Blanche Macdonald Centre http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/ News from Blanche Macdonald Centre YOU'RE INVITED! CHARLOTTE TILBURY'S PRO MASTERCLASS AND SHOPPING EVENT, JULY 25th http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/news//2016/charlotte-tilbury-pro-masterclass-invitation/ Charlotte Tilbury Pro Event Blanche Macdonald Invitation 

We are thrilled to announce that Blanche Macdonald will be hosting a masterclass with the Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Team on Monday, July 25th!  This exclusive event will feature a Pro Artist Discount Sale, Recruitment Fair and a live Masterclass with Charlotte's National Artistry Development Manager for the United Kingdom and Blanche Macdonald Makeup graduate, Kelly Mitchell. A guest appearance will also be made by celebrity makeup artist and Charlotte Tilbury Lead Artist, Kate Synnott. The event will be held at Blanche Macdonald's Atelier Campus and will be open exclusively for Blanche Macdonald students, graduates and industry professionals.

Charlotte Tilbury herself is a leading Celebrity Makeup Artist in the industry with more than 20 years of top level experience working with the worlds most influential Fashion Designers, Photographers and Celebrities. She is the industry’s go-to Makeup Artist for the world’s biggest red carpet events including the Oscars, Grammys, Golden Globes, as well as Celebrity Weddings and Fashion Weeks, making up the famous faces of Penelope Cruz, Amal Clooney, Rihanna, Natalie Portman, Kim Kardashian, Cara Delevingne, Kate Moss, Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Aniston to name just a few...

Having also worked behind some of the biggest beauty brands in the industry and with the world’s most innovative skincare and makeup labs, Charlotte has embedded all of her years of experience into a her own makeup range that has revolutionized the cosmetic industry! Whether you’re a Makeup Artist, mother, business woman, or late night hedonist, Charlotte’s products are easy to choose, easy to use and easy to gift. Charlotte truly believes “if you give a woman the right makeup she can conquer the world!”

Shop CT Makeup at Blanche Macdonald 

PRO SALE POP-UP SHOP
Following the live masterclass Blanche Macdonald students, grads and professionals can shop for products and receive the 30% Pro Artist Discount on the day of!  This will be the first ever Pro Sale in North America. Charlotte Tilbury products will be ordered and purchased on the day of the event and later delivered to your preferred mailing address.

RECRUITMENT FAIR
The CT team have come to us in search for candidates to join TEAM TILBURY as it rapidly expands though out the US/Canada and globally!  During the event there will be a chance for our grads to take part of the Meet & Greet interview and express their interest to join Team Tilbury. This is an incredible opportunity to become a part of the hottest brand in cosmetic industry. To take part in the interview, please come prepared with your resume and cover-letter and dress to impress!

THE BRAND
Charlotte Tilbury on Instagram @ctilburymakeup
Charlotte Tilbury's Official Website

Charlotte Tilbury Pro Event Blanche Macdonald Invitation

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Tue, 19 Jul 2016 00:00:00 PST
Steven Carty Creates Fierce Beauty Dialogue as Drag Queen Raye Sunshine and Director of Education At Studio F/X! http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/news/current/2016/top-makeup-artist-steven-carty-drag-queen-raye-sunshine/ Top Makeup School Graduate Steven Carty

As a child actor seeking stardom from the pastoral settings of Mission, BC, Blanche Macdonald Makeup graduate Steven Carty quite nearly had his break. Having been offered the role of Pugsley in macabre kin favourite, The Addams Family, Steven probably wouldn’t have been sitting here today, had it not been for his parents’ reluctance at the prerequisite husking up. As Steven put it, “being young and gay in Mission – you don’t need any more hardships.”

But when one door closes another opens, as the saying goes. And for Steven, calling scene on set life would lead him to spot lights worldwide.

“Watching the Hair and Makeup Artists work on transforming people like John Travolta and Kirstie Alley into their characters was so neat and it just stuck with me. When I was in hair and makeup it would be the best half hour of my life.

“In Grade 11 we did this big production of Stoker’s Dracula, and I got to create the dead Lucy and a vampire. That’s what sparked the thought of going to Makeup School and then meeting [Blanche Macdonald Admissions Director] Jill Wyness during my tour at 16 sealed the deal. I didn’t go to any school interviews after that and started right after graduation.”

