Whitney Sharp

Fourth year students and soon-to-be graduates of Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) bachelor of fashion design and technology program are preparing for the fashion event of the year—The Show—taking place on Thursday, April 9 at The River Rock Show Theatre in Richmond.
The Show, a highly regarded and prominent Metro Vancouver fashion event, sees several thousand guests in attendance including local fashion and apparel companies. This year’s show will launch the inaugural collections of 39 up-and-coming designers from KPU. The fashion lines include commuter wear; kids clothing; streetwear; gender-neutral collections; maternity and nursing wear; and more, with a growing emphasis on sustainability, organic fabrics, reclaimed and repurposed materials, and unisex designs.
As the only program of its kind in Western Canada, the bachelor of fashion design and technology offers fabric fans, and those with a passion for fashion, a unique design education. Over the course of the program, students are educated in drawing, draping, pattern making, sewing, tailoring, and advanced techniques such as flat garment measurement and pattern manipulation. Designers uncover and research niche markets while investigating fit and construction techniques. They work with specialty fabrics, and learn technical aspects of textiles such as characteristics of fabric, textile finishes, and labeling laws.
In their third year, students of the fashion and technology program complete a 240-hour internship working alongside industry professionals at local design or manufacturing companies in the apparel sector. This hands-on experience allows design students to learn new techniques, develop and refine their skills, broaden their professional networks, and can open doors to further employment.
Students in the program also have the opportunity to complete part of their education overseas through exchange programs at KPU. Currently, the university has exchange agreements with fashion schools in London, Helsinki, Taipei, and Melbourne, with additional opportunities under development.
The bachelor of fashion and technology, originally beginning as a diploma program several decades ago, has been a four-year undergraduate degree since the late 1990s. Much like the design program itself, The Show has also continued to grow and evolve over the years. Originally held on campus where design students modeled their own creations, the event is now a professional runway show, held to industry standards. Designers outfit three models for the event with pieces from their new collections.
The Show, taking place on Thursday, April 9 at The River Rock Show Theatre in Richmond, includes a matinee and evening session. To purchase tickets to the event, or learn more about the program, visit kpu.ca/2015fashionshow. For more information about the designers, visit kpufashionshow.com.