Emma Fenton discovered a fervour for fashion at an early age – but it wasn’t until the 21-year-old Sudbury native landed at Toronto Film School that she realized she could parlay that passion into a profession.
“I’ve wanted to be a fashion designer since I was nine and flipped through my first fashion magazine. There was no doubt in my mind I wanted to be a designer,” said Fenton, who was recently named valedictorian for the Fashion Design Diploma’s graduating class, despite having some initial misgivings about her chosen career path.
“My biggest fear was that a creative field wasn’t viable or the most practical career choice – and I think that came from living in a town that didn’t have a lot of art or creative options, so careers felt limited.”
With some encouragement from her parents to follow her dreams, Fenton discovered both the Marketing for Fashion & Entertainment and Fashion Design diploma programs offered at TFS while searching the web for college programs in Grade 11.
Drawn in by its small class sizes, 18-month programs, and fast-paced approach to learning, Fenton decided TFS was the “perfect fit” for her, and enrolled in the Marketing for Fashion & Entertainment Diploma in the summer of 2015.
After graduating from that program, she opted to continue her studies at TFS and promptly enrolled in the Fashion Design Diploma.
“I loved all my teachers, classes and the overall nature of the school during the Marketing program, so I already knew how perfect of a fit this school was for me,” she said of the decision to enrol in a second TFS program.
“I wasn’t the best of high school students; my grades at the time made me feel like I wasn’t smart or capable of doing anything. But being at TFS, I got to see that I can do well at something that I feel passionately towards.”
Fueled by that creative energy, Fenton said her time at TFS was one of the most transformational of her life – both teaching her that she could do anything she could set her mind to, and bringing out her inner extrovert.
“I’m still an introvert by all definitions, but I’ve become a lot more of an outspoken, creative and opinionated individual,” she said. “I did so much growing as a person. I am very different from the Sudbury girl I used to be.”
Since finishing up at TFS, Fenton said she been happily interning for Canadian luxury label L’Momo – soaking in all the experience she can in the hopes of one day launching her own, all-vegan fashion label using faux fur and faux leather materials.
“I want to be creative and free in my career, and sort of work by my own rules,” she said.
“I’ve never used anything made from animals and I never will! There are so many cool new things coming into the industry like pineapple leather and leather made from cork – options that are also far better for the environment.”
Now that she’s well on her way to achieving her own fashion dreams, Fenton urged all other prospective TFS students to follow in her footsteps in pursuit of their own aspirations.
“Find your passion. If you’re studying in a field that you feel passionate about, that you’re excited to learn from, or if you’re following a dream, everything you do will feel fulfilling and all the hard work will feel worth it twice as much,” she said, noting if she hadn’t taken the leap herself, she would’ve been left always wondering ‘what if?’
“I would have wondered ‘What if I did go to school for design, how different would my life have been if I did follow my dreams?’ But I’m glad I’m never gonna have to wonder ‘what if’, because I’ve done it now!”