Instructor Spotlight: Fashion Design Department Head Michelle Kulyk

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We recently interviewed Michelle Kulyk, our Fashion Design & Merchandising Department Head in Halifax, check out what she has to say about the industry and the Fashion program:

CAT: Hi Michelle! Let’s start by having you tell us about the Fashion Design & Merchandising program and what sets it apart from typical fashion design programs at other schools?

Michelle: Our program is very intensive. We position the fundamentals of garment design, construction and selling as the core of the program. It is very strong in practical, hands-on instruction of design, technical design, pattern development, and construction. Students immediately start to learn industrial techniques in sewing and design. We begin instruction of pattern development by having students draft and drape their own blocks.  This method of instruction gives them a more solid understanding of pattern making, and of the human body. With garments at the core of the program, we provide complementary courses in Textile Sciences, Fashion Illustration, History of Costume & Design, and of course, a substantial component of business courses that will provide real world readiness: Marketing, Merchandising, Global Sourcing, Finance and Costing and Entrepreneurship.

CAT: Describe the program in terms of experiential learning?

Michelle: We have excellent relationships with our local garment industry. Part time instructors also work as designers, retailers, and product developers in local industry. We volunteer at local runway shows, we participate in Atlantic Fashion Week, and do in-class projects with local retailers and designers.

CAT: How did you get started in the Fashion Design industry?

Michelle: I left Toronto after my education and headed to the Maritimes to “knit by the sea.” I originally went to school to become a knitwear designer, but discovered that I had a propensity for Production Management and for the factory floor. I have worked as a Production Consultant for small operations, as a Production Manager, as a cutting room manager, a pattern maker and have owned my own clothing retail store.

CAT: What has been your experience as the department head for this program?

Michelle: I am humbled by the talent of my students, and by their drive and commitment. I have also discovered that the ‘80’s could return.

CAT: What’s your advice to people aspiring to work in the industry?

Michelle: Do not think this is a glamorous and fluffy industry. This business is about hard work and determination. The garment industry and its employment opportunities are very broad, and you most likely will not walk out of school and become the next new designer. You will cut your teeth doing tech packs, being an assistant in a product development team, or at some other entry level job. But if you love it, you will not even question the hard work and will celebrate this industry’s rewards with your peers at runway shows, on buying trips, or selling at wholesale shows.

About Michelle

Michelle’s strong passion for design and garment manufacturing along with extensive industry experience make her the perfect leader for the Fashion Design & Merchandising program. After graduating from Ryerson Poly-Tech in Apparel Production Management, Michelle’s career has explored a range of textiles in wholesale, retail, and private label environments. From launching and managing an ethically sourced retail store to managing the production process for many local clothing manufacturers, Michelle’s diverse industry expertise and real world teachings will provide critical knowledge for her students.

Michelle believes that a strong foundation in the basics will give students the confidence to adapt, to problem solve, to invent their own and to get their dream job. In addition to exploring the exciting creative design process, Michelle’s mandate is to develop in her students the realistic skills they will need to deliver their creations to market and succeed. But she doesn’t always play it safe – Michelle believes that some of the greatest discoveries stem from taking risks, experimenting and sometimes making mistakes.


Interested in studying Fashion Design?


Fashion Design Training – Fredericton, Halifax, Kelowna

Fashion Design training is offered through our Fashion Design & Merchandising program in Halifax, NS and Kelowna, BC. It focuses on garment design for the commercial fashion industry and includes extensive study in business, finance, merchandising, and retail. This 24 month program prepares you for a wide variety of roles in the fashion industry, from sole proprietorships to local, national, or international corporations. Contact us to learn more about this exciting opportunity!







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