our students were asked to make a cocktail dress, using fabrics from a “mystery package” they picked up from the department. They were to use at least half of all fabrics in their mystery package, though they could add other fabrics and trims as needed. Their dresses must fit one of the department’s dress forms and must have closures that allow it to be put on and taken off the dress form.

2015 winners. The contest theme was Play It Again. Students were asked to incorporate reused materials.

The contest is open to students at any level of proficiency, but you would be amazed by what even the beginning students are able to create!

A number of entries from the 2016 Mystery Fabric Challenge.

This year’s contest winners will be announced this Friday, May 4th at 3PM in Room 255 during our annual department celebration and tea. If you plan to attend and haven’t yet RSVP’d, please do so right away by sending an email to Peggy Perruccio at We hope to see you there!

Each student presents his or her work during the tea. Guests get to hear about the challenges the students faced and how they overcame them.
Billy Lash presents his winning evening gown in 2017.
#WhoMadeYourClothes? Tue, 24 Apr 2018 16:07:40 +0000 Today is Fashion Revolution Day and the beginning of Fashion Revolution Week. Five years ago today, 1,135 people died when a clothing factory in Bangladesh collapsed. The so-called Rana Plaza disaster was a wake-up call for the fashion industry and for consumers. It was clear we all needed to think more about who made our clothes and what their working conditions were like.

Mehera Shaw may have made your clothes.

Since then the Fashion Revolution movement has grown, and millions of people are now taking part. Here’s what you can do to participate and bring more attention to this issue:

  1. Look at the tags in your clothes and notice where they were made.
  2. Wear an item of clothing inside-out. People are bound to ask you about it, leading to conversations about the importance of social responsibility in fashion.
  3. Post to your social media channels, asking a particular fashion brand or retailer (using the @ symbol) #WhoMadeMyClothes? Even better, post a photo of yourself holding a sign with the same message. Make your own or download the official sign here.
  4. Send an email to a fashion brand expressing your concern and asking “Who made my clothes?” Find a sample email here.
  5. Check out the Fashion Transparency Index and see how your favorite brands measure up. If their report card is less than stellar, ask them what’s up.
This young lady may have picked the cotton used to make your clothes.

All these years after Rana Plaza, people still work in unacceptable conditions. As fashion leaders and conscious consumers, we have the power to change that.

It’s up to each one of us to ask this question and make sure we get answers. More socially responsible brands will be happy to tell you.

Lots more info and downloadable materials here.

Fantastic “Free Table” Finds Tue, 17 Apr 2018 13:59:00 +0000 If you’re a student in the Cañada College fashion department, you’re probably already familiar with the “free table.” But if you’re not a regular in the department, you may not be aware of the magical countertop and the many treasures that can be found there. Here our students share their favorite tales of free table good fortune.

Paige Mughannam found the white fabric for the tuxedo shirt shown here on the free table. She also found some bunny buttons but is waiting for the right project to use them.
Billy Lash admits that he’s taken enough fabric from the free table to fill the back of his car. Recently he found some beautiful silks that he plans to use for jacket linings in Advanced Tailoring.
Barbara Lee once found three yards of “very pretty” purple fabric. She made two jackets from that fabric, and a coordinating kimono top from a purple polka-dot material. Her finds inspired her to donate six yards of a black and white print, which ended up being used in the hallway displays outside the department classrooms. Thanks, Barbra!
Adriana Cruz has found “piles of fabric” on the free table—enough that she has made a rule for herself. If she doesn’t use a piece of fabric for six months, she brings it back for someone else to use.
Amber Pascal has found zippers, bias tape and other last-minute essentials on the free table—all “good in a pinch,” like when mid-term projects are due.

If you’ve never visited the free table, do, and consider giving as well as getting some garment-friendly goodies! You’ll be reducing your stash (while making room for new finds), helping our students and preventing waste! But please note: All donations must be pre-approved by department staff.

Do you have a free table success story? Tell us about it in the comments!

Student Spotlight: Faamanu Noa Sat, 24 Mar 2018 00:43:00 +0000 If you’ve ever visited the Cañada College bookstore, you’ve probably seen Faamanu Noa, who has worked there for 13 years! These days you may also see her around the fashion department.

Faamanu signed up for Beginning Construction this semester because she “wanted to take something fun.” She had also just purchased her first sewing machine and wanted to learn how to use it. Faamanu has completed her t-shirt project, which she says was quite challenging. She customized her tee by color-blocking and altering the pattern for a perfect fit! Fellow student and classroom aide Billy Lash recalls “She was a sport through it all!”

Next semester Faamanu plans to take another fashion class but hasn’t decided which one yet. She has heard that Flat Pattern would be a logical next step, but she is also interested in Techniques of Fit. One day she wants to take Visual Merchandising, which she thinks will help her do her job at the bookstore even better.

Next time you see Faamanu, say hello and ask her how it’s going!