The fifth annual award Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards (CAFA) gala dedicated to celebrating and showcasing Canada-based designers and its fashion industry took place in Toronto recently, which saw MA Fashion Futures student Bronwyn Seier win the Simons Fashion Student Award for her brand.
Bronwyn Seier is a creative that works across fashion, graphic design and writing. She spearheads her own brand and works freelance in the other fields. Originally from Winnipeg, Canada, Bronwyn moved to London to study her Masters, turning down a tempting opportunity in Vancouver which she explains to us later. LCF’s International team helped Bronwyn ahead of her move over as she was looking to combine a course that focused on fashion and the environment. The Simons Fashion Design Student Award recognises exceptional students who recently graduated from a Canadian programme. Bronwyn received a cash prize of $5,000 and a year-long mentorship from industry experts in the fields of marketing, finance, PR, branding and much more. The award and mentoring are designed to build national and international exposure for Bronwyn Seier, allowing the brand to flourish organically.
Musician Céline Dion and Aldo Bensadoun, Aldo Chairman, were among other winners at this year’s CAFA presentations in Toronto. Among the winners last year, the sister duo behind Beaufille, Chloe and Parris Gordon, took home the award for Womenswear Designer of the Year, while designer Zakariah Milana from Toronto streetwear label The Feral was presented the Menswear Designer of the Year Award, beating Christopher Bates and Bustle. Montreal-born, London-based Erdem Moralioglu scored the International Canadian Designer of the Year Award and Toronto-based jewellery designer Jenny Bird was awarded the Accessory Designer of the Year Award.
We spoke to Bronwyn after the news to find out more about her brand, making a difference in the industry and her fears below.
Hey Bronwyn, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I’ve been in London for about 8 months since beginning my MA study. I am a student at LCF’s MA Fashion Futures. The course deals with fashion, environmental and social issues, and looks at how we can use fashion to shape a more ethical and sustainable future. As well, I work as a freelance graphic designer and copywriter. Since beginning the course, I’ve moved a little bit away from fashion design into more speculative artwork. This has allowed me to step away from always thinking about a customer and make some meaningful commentary about the future of fashion.
Talk to us about being a fashion label owner, graphic designer and writer…
Since returning to school, this time in a programme that’s not directly fashion design, I’ve briefly stepped away from my label and collection. I have had a huge range of professional jobs and internships so I don’t think I’ll ever think of a designer as my primary title. That said, I do feel that some of my other professions have made my clothing designs stronger. My graphic design background has influenced the style of embroidery in my collections and my writing roles have enabled me to use clothing to tell stories and broach critical issues.
Give us an interesting fact and fear about yourself?
Interesting fact – I originally wanted to study architecture. It’s obviously not the path I went for, but there’s something about structure, shape, and stability that rings as true for clothing as it does for buildings.
Fear – Caterpillars! Where I’m from, these tiny little worms drop from the trees in May and June, and I will shamelessly go outside in the sunshine with an umbrella to avoid them!
What made you want to move from Winnipeg to London? Any regrets about the move…
I am from Winnipeg but moved to Toronto when I was 18, and briefly studied in Melbourne. I love big cities! There’s something about the anonymity of crowds that makes me really content. Before I moved to London, I had to decide whether to relocate here to do an MA or take a tech design job in Vancouver. I chose the former because I really want to make an impact on social wellbeing through fashion and I felt I needed this specific course.
You run your own brand. How did that start and how do you explain it to others?
I started my brand in the 4th-year of my BA. It stemmed from the idea that if people know how their clothing is made they will value it more. I think every fashion design student can relate to the painful realisation of how much labour actually goes into a garment. Once you’ve painstakingly sewn a shirt, you can’t think of them as disposable as we’re made to through hyper fast-fashion.
Well done on winning the CAFA award for the Simons Fashion Student, how does it feel being recognised?
Thanks! I was super surprised to have won this award (Like, didn’t-have-a-speech-prepared surprised). But I’m beyond grateful because, having lived in a few countries, I’m keenly aware of how being Canadian is a massive part of my identity. I’m looking forward to working with Simons and getting back into the design space after finishing my thesis. Also, the collection that I was given this award for is unapologetically eco-centric. So it feels like, by being selected, the Canadian fashion industry is also saying yes to sustainability, and that makes me really excited.
Have you thought about life after graduation?
Yes! It’s gone by really fast, and I’m constantly thinking about the possibilities after. Right now, I’m co-producing a podcast on creativity, fashion, and the future (#shamelessplug thedrop.online) and designing and making art. In the future, I’d really like to have a range of careers that involve designing, writing, making, and sustainability consulting.
Based in London or moving back to Canada…
Too soon to say!
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