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Kelowna woman’s designs scheduled to hit runway for Montreal Fashion Week

Sunday, February 21st, 2010 | 10:00 am

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Tiffany Riley modelled Obidowski's design for photographer Trevor Brady.

By Kathy Michaels

Kelowna’s Nicole Obidowski has sketched, threaded and stitched her way to one of the most exclusive fashion events in Canada.

Last year she submitted her designs to the Telio Design Competition, as part of her coursework for the fashion design program at Vancouver Community College.

Judges were taken by  the casual sportswear sketches she put forward, and she became one of only 25 Canada-wide who will see her creations — finished with some Telio fabric —presented at a runway show during Montreal Fashion Week March 4.

“I completely never thought I would get chosen as semi-finalist, because the theme this year.  Art-a-porter— Traditional artisan and couture techniques, so think embroidery, beading, needlework — was so outside of my normal style as I have been heading in a more minimal, sportswear-like direction lately,” Obidowski said.

“However, I did get in and was very excited when I found out… however almost right away it was down to business. I had no idea how much work it would be.”

Making two professional-calibre garments from the pattern-making stage to sewing with limited fabric was kind of beyond her abilities at first, so it took a lot of trial and error to get things right.

“I think I made about six muslins—test garments made of similar but less expensive fabric—of each garment before I finally was ready to start the real thing,” she said.

She and her classmate Leah Mossof, who was also chosen, worked about 30 hours a week on their entries for two months. That was on top of 30 hours a week in class and 16 hours a week at part time jobs.

“Let’s just say I was a fashion zombie —but finishing it was a great experience and I learned so much from building these garments,” she said. “It was definitely worth it. Now that it is sent out I feel great about it again because all that’s left is the fun part.”

It will be even more fun when she heads to Montreal for fashion week to see her creations in living colour, marching down a runway. That could also be the point when she finds out if she was the one of five who will be taking home a decent sized scholarship.

“I try not to think about it too much but winning would really, really be terrific,” she said. “Outside of the obvious media recognition which is vital in the fashion industry, Telio hands out $3,500 dollars to the first place winner, but even if you only place fifth you still get $1,000 which is awesome. Tuition fees are disgusting right now, and student loans haven’t really caught up to them at all, especially in B.C.”

With banks being stingy with loans, Obidowski said  she and many of her classmates are really struggling to make it to graduation.
“Something like this is an amazing opportunity and I think it is fantastic that Telio is supporting the apparel community this way. I wish there were more companies in Canada that were so generous,” she said.

Regardless of the outcome, Obidowski said she’ll trundle on in her fashion pursuits learning everything she can and honing her craft.

“My immediate goal is obviously to graduate from VCC this fall with a Diploma in Fashion Arts. I would love to pursue more education and get a degree but since that probably won’t be a financially viable option for me, I intend to learn more by just getting in there and working in the industry,” she said. “Fashion is so huge and there is just so much to learn —even after this intense two year program I have learned so much but probably just 25 per cent of what I want to know.”

While Obidowski is at the beginning of her fashion career, she says her fellow Okanaganites who have a passion for fashion are in a great starting position.

“I definitely think the Okanagan Valley has a unique landscape that really has molded a lot of my current aesthetic,” she said.

“My grad collection is mainly inspired by the Okanagan and Okanagan horizon — the mountains and the hills and the muted colours and lazy feeling. However I would really suggest getting out there and taking schooling in as big of a city as you can. Its really useful to go to school in a city where your instructors can become helpful industry connections after you graduate.”

Kelowna woman's designs scheduled to hit runway for Montreal Fashion Week3.556

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2 Responses to “Kelowna woman’s designs scheduled to hit runway for Montreal Fashion Week”

  1. Ken Obidowski says:
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    Just an update on how Nicoles’ design fared in the competition. Second place!! Way to go kiddo. Congratulations. Love Dad.

  2. karen telio says:
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    Congrats on your second place! I heard about your design from my family. I’m a jewellery designer in Vancouver, thought it was a cool connection to have with you. Good luck with your work.

    Karen Telio

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link

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