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POSTED IN: Vogue Girl
October 23, 2014

Fashion Report: The Fashion Institute

Olds Fashion Open House

Olds Fashion Open House with faculty members and media in Calgary on Friday, Oct. 17, 2014.
(Photo by Jenn Pierce)

The Experience

It’s not very often that I’m truly awed and inspired by a facility of education and productivity. Usually, I would expect a school to be very streamlined and cold in design, but The Fashion Institute was like sunshine – I could just stand there and absorb the rays of creativity and inspiration for nourishment. I could just stand there all day and be perfectly content, so studying and working there would be a dream!

Located on the seventh floor of the learning center complex across from City Hall, The Fashion Institute is encased by large glass windows that brighten up the whole facility. Also, the beautiful view of the city creates a feeling of spaciousness and grandeur, perfect for the atmosphere of a fashion school. Besides having a spectacular atmosphere for fashion learning, the school is jammed packed with so much fashion technology that I found it difficult NOT to drop everything, rush home, grab all my sewing projects, rush right back, and start working!

The faculty members who led the campus tour were genuinely friendly, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic about moving fashion forward here in Calgary. I would be a very happy student WHEN I finally get the chance to earn a diploma or certificate from The Fashion Institute.

The Background

“With the excitement of Holt Renfrew‘s expansion, the opening of Nordstrom, and the anticipation of the possibility of Saks, we are in a retail mecca that is just going to continue to grow”, says Teri McKinnon, manager of The Fashion Institute. Now is a great time to get involved in and help build the fashion community here in Calgary and The Fashion Institute is the right place to get started.

The Fashion Institute

The Fashion Institute is an offshoot program from Olds College, specializing in Fashion Apparel Technology and Fashion Marketing. “Students get the opportunity to try and be placed into a situation of a business or retail industry here in Calgary … We do put [students] at a hard pace here so by the time … they get in the real world, they are ready to jump right in”, says Teri.

The Fashion Institute

Fashion & Technology

The Fashion Institute“The technology down here is quite exciting … we were fortunate to receive a lot of equipment from WorldSkills.” (Teri). The Fashion Institute was given so many different types of high end equipment that they wouldn’t have been able to acquire otherwise – each catering to different purposes, fabrics, stitches, and anything else that a fashion student would require.

The school has a capacity of approximately 200 students – the number is limited by the capacity of the sewing lab. Teri believes that each student should have access to and ample time to a sewing machine to help with his/her studies.

Each student is asked to come with technology. The lecture hall is set up with power for every student, so each person can plug in a laptop or tablet to aid in his/her learning. Resources are made available for these devices, so students can study and review materials at their own paces.

One of the more interesting pieces of technology available is the “ladybug camera”. Instructors can place this gadget onto a sewing machine or near a drafting project and it will capture the work being done and project it in real time to a screen to be viewed by the class.

The Fashion Institute is currently working on and building a partnership with the Apparel Innovation Centre, a $3 billion building that houses the science & innovation behind the apparel industry. The school plans to give students access to the centre’s facilities and have the research done there come back and help advance the industry and education of Apparel Technology.

Upcoming Events and News

Hudson’s Bay Photo Shoot
The second year apparel students at The Fashion Institute are prepping up for a photo shoot at The Bay in Chinook Centre on Saturday, October 25, 2014 and Saturday, November 1, 2014. The students will be styling the live photo shoot and photographers, Darryl Pollock & Xu Elle Yifan, will be capturing the fashion moments. Sophia Models will be participating as the canvas for fashion, Hair will be provided by Accentric Salon, and Makeup will be done by Tansy Lam.

TÉLIO Competition
The Fashion Institution has submitted five entries from their current student body to the national design competition hosted by TÉLIO. Twenty five finalists from the competition will have the chance to showcase their work on the runway at Montreal Fashion Week 2015. We wish you the best of luck, The Fashion Institute!

The Fashion Institute Annual Fashion Show
In April 2015, the students from both the Fashion Apparel Technology Program and the Fashion Marketing Program of The Fashion Institute will work together to produce a fashion show open to the public. Last year, the theme was “Steel the Show” where the students’ designs were showcased in “The Factory”. The show was absolutely fantastic and we are excited to see what the students have in store for us in 2015.


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