Local designer takes part in Western Canada Fashion Week
Although her post-secondary schooling started off with a focus on athletics and architecture, Jana Champagne is now making a push in the world of fashion, and the St. Paul native was recently featured on a runway in Edmonton during Western Canada Fashion Week.
On Sept. 24, Champagne showed a line of clothing that she designed, specifically for people who travel and don’t have the option to bring a lot of different items of clothing with them.
“You get bored with the same clothes (while travelling) but you need to wear the same clothes all the time,” says Champagne, when speaking with the Journal last week.
Champagne, 25, grew up just outside of St. Paul, graduating from Regional High School and going on to NAIT to take architecture. She quickly moved on to play university-level volleyball while completing her degree at Ryerson University in Toronto.
Champagne is a proponent of creating clothes that are a high quality and will last. The Bachelor of Design graduate spent part of her schooling in Denmark taking part in an exchange program, where she learnt a variety of things, including the importance of reducing the amount of items people buy, by offering a higher quality product.
“A lot of companies are moving that way lately,” says Champagne, adding, she believes people are starting to realize that clothing standards have dropped way below where they should be.
The exchange program also helped inspire Champagne’s collection. She says it does take a lot of time to create a clothing line, and some designs had to be modified along the way when specific types of fabric weren’t available.
“To design, it’s a process,” she says, adding, coming up with inspiration, creating sketches, fabric shopping, which is Champagne’s “most feared” part of the process, and then pattern making are all steps that take time.
But, despite the work involved, Champagne comes off as a very dedicated and motivated individual.
“I really like to just challenge myself,” she says, adding, she always seems to have another project or event coming up.
Taking part in Western Canada Fashion Week was a positive experience for Champagne. She admits she was somewhat unaware of how the event actually worked, but decided to contact the coordinator to see if she could participate.
She was accepted, and put together a team, which included 10 models to show off her pieces.
“Once you have a creative idea and you find other creative people, it’s so nice to work with,” says Champagne of the team she worked alongside, which also included hairdressers and makeup artist Lise deMoissac, who is also from St. Paul.
Along with showing her line on the runway, she participated in an emerging designing competition on Sept. 20, which was also part of Fashion Week. And although she didn’t win, she received a lot of good feedback on the dress she designed.
“I have an idea of what people want to buy,” says Champagne, but she admits that sometimes she is caught off guard by which pieces prove the most popular.
As for Champagne’s future, she says she would like to continue to strive to be a successful designer, but “I would be content with a lot of different things.” Right now she is working in Edmonton with designer Lisa Marie Sciroli, who specializes in evening wear and gowns.
Champagne isn’t too sure exactly when she decided she wanted to delve into the world of fashion, but says it was something she was always drawn to. When she had to complete projects in junior high home economics class, she was often advanced, given that her mom was a home-economist and one of her aunt’s also has a background in sewing.
“I always liked to do it. It’s always what I wanted to be, but I never really thought it could happen,” says Champagne. And following a successful showing at Western Canada Fashion Week, things are looking good for Champagne’s future.
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