Top Makeup School Graduate Steven Carty

Steven was met with a level of support and creative calibre that he remembers to this day. It wasn’t long after his first weeks that he realized the scope of professional opportunity now open to him.

“When I had the chance to see the work that my instructor, Michelle, was doing outside of the classroom, it really created a bond of respect. These are your teachers, but this isn’t just college, not just beauty school. When you graduate, these people can become your coworkers. You get the chance to grow with these teachers and if you are really pushing yourself and really want to learn more, you can. You have to connect and go a little bit further than just ‘Here’s my assignment.’

“I would be running up and down the halls in full face showing each and every teacher because I wanted everybody’s feedback. Every artist has a different way of doing things and that gives your learning this great diversity.”

It was during one of Blanche Macdonald’s Makeup industry tours that Steven first connected with Carla Antrobus, Owner of Studio F/X. And after nearly a decade – which saw methodical shop pop-ins by Steven – she admitted that she was an admirer of his work, and brought him on to the team. The weekly classes that he would go on to teach would benefit from the experience he’d gathered in his near thirteen professional years: from working the MAKE UP FOR EVER counter with Blanche Macdonald superstars Heather Nightingale, Jaylene McRae and Andrea Tiller to celebrity makeup sessions with Virgin Radio’s Denai Johnson, nights spent with the Vancouver Opera and a lengthy collaboration with Senscience International Creative Director, Martin Hillier.

“Working with Martin Hillier was one of my biggest achievements. Maintaining ten years of art with somebody, creating new looks for every single season of hair – that’s a pretty neat feeling. Our work is published all over the world with these big hair advertising companies and it’s a humbling thing. It let’s you know that if you continue on the right path, if you continue pushing your career, and take whatever you can get, it will pay off.”

Top Makeup School Graduate Steven Carty

Today, Steven is still serving fierce transformations in an inspiring dual mentorship role, daylighting as Director of Education of Studio F/X, and breaking out into the evenings as the outlandishly divine, very ‘BusyDragQueen,’ Raye Sunshine.

“Raye started when I was in Mission; I knew that I was gay and I was having a bit of a hard time with that reality so I was looking for an escape. I dressed up as Sailor Mars for one Halloween and kept the wig; later, I would hide away in my room, put on some eyeshadow and really really ugly eyebrows, and spin about. With no internet or cable, I had no idea that what I was doing was called something. I just thought that I was having fun. I learned in Grade 11 that it’s called drag, and Shakespeare used to do it. And I was like, ‘Well then that’s totally fine. Shakespeare’s great! It’s not weird, it’s art.’ ”

Raye Sunshine has become renowned in the community for her extravagant, and often offbeat looks that fall anywhere in the range of Sia to Ginger Spice, Mrs. Grinch to the White Walker, Orange is the New Black inmate to wherever it is that her capricious whims wander that night.

Top Makeup School Graduate Steven Carty

“I’ll take the blank canvas of my gender or non-gender character and I’ll start creating designs. Then the thought process gets away from me and it becomes more of an intuitive visual process. You’re seeing it come to life, and as it’s coming to life, you’re building a backstory for it.

“Taking somebody through from male to female, female to male or a human to a creature of some sort is what I love, what I’m made to do.”

These exorbitant bouts of cosmetic imagination have won Raye worldwide recognition. In 2010, she was honoured with the prestigious title of 39th Reigning Empress of Vancouver, which saw her visiting 22 International ‘Court Systems’ across Canada’s grassroots LGBT network. And after the Busy Drag Queen comedy video that she starred in went viral, Raye even booked a gig in Korea. People were beginning to recognize both Raye and Steven on the street and, as a result, makeup jobs were streaming in.

“Whenever I would visit a new city’s court system, I would make it my mission to go to at least one makeup store to see what they had. Most of the time, they would sell without providing any information on the products that their customers were buying. It was after seeing this that I really started getting into education. I wanted to help these Queens do what they wanted to do without hurting themselves. You can’t put cream foundation on the inside of your eye – get a pencil!”

Top Makeup School Graduate Steven Raye Sunshine

Now, as Director of Education at one of Vancouver’s top makeup suppliers, Steven delights in the responsibility of teaching fellow Queens such dos and don’ts of product, urging them to “STOP USING BABY POWDER” and coaching them on technique.

