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OUR FACULTY

Faculty

Faculty in the Fashion Design program are dedicated professionals who are have achieved success and recognition in their field.

PAULA SHNEER
Director of Education, Toronto Film School
Campus Principal, Davisville Campus


With over 20 years in the fashion industry, Paula brings extensive experience in fashion merchandising, retailing and wholesale.

Paula transitioned into a fulltime career in education as the Chair of the Fashion Marketing & Merchandising program in 2003.

In 2009 Paula acquired additional responsibilities, Chair of the Fashion Design program and the Campus Principal role, adding Chair of the Graphic Design & Interactive Media program in 2012 to her portfolio.

In 2014 Paula was promoted to Director of Education at Toronto Film School, where she oversees the management of nine diploma programs, across three campuses in Toronto; along with working closely with the Director of Toronto Film School online at Yorkville University in New Brunswick.

Building partnerships and relationships both nationally and internationally is a key component of her responsibilities.

Paula is currently on the board of Apparel Connexion, a member of Fashion Group International and the Affinity Apparel Group. She is a graduate of York University.

DONNA GILPIN | Program Coordinator


Her career began on Spadina Avenue after graduating from Seneca College from their Fashion Arts Program in 1984.

Donna joined Sears Canada Inc. and began a 17 year career with them. Her experience with Sears included retail as well as corporate exposure. The most recent position she held was that of a Product Manager in the Mens and Kids wear departments developing seasonal apparel. This allowed her to travel all over the U.S and Europe for samples/ market shopping seeing firsthand what was really going on in the world of fashion. She also travelled to Hong Kong, Shanghai and China to negotiate prices, with the suppliers.
In 1990 she began an 18 year career teaching part time at Seneca College.

Donna was awarded with an Excellence Award at Seneca College in 2004.
Donna’s many years of experiences allow her to bring to the table her extensive understanding in: Private Branding, Product Development Process, Manufacturing knowledge, and extensive Fit Analysis and Patternmaking skills. Her ability to understand the many facets of the industry and communicate it effectively to others is an asset she brings to the courses she teaches here at the Toronto Film School and the students she teaches.

KEITH RICHARDSON


Keith first studied architecture and environmental design at the Ontario College of Art (OCAD). Realizing the similarities of Environmental and Fashion design – both involve turning two-dimensional materials into three-dimensional items – fashion became more prominent in Keith’s career.

Keith studied at the prestigious Galasso School of Design in Toronto, learning couture techniques of patternmaking. After graduating, Keith went on to George Brown College, where he studied industrial methods of garment design and manufacturing.

Keith spent 10 years working in Miami, for numerous sportswear companies, and after returning to Toronto, began to teach at the Academy of Design. Keith has won numerous awards for his work in fashion, he continues to design and has published a textbook “Introduction to Stretch” a patternmaking manual for knits and stretch fabrics.

CHRISTOPHER PAUNIL


Christopher Paunil is a graduate of the Fashion Design and Techniques program at George Brown College, where he excelled in his studies and first realized that he wanted to specialize in women’s wear upon graduation. His entry into the fashion world began with his first job as a costume designer specializing in dance costumes. With 7 years of industry experience under his belt, he took a leap of faith and designed his first bridal collection in 2009.

In 2010, with a growing list of bridal clients, Christopher moved into the prestigious Toronto Fashion Incubator as a resident designer. Since then he has received the “Vote Couture for the Cure” award from the White Cashmere Collection for his exquisite bathroom tissue creation in 2011, and has created another gown for the collection in 2013. Also that same year, Christopher was a finalist in The Toronto Fashion Incubator’s “New Labels Competition”, in which he placed in the top 4 best emerging designers from across Canada. This lead to his newly-launched women’s ready-to-wear collection being carried by TNT (The New Trend) and several other Toronto and GTA boutiques. In 2014, Christopher was once again named as one of top 4 best emerging designers from across Canada in the TFI’s “New Labels Competition”. Also in 2014, his bridal collection was picked up by Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay, made famous by TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress”. His bridal and ready-to-wear collections continue to gain momentum as he expands his list of retailers.

KAREN ABOUD


Karen A. Aboud is the principal of K.A.A. Business Solutions and is a senior executive with 25-years experience in the retail industry. Karen has extensive expertise in planning, analytics and training to help businesses optimize their growth potential. She is renown as a subject matter expert and has earned her respect throughout the industry.

