According to VCC Fashion instructional assistant Allison Drake, the best part of Halloween is getting to bend the “rules” of garment construction and create fantasy.
Especially for people with a foundation of professional fashion design skills, Allison says the sky’s the limit on Halloween. “In the fashion industry, you are normally designing to a brief, and you're restricted to what your customer wants or needs." When it comes to costumes, however, Allison says the brief is shifted to simply making a wild idea come to life. "For Halloween, if you know how to put things together and you want to be a giant centipede, it’s totally feasible!”
Psychologists have said that Halloween costumes can serve as outlets for parts of our personalities that we don’t get to show in daily life, such as boldness, sexiness, or silliness. At VCC, fashion programs and courses take this idea beyond costumes and into the real world, asking students: why do you wear what you wear, or how do your clothes make you feel or help you represent yourself? “We get people thinking a little deeper about why they get dressed in the morning,” says Allison, “and who they’re designing for.”
Year-round, students in VCC’s Fashion Design and Production programs are also encouraged to exercise their creativity through illustrating, drafting patterns, and sewing original garments.
After learning the basics of drafting, construction, and design, VCC Fashion students in their second year focus on making a mini collection that is showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week.
In this process, many students end up exploring specialized skills such as corsetry, fibre arts, or die-cutting, leading them to ask "how do I make this?" To support individual student projects, VCC instructors will occasionally develop custom workshops or recruit guest instructors to ensure the students’ visions can come to life.
This term, VCC instructors developed a workshop focused on the properties of stretch fabrics, as numerous students were designing tight-fitting bodysuits or “catsuits." Corsetry/lingerie sessions are also in the works, and leading up to this Halloween, VCC instructors opened up the sewing lab on a Saturday to work alongside students designing costumes.
So, whether a student’s signature style involves stripes, spandex, or centipedes, VCC Fashion is ready to help make their designs a reality. “We have such a wonderful base of instructors with all different talents,” says Allison,” and we want to empower students to learn.”