“The best thing is when I meet them and they don’t recognize me right off the bat – sometimes they will mention that they saw Raye’s show, and it really got them interested in a style or technique. And right away after I introduce myself, the way they communicate completely changes. They become relaxed. I try to create a safe space so that they feel comfortable and ask a million questions. That way I know that they’re walking out of there with the product that they wanted, and they know how to use it.

“There is a parallel between Raye doing drag and Steven at Studio F/X, in which these young new Drag Queens have a source that they can look to for support in elevating their craft.”

Top Makeup School Graduate Steven Carty

Even if Steven has become a technical and creative counsellor for Vancouver’s burgeoning Makeup and Drag scenes, he is forthright about the fact that he himself is still learning.

“The thing about being a Makeup Artist is that you are never too big to assist anybody. I’ll assist a student, just to observe how they go about a look. You can always learn, from anyone, and there should never be an ego when you’re training for someone. Assisting Jaylene McRae is on my list of things I really aspire to do, not just as a Queen, but as a Makeup Artist. Her transformation makeups are avant-garde and so stellar. I learned so much about changing face shape and creating symmetry in the mouth when we worked together at MAKE UP FOR EVER.”

Top Makeup School Graduate Steven Carty as Steven Raye Sunshine

And for all of the ‘flawlessness’ going on under the spotlights, Steven serves up only ‘realness’ when it comes to the necessity of self-development, failure and perseverance in a Makeup Artist’s career. Whether it’s Steven hosting a class on contour, or Raye out belting tunes under the glitz and glare of the stage, their outlook is exhilarating and inspires us to get out, connect and create.

“There are no set rules in makeup; there is always the ability to take it somewhere fresh and you’re always learning something new as you teach a class. If something is not really working during a demo, I’ll problem solve right then and there. If I make a mistake, I’m going to tell you because mistakes will happen no matter what. It’s a constant challenge but it’s really fun.

“You don’t really ever get over the fear of ‘failure.’ There isn’t a day where, right before I step on stage, I don’t want to puke into a bucket. And even when I’m creating something in my home studio, I’ll be sitting there painting my chest and thinking to myself, ‘Oh this isn’t working, oh this is going to be awful.’ It’s about not giving up, seeing how it plays out, about having the drive to keep pushing. An hour later, when it all starts looking like something, I’ll be so happy that I didn’t quit. The minute you stop, you’re letting yourself be defeated by yourself. You just have to keep going with it, and even if it doesn’t turn out, you’ve learned so much.

Steven Carty's Top 5 Drag Queen Beauty Products!

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Mon, 18 Jul 2016 00:00:00 PST
Blanche Macdonald Makeup Graduate Ruby Hogg Finds Big Time Success in the Small Town of Fort McMurray http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/news/current/2016/top-makeup-school-graduate-ruby-hogg/ Blanche Macdonald Graduate Ruby Hogg

Nestled amidst the boreal forest in Northern Alberta is the industrious, tight-knit community of Fort McMurray. While it may sound an unlikely place to find success as a makeup artist, Blanche Macdonald graduate Ruby Hogg has done just that, cultivating and an outstanding career and flourishing as one of the province’s top makeup artists. In the three short years since she graduated from the Freelance Makeup program, Ruby has established both local and national clientele, achieving celebrity status within her community and traveling all over Canada to do makeup for brides and films alike. She attended a workshop in L.A. with the famous Scott Barnes, and her growing reputation landed her on set with National Geographic. She achieved all this while starting her own successful makeup business, Colour Me Famous, and becoming a new mom.

Ruby now lives in Valemount, B.C. with her family, but it’s clear that her establishment in Fort McMurray was instrumental to her success. Humble, hard working and eternally grateful, Ruby is proof that the unexpected and unknown can be transformed into monumental career cornerstones by an expansive view of life, beauty, and business and an enduringly creative eye.

BMC: First thing’s first: We heard you’ve done makeup for Steven Tyler locally in Fort McMurray. How did that come about?

Ruby Hogg: Aerosmith was doing a Canadian tour and Fort McMurray happened to be on the route. Their management team inquired with the venue about a makeup artist. I’d worked on some of the staff for other events and they knew my reputation, so they referred me! I was actually on vacation and asleep when I got an email with the subject “Aerosmith Makeup Artist” and thought I was dreaming.