Karen has worked at Hudson’s Bay Company, The Bay, Ryerson and the International Academy of Design. Her client list covers all of the retail industry from cosmetics, jewellery to apparel. Her current clients include Jones Apparel Group Canada, Garbo Group, Bestseller, Esprit Canada Wholesale Inc, Chateau D’Argent, Diamonair and Quicksilver Roxy.

Karen loves to teach and is an inspiring trainer and coach. She has authored many training programs within the retail industry and has coached all levels of management. Karen has been teaching for 10-years where she has developed new courses and also mentors numerous students.

BRAD LEITCH


Brad Leitch is a trained illustrator who is proficient in photo retouching, graphic design and has taken multiple courses in photography. He has a total of ten years experience in apparel design, working on multiple lines with varying styles and demographics. He has worked with many small businesses creating their brand identity and design work. He has worked with larger design firms to create pitch work for current and potential clients, as well as final illustrations for campaigns.

SHANNON WILLARD


From the young age of 8, Shannon knew she was destined for a career in the Canadian Fashion industry. Following in the footsteps of her mother, a seasoned retail visionary, Shannon set off to pursue her degree at Ryerson University. Graduating with her Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Merchandising she began her career.

15 years later, Shannon’s passion continues to grow. She has had successes in merchandising, brand management, and national sales management for premium and fashion-forward brands. Proven ability to elevate brand identity and drive sales growth for both new and established product lines. She understands what it will take to protect brand integrity and create product assortments that stand out in highly competitive and volatile market segments.

Throughout the course of her career she has worked with brands such as Ralph Lauren, Jones New York, Anne Klein, Canada Goose, Roxy, Quiksilver and more recently started a successful consulting company called Bespoke Retail Solutions.

AMY WONG


Amy is the CEO of Net Directives, Inc.; a company focused on the providing Creative Web Solutions and Innovative Marketing Strategies and has a client base that encompasses national corporate clients to local entrepreneurs.

She specializes in Social Media Strategies, Search Engine Optimization, Local Business Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Video Development and Video Marketing.

DOLORES HORCASITAS


Dolores Horcasitas holds a B.A. in Architecture but ever since she was a young girl she also had a love of fashion, clothing and textiles. Coming to Toronto, Dolores went on to study Fashion Design at the Academy of Design and before graduating in 1992, she had started working for a clothing manufacturer as a designer and pattern drafter.

From 1995 to 2002, she started Dress for Two, a maternity wear company. Dress for Two was distributed across Canada, U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
Afterwards, she started freelancing as a designer and pattern drafter and she has done work for companies such as Lida Baday, Shelly Oh, Peachtree Originals, Rococo, Zen Couture, Guats, Elegant Expectations and many more.

Currently she is a part-time instructor at the Toronto Film School and teaches Pattern Drafting II, Pattern Drafting III, Grading, and Workroom Techniques besides designing the Azure collection. Dolores started Collection Azure, her second business venture in 2007 with a partner, a clothing line catering to sophisticated professional women.

FARLEY CHATTO


Trained at Toronto’s Ryerson University, the Regina native began his own successful line, “Farley Chatto”, while still a student and was soon chosen as one of the top ten young Canadian designers to watch. He was subsequently given the opportunity to live and work in New York, Paris, Milan and Chicago, collaborating with numerous international top designers.

Upon returning to Canada, he refined his Haute Couture skills through an extensive private clientele that has now grown to span the globe.
As his reputation expands, Farley’s unique talents and expertise are also being sought out in broader circles; from furniture companies to magazine publishers to cutting-edge choreographers such as Tedd Robinson and Edouard Lock.

He has provided costuming for productions at Paramount Studios, Warner Bros Studios and Mirvish Productions in Toronto. Celebrity clients have included Simone Denny, Duran Duran, Natalie Imbruglia and Elton John.
Farley has been labeled in the fashion media as one of the top eight designers in Canada. David Clemmer, a Toronto celebrity stylist, recently referred to Farley in an interview with the Toronto Star saying “everyone needs a Farley.

JAMES FOWLER


At age four James cut up a wedding dress trying to make clothes for his Barbie doll. James passion did not end there and attended V.C.C.-Fine Arts- for textile manipulation, and Ryerson Polytechnic for Fashion.

After graduation came a 10-year stint as a noted fashion designer. James then worked for 12 years as Chair of Fashion at the Academy of Design and then as the Director of the School of Fashion at AOD.

