Can you start by walking us through your background and experience?
I have a Bachelor of Design from Ryerson University, the University of Toronto, which is where I’m from. I moved onto doing a graduate diploma at the London College of Fashion for a year, which opened the door for me to do my MA at Central Saint Martins. Between my BA and moving to London for the graduate diploma, I worked for almost a full year at Vejas Kruszewski, and I helped with a lot of production and design. I started as an intern and after he won the second prize at LVMH, it opened the doors for me to work full time. During the summer break of my MA, I started working with Chopova Lowena as a design intern. We became really good friends, and I would often pop in and help whenever they needed it.
How were the months after graduation?
Not to be dramatic, but it was pretty terrible. I think you get into the MA, it’s incredibly exciting and you have expectations that it will be career-changing, and it oftentimes is. The ending of it was just so anticlimactic. Our year-end exhibition was cut short by a couple of days and a lot of the guests who were invited to come look at our work in person, like recruiters and talent acquisition people, cancelled their trips. Some were coming from Paris, but even those from London were a lot more cautious and decided not to come at all. That was really sad, and we didn’t even get to say goodbye properly. For a lot of people, it felt quite scary because one day we were there and everyone thought it was fine, and then the next day we went into uni and everyone had booked a flight home. It was really intense, and I booked a flight home as well. I think it was almost six full months after the show, I was back in my parents’ house in Canada, and I felt totally defeated. I knew that it had happened to a lot of people, so I wasn’t too bumped about it. I’m sure it’s the same for every recent graduate or anybody who finished their course last year; it was totally disheartening. Everybody was so underprepared that I feel really bad for the people who were in the middle of a one-year course at that time.
“My parents immigrated to Canada from Soviet-era Poland in the 1990s and when I was growing up, they would always tell stories about how jeans were the hot item in their youth; they were an empowering garment for people. ” – Alexandra Armata