I thought I’d be so nervous walking into his dressing room, but I felt completely at home. Steven Tyler was a very welcoming person. His makeup artist made it easy for me by sending a list of his favourite products to use – he’s a huge MAC fan. The only difficult thing was figuring out something to wear myself!

BMC: Let’s go back in time. What made you want to become a makeup artist in the first place?

RH: Initially I was interested in International Development for the longest time. I had always had a passion for brightening people’s lives. When I found out I was going to have my daughter, I realized it would be difficult to balance that type of career with our lifestyle. I’d always loved makeup so I decided to pursue it as a career instead.

BMC: When you decided to go to makeup school, what made you choose to study at Blanche Macdonald?

RH: I did lots of research on schools across Canada and the United States. In the end, I chose Blanche Macdonald [because] its reputation preceded it and it had such positive reviews. All the recent grads I talked to were such successes in their fields. When I was put into contact with Admissions, everyone was so friendly and welcoming and the schedule fit so perfectly with my family lifestyle. The location wasn’t a drawback either!

Blanche Macdonald Graduate Ruby Hogg

BMC: You ended up in Fort McMurray after graduation and started a very successful makeup business, Colour Me Famous. What kinds of opportunities and drawbacks were there in that type of location?

RH: I find that the industry’s based on a lot of word-of-mouth, and from the beginning I chose to have my work speak for itself. You definitely can’t be a one-trick pony in a smaller city, though. I’ve found myself doing everything from photo shoots on lakes to boudoir sessions to indie films to princess pageants [as] major gigs.

The lack of makeup selection in Fort McMurray is a major hurdle – usually you’d have to plan a trip to Edmonton or Calgary if you wanted to buy certain things. Other than that, I’d definitely consider the location to be a strong factor in the speed of my success; of course work ethic, talent, and presence are huge factors in success as well! But I’d lived in Fort McMurray before I went to Blanche Macdonald and I knew there was a need for more makeup artists there.

One of the things I really appreciate about the industry there is that the beauty sector is small and personal. All of the makeup artists know each other fairly well and became friends, which allows us to share our workloads. That is so helpful. Plus, it makes all of us stronger entrepreneurs!

BMC: Let’s talk about another major gig you landed while in Fort McMurray – a documentary with Bill Nye and National Geographic! How did the people in New York find out about you?

RH: The production company working for National Geographic was actually quite worried they wouldn’t be able to find a makeup artist so far north. They inquired with a few local videographers and even called the municipality to see if they had any recommendations and my name was put up by all of them – unbeknownst to me! I was actually mid-move when I got the call...They wanted me for the next week, but thanks to the help of some great friends, I was able to take the job. I cannot stress how important flexibility is in this industry. Bill Nye was super easy to work with; it was one of the least stressful environments to work in.

BMC: How did you set your self apart from other makeup artists, and what kinds of tips on standing out in a smaller city would you give to a new graduate of the Freelance Makeup program?

RH: I started my company almost immediately after graduation and the first thing I did when I got into town was to get in contact with a local publication. We worked together a few times and the publisher helped me meet more and more people. I found that social gatherings and events really helped me build a brand and get my face out there. I really tried to be diligent when meeting new people because one of the best ways I created connections was attending local events and fashion shows. If you put yourself out there, you open yourself up to so many new opportunities. But I also had a strong foundation to start my makeup business with once I graduated from Blanche Macdonald.

Blanche Macdonald Graduate Ruby Hogg

BMC: Color Me Famous’s catchphrase, “Working to instill confidence in women everywhere,” is positive and uplifting. Before you were a makeup artist, your interest in international development led you to spend time in refugee camps and schools in Africa. It’s clear that you’ve bridged your passion for brightening people’s lives with your makeup business. How do you do it?

RH: I’m a huge believer in fate and karma. I think that whatever good things you put into the world ultimately come back. I’m also very dedicated to anything I commit to and I have a fantastic support team; [they] are the reason I’m where I am today.

I realized there are so many different ways to bring happiness into people’s lives. I love being able to highlight my clients’ natural beauty and make them feel like a superstar – hence my company motto, “Working to instill confidence in women everywhere.”

After several successful years in Fort McMurray, my business became overwhelmingly busy. I made the move back to Valemount, British Columbia to find more balance between my work and family life and to focus solely on weddings and the occasional film job. My goals right now are to continue improving my craft and enjoying the opportunities I continue to be blessed with!

