An Embarkation

Last Monday was my orientation for the Master of Arts in Fashion program at Ryerson University. This is the first of such programs in Canada, and the first year this will be running. No one really knows what to expect, but I'm really looking forward to this. The orientation day was really intended to provide the 20 grad students an opportunity to get to know each other, the faculty and the staff. It was actually a lot of fun in spite of the fact that I was pretty nervous!
After the usual introductions, we were assigned groups for the activities that day (I was in the Placket Plums group), each of which had 3 students and a teacher "advisor."

The "Vintage Act" presentation consisted of a varied collection of historic and vintage garments. Each group was assigned a garment to assess, analyze, and determine a number of factors such as time period, fabric, who might have worn it, how it was made... and then create a story about it. It was an interesting and highly appropriate icebreaker - we had good fun creating a dramatic love story around our Matisse-inspired hand-painted garment.

The "Edible Fashion" activity was very "Project Runway." Each group was given $20 to spend at the Metro grocery store, where we were to buy organic and natural items (mostly food, essentially) with which to create a garment. 
We had about 2 hours for all of this, and it was fun!  My group did a take on the "Little Black Dress" - saying that "green is the new black."  We used green cabbage layered for most of the skirt, and radicchio in the centre front of the skirt and bodice. We had an asymmetrical shoulder detail constructed out of purple cabbage, some other lettuce, and radishes. Sounds horrible, right? Our dress actually looked somewhat like layered lace... and kind of pretty!  

Draping a foundation on which to glue the cabbage leaves.
Discussing the braided green onion trim.
Hastily glueing as time is running out.
Brittany glueing a lovely arrangement of radicchio.
The final product.
The range of garments was vast and exhibited great creativity. There were some food items arranged in ways that I would never have thought of, including tortilla shells rolled and stuffed with popcorn to create a ruffled collar, and a Fruit-By-The-Foot mini-skirt. Smart!  

There was a judging panel of various professors and faculty, and a group was selected as the "winners" of the activity. Some of the criteria was creativity of materials, design details, form, structure, construction... I don't know what else. 

The winning team was announced, and it was... the Placket Plums! Yay! We each received a $10 gift card to Starbucks - essential for student life. 

While each garment was very good and displayed a lot of great ideas, part of the reason we were selected was the elegance and simplicity of our dress. Sometimes less is more, remember? Silly cabbage cocktail dress. What fun.
The day closed off with a nice tour at the Royal Ontario Museum, followed by appetizers and beer at the Three Brewers, a local microbrewery. It was a long, full day, but a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to sitting in the classroom and studio with my new colleagues, and hearing all their ideas and varied viewpoints on all things fashion and beyond. 

P.S. All photos from the orientation day are available by clicking here.


ni.ma said...

Tala, how wonderful!
What a fun day.

nokomis said...

wow, your group dress turned out beautifully! can't wait to read more about your masters program. miss you talabear! xox.