Growing up back home in the Philippines, Marlon Mendoza was an award-winning student artist with training in architecture and furniture design.
Upon moving to Canada seven years ago, however, he felt pressure to step away from that path, opting to pursue a career in healthcare as a personal support worker – a decision that ultimately left him feeling creatively unfulfilled.
“After about four years, I wanted to get back into designing and I desired a career where I could hone my creative skills,” this year’s recently announced valedictorian of the Fashion Design program said of his decision to enroll at Toronto Film School.
“While at TFS, I gained experience while volunteering in fashion shows and offered my design services to start-up businesses. I also had the opportunity to join design competitions in Canada and abroad.”
Since completing his studies at TFS, Mendoza was able to secure a position as a Marker Maker at one of the country’s leading winter jacket brands, Canada Goose.
Mendoza recently sat down to reflect on his time at Toronto Film School, his passion for fashion, and his plans for the future. Here’s what he had to say:
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am passionate about art and anything that will involve using my ideas and creativity. After all, I came from a family of artists. At a young age, I observed my dad and other relatives’ creativity. This helped me to decide to pursue a program in architecture.
What brought you to Toronto Film School? Where were you in life when you decided to continue your studies with us?
Before moving to Canada, I worked in the furniture industry. I used my talent in design. When I immigrated here, I was stale in my career and decided to work as a Personal Support Worker instead. I started seeing ads about a school that offers programs in the arts, such as fashion design, game design, and film production. This prompted me to apply to the Fashion Design program at Toronto Film School. Although I enjoyed working as a healthcare provider, I wanted a career where I could be creative.
What made you decide to pursue your passion for fashion design?
Because I was previously a furniture designer in the Philippines, I thought fashion design was very related to my experience.
What is the most important thing you’re taking away from your studies at TFS?
Over the course of my program, I learned how important collegiality is in the fashion industry. I learned the value of teamwork and the importance of working collectively to accomplish a task. One memorable experience I had was volunteering in multiple fashion shows. It is amazing to see how all components of the fashion design process come together. I am so proud of the fact that I could create garments from the initial design to the final product. I learned sustainability in fashion through using my resources wisely.
What are your plans after graduation both immediate and long term?
After I finished my program, I secured a position as a Marker Maker at Canada Goose. My long-term plan is to continue to advance within the company, while also managing my own brand.
If you offered one piece of advice to an incoming student, what would that be?
One piece of advice that I would give is to be patient. There might be ups and downs while you’re doing your program. However, thinking about your future and the light at the end of the tunnel will help you power through.