Blanche Macdonald Graduate Ruby Hogg Top 5

 

 

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Fri, 08 Jul 2016 00:00:00 PST
MAKEUP GRADUATE-TURNED-INSTRUCTOR BREIANNE ZELLINSKY BRINGS A-LIST FASHION TO BLANCHE MACDONALD CLASSROOMS http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/news/current/2016/top-makeup-school-graduate-breianne-zellinsky/ Blanche Macdonald Graduate Breianne Zellinsky

“I’ll always remember my experience on set for my first fashion editorial in London. I was assisting makeup artist Janeen Witherspoon for Dazed & Confused’s 20th Anniversary Edition. There were racks and racks of clothes, tables full of accessories, makeup for days, suitcases packed with wigs, and a team of ten people working alongside Janeen and myself: photographer Ben Toms, fashion stylist Katie Shillingford, hairstylist Martin Cullen, set designer Amy Stickland, along with the photo team and creative assistants. I remember leaving with goose bumps all over thinking “Yep, this is what I want to do.’”

That was the first of countless unforgettable experiences for Breianne Zellinsky in the upper echelons of European high fashion. After five scintillating years in the UK the Blanche Macdonald graduate-turned-instructor has returned to her hometown of Vancouver. Their loss is our gain. She’s now inspiring future generations of Makeup Artists to follow in her footsteps.

Blanche Macdonald Graduate Breianne Zellinsky

“Makeup was always my passion,” recalls Breianne. “Since I was a young girl I always saw makeup as something artistic rather than making people look pretty. I loved seeing the change and transformation. Growing up, my original goal was to become a professional dancer. At a certain point I knew that wasn’t going to be my future, but being exposed to the creative side of makeup through dancing helped me realize that it could be my career. When I was 20 I made the decision to come to Blanche Macdonald. I knew it was the best. I didn’t even look at another school.

 “As soon as I started Makeup School I realized where I belonged in the industry. The beauty and fashion modules really caught my attention. I wasn’t a fashionista. It was more beauty than clothing that inspired me. I loved the artistic element of fashion makeup: everything was full of colour and beautiful imagery.” 

Blanche Macdonald Graduate Breianne Zellinsky

After graduation Breianne immersed herself in a job at Vancouver’s celebrated Avant Garde Hair Salon apprenticing under legendary hairstylist and family friend Jon Paul Holt. Under Jon Paul’s supervision Breianne became a skilled hair professional (“In this industry, especially in Vancouver, it is important to have skills with both makeup and hair”) while continuing to work on her makeup career, staying busy experimenting with photographer Karolina Turek.  

“We were enjoying the creativity, but we also understood that we were at the beginning of a long path for both our careers, building our portfolios and gaining experience.”  

When Breianne felt that it was time to refocus on her makeup she had the skills and contacts to secure a coveted position at MAC at The Bay Downtown. With real world experience in makeup, hair, fashion photography, bridal, retail and business development Breianne knew she was ready to take her career to the next level. Opportunity came knocking when her husband was offered an unexpected work transfer to London, England, one of the fashion capitals of the world.

“He was hesitant at first but I knew that there was no better place for me to be. I did tons of research before I’d even left Canada, and I made one very good contact, Janeen Witherspoon. We were both Blanche grads and shared the same job working for Jon Paul at Avant Garde. She’d just done it 10 years before me. We instantly made a connection and I knew we would be friends for life.”

Blanche Macdonald Graduate Breianne Zellinsky

Breianne was shooting with Janeen on the aforementioned Dazed & Confused shoot just two days after arriving in London, kick starting a relationship that immersed Breianne in London’s fashion industry as Janeen’s first assistant. The two Canadians worked their magic on campaigns and publications including Cos, Jenny Packham, Vogue, POP, i-D and The Sunday Times (where they created looks on supermodel Karen Elson), along with runway shows like Bora Aksu, Mother of Pearl and Lucas Nascimento.

Within one year of moving to the UK Breianne had travelled between London, Paris and New York for Fashion Weeks, working on designer shows for KTZ, Christopher Raeburn, Fred Butler, Lie Sang Bong, Viktor&Rolf, Qasimi, ACNE, Emilia Wickstead and Fyodor Golan. That’s the tip of the iceberg.

“I worked at over 80 shows. So many of them inspired me, but Lie Sang Bong in New York was one that really stood out. They did an amazing set with illuminated butterflies all along the runway. It captured true elegance and simple beauty.”

