Halifax fashion design student Mitchell Gilroy heading to Montreal Fashion Week

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By Laura Oakley for www.unews.ca.

Mitchell Gilroy, a fashion design and merchandising student at The Centre for Arts and Technology, was awarded a finalist position in a national design competition.

Mitchell Gilroy working in the design studio at the Centre for Arts and Technology, Halifax campus. (Photo: Laura Oakley)

Fashion design student Mitchell Gilroy, from Musquodoboit Valley, has just grabbed one of the finalist positions in a national design competition. Fashion fabric manufacturer TÉLIO announced the finalists in its third annual Canada’s Breakthrough Designers competition in Montréal on Nov. 10.

Gilroy and 25 other fashion design students from across Canada will head to Montreal fashion week this February to present their garments live on the runway.

Gilroy is currently enrolled in the fashion design and merchandising program at the Halifax campus for the Centre for Arts and Technology. He started the program in October 2009.

Opportunity Knocks

“It’s going to be a lot of exposure. I think a little bit more of the realities of what it’s like to be a designer,” Gilroy says about the competition.

Gilroy, 20, is the only student from Atlantic Canada competing as a finalist.

TÉLIO will pay for flights and accommodations in February, and give away scholarships totalling $15,000.

“I’ve never heard of a competition so generous. This really does support and encourage Canadian designers,” says Michelle Kulyk, department head for fashion design and merchandising at the Halifax campus.

She says she happened upon the TÉLIO competition about three days before the submissions were due. Seven students from her program submitted applications.

“For us it’s a real coup to get a student in our second year, to get into that 25 finalists,” Kulyk added. The fashion program is only in its second year at the Halifax campus.

Competition Criteria

To enter, students submitted a fashion design board showing a garment that adhered to the competition’s criteria and theme. This year’s theme was Rouge + Red.

The garment also had to be made from a selection of fabrics supplied by TÉLIO.

“Red is a contradictory colour, in that it can mean so many things at once,” Gilroy says of his interpretation of the theme.

“It can be an alluring colour. It can also be a colour of safety. You know you can rely on it. At the same time, it can be toxic and dangerous,” he adds.

Gilroy created a transformable garment that can be worn thirty different ways. He says his garment transforms to show the many sides of the colour red.

“The final presentation on my board is a little bit more dangerous, it shows a dangerous woman, which is the type of woman I imagined wearing it,” Gilroy says.

Finalists were selected by a panel of four judges. Students’ garments were judged on creativity (35 per cent), technical quality (35 per cent) and adherence to theme (30 per cent).

Gilroy admits he wasn’t particularly interested in the design side of fashion when he started the program. At the time, he was working in sales at a Banana Republic store in Halifax, where he is still employed.

“I just wanted to sell. But right now, because of the competition, it’s reaffirmed that I should follow that path. People keep telling me I should be a designer,” Gilroy says.

Show Time

Gilroy now has about two months to build the exact garment that he submitted.

He will be in Montreal on Feb. 9 to present his piece on the runway in the finals. There, he will be judged on garment quality and presentation.

Tags: fashion designmontreal fashion week

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