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Designer Files: Janet Hill


After fashion school, what comes next? I graduated in 2006 from Ryerson's School of Fashion Design and since then my classmates have scattered far and wide - internships and jobs of all descriptions all over the world.

The exceptionally spunky ones launch their own lines right here in Toronto. What motivates them to become designer-entrepreneurs straight out of school? I asked Janet Hill, a fellow class of '06er, about what inspired her to create her own label.

Janet's designs are currently available at Boutique Le Trou, Pho Pa and TNT Blu in Toronto.

Why did you decide to become an independent fashion designer?

Curiosity is what lead me most to become an independent fashion designer. I wanted to see what I was capable of designing and making; I also felt it was the best way to get to do what I wanted.

If you could dress anyone in the world in your designs, who would you choose and why?

I began this collection with the idea of California; traveling to Japan showed me how wide spread these trends are, however bizarre the interpretation. I would like to see different people wear my line: people with different styles and from different cultures.
I used a lot of color because I want someone who will feel happy when she is wearing it.

As a young designer with a new line, what are your hopes for your brand, and what obstacles do you face?

I hope to grow this company. I have two goals which have to be looked at and reached from different angles. One is qualitative: I want to learn from each collection and make the next one better, the other quantitative: I want to grow my sales each season.

When working through the inevitable difficulties of developing a new business, what motivates you to persevere?

I take one step at a time. When things are going badly I heed these words:

"Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential." - Winston Churchill

I know making dresses is nothing like going to war but some mornings, I feel as if I'm gearing up for a siege.

How did you choose the designs to include in a small, tightly edited initial season?

I do all the patternmaking myself and I was only going to make pieces that I was capable of making the patterns for. I did have narrower options for this first season but each season, as I continue to learn, my options will grow.

If you found yourself in an elevator with the director of a major specialty department store, what would you say?

I would probably launch right into a rambling, bumbling, nervous spiel. Who knows what would happen after that?


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