Blanche Macdonald Graduate Breianne Zellinsky

Through her backstage presence and a few words of recommendation Breianne landed a first assistant role with superstar makeup artist Ayami Nishimura. As Ayami’s right-hand girl, Breianne started a fresh run of A-list experiences, editorials and campaigns.

“We shot Emma Watson at London's famous Claridge’s Hotel with photographer Ellen Von Unwerth. Emma is honestly one of the most intelligent women I have ever come across; so well educated, incredibly well spoken, very calm and humble, but still with a cute sense of humour. It was great to get to know her as a person and not as a celebrity.”

Breianne takes pains to point out that even with the celebrity glamour, assisting is a demanding and underrated job.

Blanche Macdonald Graduate Breianne Zellinsky

“You’re completely in charge of the kit. You set up and make sure the models are prepped and ready. When the Key Artist is doing the work you’re handing every product and brush to them, so you need to be one step ahead and be ready before they even know what they’re going to do. You have to be focussed at all times.”

Of course, hard work can still be enjoyable. Especially when you’re making films for Gucci with a selection of some of the world’s top supermodels. 

“It was amazing to see the production put together for that shoot. Some the rooms were stacked on top of each other. Some would actually teeter from side to side to create the movement you see in the video. I was constantly on my feet running up and down stairs, but it was so worth it. I got to work with Stylist Katie Shillingford and the amazing Hairstylist Alain Pichon. The models – Suvi Koponen, Diana Moldovan, Nadja Bender, Kasia Struss, Clement Chabernaud, and Arthur Gosse – were fantastic to work with and extremely professional. There’s a reason why they’re so successful.

Blanche Macdonald Graduate Breianne Zellinsky

“Assisting Ayami is always an unforgettable experience. She works so quickly and incredibly efficient. She never wants anyone waiting on her. She knows that the models don't like sitting in her chair for any longer than they need to. I learnt so much from her.

“Working on Triumph’s lingerie campaign in Ibiza with Ayami was something I won't forget either. Every day was go, go, go! I was organizing and preparing the makeup kit, getting the kit safely to the location, making sure that the station was set up efficiently, preparing the models, making sure their bodies were flawless, and maintaining the makeup throughout the day. The main model for that shoot was Hannah Ferguson. I knew she would turn big and sure enough she exploded as a Sports Illustrated model.”

Blanche Macdonald students now have ringside seats for these and many more stories. The lure of home and West Coast fresh air brought her back to Vancouver and into the classrooms of Canada’s top Makeup School, where techniques and tales from fashion’s front lines provide daily enlightenment for her students.

"I love sharing my knowledge and my experiences, although I’m definitely a tough love teacher. I’m friendly and involved, but I also set the ground rules. Soon students will be working around people they don’t know, and they need to behave in a way that’s professional. I try very hard to prepare them for the real world.”

 “I love seeing the passion in the students, where their drive and skill shines through. The improvement in their work warms my heart. I had a student who couldn’t do eyeliner when she started with me but by the end of my module she had no problems creating that perfect line. I’ve had some incredible experiences, but it was still amazing to think that I was the one who gave her the confidence and direction to make that possible.”

Top-Makeup-School-News-Breianne-Zellinsky

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Thu, 30 Jun 2016 00:00:00 PST
ONE TO WATCH: BLANCHE MACDONALD FASHION DESIGN GRADUATE HILARY MACMILLAN DAZZLES AT TORONTO FASHION WEEK AND BEYOND http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/news/current/2016/top-fashion-design-school-graduate-hilary-macmillan/ Top-Fashion-Design-Graduate-Hilary-MacMillan

"My mother is an artist, so growing up I was always engaged in some art project. She encouraged me to be creative and to think outside of the box from an early age.”

Every designer’s story is a little different; for some it takes time for the realization to slowly dawn, but for others, it is an innate sense of purpose. For Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design graduate Hilary MacMillan, it's as though every step along the way was kismet, propelling her to where she is today.

Boston-born and Toronto-raised, it was an Undergraduate Degree at the University of British Columbia in Political Science and Economics that originally brought Hilary to Vancouver. However, it was during this time that she decided to change direction, recognizing that her life-long love affair with fashion could in fact become her career.

