Shannan MacKenzie-Hall’s passion for fashion was not inspired by haute couture creations found in the pages of Vogue, nor was it discovered on the runways of New York or Paris.
Instead, the 23-year-old womenswear designer found her style inspiration in her local thrift shops growing up in Ottawa.
“My interest in sewing and upcycling stemmed from my love of collecting used and vintage clothing from local thrift stores,” said MacKenzie-Hall, who was named the valedictorian of the Fashion Design program at Toronto Film School last year.
“I recognize the value in every garment and focus my design efforts on highlighting the original details in my new creations.”
MacKenzie-Hall’s main passions now lie in not only designing and creating her own vintage-inspired lines of upcycled and repurposed clothing and jewellery, but she’s now also sharing her talents with others – producing sustainable styling suggestions and educational sewing tutorials through the use of social media.
She reflected on her time at Toronto Film School, her passion for fashion design, and her plans for the future. Here’s what she had to say:
What brought you to Toronto Film School? Where were you in life when you decided to continue your studies with us?
Upon graduating from a Business Management and Entrepreneurship program at Algonquin College, I continued to look for opportunities to further my education. I began ruling out some of my other interests as career options, including event planning, interior design, project management and market research. As an avid thrifter I suddenly started to consider pursuing a career in the fashion industry. The Marketing for Fashion program at TFS is what initially caught my interest.
What made you decide to pursue your passion for Fashion Design?
During my first visit to Toronto Film School I had an opportunity to tour the campus and found myself feeling incredibly inspired in the Fashion Design studios. With only a minor understanding of sewing and an already extensive knowledge in marketing from my previous program, I began to reconsider my options. My instincts lead me to eventually pivot out of Marketing for Fashion and into Fashion Design. I’m incredibly thankful that I allowed myself the opportunity to explore an entirely new craft and appeal to my creative nature.
What is the most important thing you’re taking away from your studies at TFS?
One of many things that I’m grateful to have learned from Toronto Film School is the importance of collaboration. Throughout my time in the Fashion Design program I not only had the pleasure of meeting and bonding with other skilled designers, but I had the opportunity to share experiences and learn from students in the other programs as well.
What are your plans after graduation both immediate and long term?
I am currently working as a full-time Shop Administrator and Bridal Stylist at White Satin Bridal Couture in Ottawa. My short-term career goals include establishing working relationships with reputable bridal designers and exploring the possibility of advancing into our in-house alterations team. In addition to this, I am actively establishing a concept and direction for my next clothing collection, as well as finalizing my branding details and building out a retail website. Moving forward I plan to be consistently releasing sustainable collections through the use of recycled fabrics and repurposed fashion.
If you offered one piece of advice to an incoming student, what would that be?
The greatest piece of advice that I can give to incoming students is to have confidence in yourself as well as the Toronto Film School faculty. The Fashion Design students are fortunate to be accompanied by such attentive and talented industry professionals. It’s important to learn from their success, but also to trust your own creative direction and take risks that will excel you towards your goals.