After working in fashion education, James then started his own line: TEXTI’LL in the past 5 years. Shows include: SKIN: in the Cooler at MADE, The One of a Kind (Toronto), Originals (Ottawa), The Cabbagetown Festival, The Queen West Art Crawl, Pieceworks (Gladstone Hotel), Radiant Darkness I (Toronto), Radiant Darkness I (Cambridge) as well as several private commissions, including work for the Government of Ontario.

MARTYN LEE


Martyn Lee was introduced to display and communication arts while working at a heritage museum, in his southern Ontario hometown.  Having an artistic and aesthetic sensibility, an interest grew.  A career of being creative in a three dimensional way, with possibilities to educate, persuade or evoke emotion appealed to him.

After studying fine art in post secondary school, Martyn went on to graduate from a Visual Merchandising Arts program.  This was the launching point into an exciting nineteen year career.

As a Visual Presentation Specialist, he took every opportunity to move through his field gaining exposure, experience and education.  Martyn is proud to have worked at two of Toronto’s leading department store, flagship locations.

PAT KLINE


Pat Kline began her career as the Director of the Communication Arts program at Seneca College and taught in the English division. Pat left Seneca to co-found Finishing Touches, a high-end fashion store known for its impeccable taste, customer service and commitment to fashion.
For many years, Pat, and her partner, designed and produced two private lines for retail in Finishing Touches. These lines developed a very loyal following and received substantial editorial coverage.

In 2000, the City of Toronto’s Fashion Excellence Committee voted Finishing Touches as ‘Best Independent Retailer’. Pat always remained connected to the academic environment: she has served on the Advisory Committee at Humber College, has spoken to many fashion classes and as a mentor to students. Finishing Touches was also cited for its involvement with both charities and high schools.

Pat founded the North Yonge Business Association (forerunner of the current BIA) and has been instrumental in turning the area into a vital retail community. Pat received an Honours B.A. from McMaster University, and spent a graduate year at Queens.

ROBERT KENNEDY


For 25 Years, Robert Kennedy has dedicated his career in fashion, to custom tailoring, pattern drafting and draping. Recently, working alongside such designers as Justina McCaffrey, Greta Constantine and Joeffer Caoc has given Robert the meticulous ability to create and fuse many techniques in order to continue the hands on expertise necessary to progress in the fashion industry.

SUSAN ANDERSON


A graduate of the Institute of Design in Caracas, Susan did freelance work in textile design, worked as an assistant art director and as an editorial photographer’s assistant on location in Venezuela.

She has worked in the industry as a carpet designer catering to a market niche in ‘one of a kind’ pieces as well as commercial applications.  Her work has been published on covers of National trade magazines and has won an award in “Focus I Design” at the One of a Kind Canadian Craft Show.

DAVID DIXON


Founded in 1995, a year after graduating Ryerson University. David Dixon remained true to his vision and focused on what he felt was a gap in the Canadian Fashion Industry – Women’s contemporary evening wear or event dressing. Interpreting the marriage between the classics and the modern, David Dixon’s clothing combines luxury with the functional, and the aspiration with the sensible. All of Dixon’s designs are manufactured in Canada, utilizing the best of imported fabrics sourced through out the globe with the overriding theme of luxury. Today, David Dixon’s designs are sold across Canada and in select boutiques around the globe.

Dixon possesses a modernist openness towards emerging design while rejecting the notion of radical change from one fashion trend to another. His innovative designs have won him a following among the elite communities of film and fashion, including to name a few: Meg Ryan, Meagan Follows, Jeanne Beker, Noot Seear, Linda Evangelista, Coco Rocha, Wendy Crewson, Daria Werbowy, Sarah Polley, Jann Arden, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Allanis Morissette, Kristin Booth, Allana Zimmer, Nelly Furtado, Suzanne Rogers, Catherine O’ Hara, Katie Holmes, Iman, and previous first lady, Mrs. L. Harper. David Dixon has been featured in such publications as; Vogue, Marie Claire, Town & Country, Elle, Elle Canada, Flare, Fashion, Zink, The Globe and Mail, and WWD to name a few. Dixon has also appeared on such media programming such as Fashion Television, Fashion File, Celebrity Style, MTV, and Project Runway.

ROSS MAYER


Ross Mayer is a high profile and accomplished Canadian design leader renowned for breaking into untapped markets and guiding the monumental success of unprecedented lines of women’s wear . Formed and fortified partnerships w ith retail giants including Holt Renfrew, HBC, Neiman Marcus, Dillard’s, Saks Fifth Avenue as well as International and overseas retailers.