After completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Regina in May 2010, Sara Armstrong moved to Vancouver to study fashion design at Blanche Macdonald. One year later, her design is featured on the cover of Blanche Macdonald's fashion design graduate show, entitled "Colour Couture."
She took with her 21 years of artistic experience that included dance, painting, sculpting, video and multi-media creations. To Sara it seemed, the medium did not matter, so much as the message.
I like to think of Sara as the Marshall McLuhan of her time.
Whatever the medium, her creations tend to be arresting and soulful with a statement. For example, the 8 - foot headless mannequin dressed in depression black skirting and a metal chest plate that stood out in a field was a haunting yet respectful statement about how the great depression affects the psyche of women today. Reaching out to her deceased grandparents whom she never knew, Sara created a turn of the century communication machine to send a message to them.
She is talented. No doubt. But having talent is only part of the patchwork of success. One needs to have a head for business and marketing, be focused and determined, and be prepared for work. Since moving to Vancouver in July 2010, Sara attended school, worked a part-time job to supplement her income, and interned for Shelley Klassen, a Vancouver designer and owner of Blushing Boutique, who continues to teach her about the business side of the fashion business.
In between school, work and interning, Sara also volunteered to work fashion shows to gain behind-the-scenes experience. She took classes to learn how to felt wool and how to make shoes. Sara, along with friend Kelly Cairns, started Motel June, an eco - fashion clothing line.
Sara's new line that will be featured at the show carries the eco-fashion message as well, with each piece of fabric being created by Armstrong herself or resurrected from another previously loved and lived garment, right down to the shoes.
Every year, Blanche Macdonald provides the springboard for a new generation of talented designers to begin their journey into the wide world of fashion. The School is the launch pad for many successful careers in the fashion industry including Shannon Wilson, owner and designer of lululemon athletica, Tenille Magnusson, head designer of Aritzia's and Canada’s favourite line, Wilfred, and Lisa Malcic whose Beba Bean line boasts A-list celebrity clients and is sold in top retailers including Barneys New York and Nordstroms.
On November 23, a new generation of designers, including Sara, will launch their careers and their visions. I will be there in the front row with a camera.
A Glimpse at the Future