Her creative journey started at the Blanche Macdonald Centre, when she made the life-altering decision to scrap law school and pursue her unshakable passion for art and design. With a clear artistic vision and a passion to create for the modern urban women she was surrounded by, Hilary’s namesake label has been turning heads since its inception in 2012. Fast forward to present day, Hilary has just established a new stockist in Morocco, allows celebrities to pull her garments for Toronto International Film Festival and is showing both Fall and Spring collections at Toronto Fashion Week. We've come to conclusion, this was always her calling.

Top-Fashion-Design-Graduate-Hilary-MacMillan

Following her graduation, Hilary moved back to Toronto to help her sister with her independent jewelry store, ELLE Hardware in the chic and artistic neighbourhood of Queen Street West. Toronto, often referred to as Canada’s Fashion epicenter, is fueled by a collaborative creative energy. This vibrant and rich arts scene is home for Hilary, and using the skill set and training she took away from her time in Vancouver at Canada’s Top Fashion Design School, her strength and aptitude for design was able to take flight. Maybe it was the ever-inspiring and creative climate of the neighbourhood, or just a yearning to create, but it was during this time that Hilary designed her first independent capsule collection.

"I had designed a capsule collection and I was able to sell it at ELLE Hardware. I was so fortunate to have this outlet to see how customers responded to my garments and reacted to each piece. From there, I started wholesaling to other boutiques and attending trade shows to gain contacts within the industry."

Armed with insider knowledge on her garments appeal, Hilary was ready to take the next big leap.

"I did a couple more collections like this and then I started to show at Toronto Fashion Week. This propelled my designs further into the Industry. People were beginning to recognize my brand and who I was. It was a very exciting time."

Top-Fashion-Design-Graduate-Hilary-MacMillan

Hilary pulls inspiration from a myriad of places: her Scottish heritage, her love of realist art, the Canadian landscape, and the history of fashion itself. Reflecting back on her time at Blanche Macdonald, it is evident that her education continues to be an inspiration for her collections.

"I loved Fashion History and learning about past designers and design history. I’ve always been really inspired by past decades and I still think back to that whenever I’m producing a new collection. It's all in the details: epaulettes, military, corsetry. I carry this knowledge forward as it is still a huge inspiration for me."

During her time at Blanche Macdonald, Hilary also took advantage of the myriad of opportunities, knowing they would be a critical step forward for her career.

“During my time at school, I interned with Vancouver-based designer Erin Templeton and volunteered as a dresser as much I could, gaining the inner workings of behind the scenes of a Fashion Show. Most of the Instructors at Blanche Macdonald are working in the industry and they are there to help set you up for success. A standout instructor for me was Jenny Hedberg. She had her own design company and gave us real insight into the skills we would need to make it.”

Top-Fashion-Design-Graduate-Hilary-MacMillan

Hilary has built a career around creativity and passion, which only becomes more evident with each new collection she designs. Though each collection sees Hilary’s creativity and passion soar even higher, Hilary still has a clear memory of her most momentous collection.

"My most memorable collection to date would be Fall/Winter 2014. This is when I started developing my own prints. My mother is a realist painter and so she designed this beautiful pheasant which we produced as repeat pattern on fabric. Since then, I have always tried to develop a print that is aesthetically me; keeping a signature pattern each season.”

Top-Fashion-Design-Graduate-Hilary-MacMillan

Designing and incorporating a custom print for each season increases both the power and complexity of Hilary’s collections, serving to illustrate just how much Hilary’s design abilities have grown.

"I am constantly growing as an artist and discovering new techniques. Each season I like to see how I have improved from the past seasons. This really drives me to try and discover new ways to be inventive and push myself."

Hilary’s Fall/Winter 2016 collection earned high praise at Toronto Fashion Week this past March. Her collection was to date, one of the most-raved reviewed shows of the season. Off the runway, it was the most talked about collection on Twitter, and her garments were spotted on the likes of Kim Cattrall and the cover of Glow Magazine. Bloggers, journalists and fashion fervours alike flocked to get a sneak peek of this cutting-edge collection.

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Innovation, ambition, and talent: Hilary is the embodiment of these qualities, and the prime example of what comes when you pursue what you love.

"I love when I see someone wearing my garments. The fact that they chose that piece to put on that day, that someone actively sought out something you created and wanted to wear it – it’s a big moment.”

We know for Hilary, there will be many more big moments to come.

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Wed, 04 May 2016 00:00:00 PST