The Faces Behind the Fashion

A Glimpse Into the Minds of Two POP Fashion Designers

Graphic Flora Hammond

As Coco Chanel famously put it, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only—fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, and the way we live.”

Nowhere is this concept more apparent than on the streets of our cosmopolitan city, and POP will be flaunting the best of the best in their seventh annual fashion show.

Fashion POP is a competition featuring six of the city’s rising designers. The winner will be granted a $1,000 cash prize from clothing giant Le Chateau and have an editorial spread in Worn fashion journal, along with a pop-up exhibition at Espace POP.

POP Fashion coordinator Heather Campbell is looking forward to the diverse fashion in this year’s show, with competing designers fresh out of a number of schools such as UQAM and LaSalle College.

“I think that’s going to be really interesting in terms of showing whether the schools take a different approach in their programs, and whether or not that will be evident in the clothing,” Campbell said.

Two of these up-and-coming designers are Christina Julien and Daniel Quiroz, and The Link got to discuss their fashion ambitions with them.

Who Needs Pants?

Upon first glance, Julien has fashion written all over her—entering The Link office, she’s dressed entirely in black, wearing mod cat-eye makeup and sporting blunt bangs across her forehead.

Born in Northern Quebec and raised between Montreal and the Florida coastline, Julien started designing clothing at a young age.

“[Since I was] a kid, I always designed and I saw it as a pastime and hobby. I wanted to play around with the clothes that I wore, and I wanted to create clothes for myself,” she said.

“Finally, I went for it and learned pretty much everything from A-Z in school.”

Having recently completed a degree in fashion design at LaSalle College, Julien hopes her first POP experience will be a memorable one.

“They approached me and I entered my designs and some photographs I had, but I also submitted some designs I had drawn along with a little synopsis of my collection,” she said.

The synopsis describes her design style as being inspired by “the simplicity and playfulness of the mid-’60s art and films, with clean, uncomplicated lines, and a focus on sustainability.”

Julien’s eyes light up as she elaborates on her inspirations.

“It makes me excited to see the big contrasts graphically and the interesting shapes, which ultimately makes me excited about fashion,” she said, adding that show-goers can expect to find these influences in her collection.

“Everything I was designing was kind of dabbling with minimalism and suprematism, and I just couldn’t really get away from that,” she said.

“I worked on this collection at LaSalle and I was just thinking, ‘Okay, what is the essence of what I like in design?’ So I tried to include a lot of basics like pants and shorts. There’s a little bit of everything in the collection,” she continued.

If she wins this competition, Julien said that she would like to start a mini-collection. When asked what the collection would consist of, she admitted that it would be comprised mainly of dresses, which she said is her favourite garment to design.

“It’s just so easy; you don’t have to worry about anything else, like pants!” she laughed.

Fashionista Aliens

Unlike Julien, Quiroz never considered fashion design as a possible career path until a little later on in his life, when friends encouraged him to pursue it after making fashion-savvy creations in an art class.

From there, Quiroz’s interest in the industry grew, and he eventually entered the Montreal Graduate School of Fashion Design, where he is currently a student.

Quiroz has worked backstage and helped design runway pieces for José-Manuel St-Jacques and Simon Bélanger, designers of Montreal-based brand UNTTLD. This summer, he worked as an assistant for conceptual designer Maryla Sobek.

His says his internships have prepared him for entering the fashion world as an individual designer.

“Before the deadline, […] I want everything to be so perfect!” he told The Link in an email. “I could spend nights without sleeping to finish the whole thing. Overall, fashion is crazy, crazy, crazy, and that’s what I like about it!”

Quiroz gushed about British icon Alexander McQueen, who he cites as his favourite designer.

“I just love every single piece of his work,” he said. “He was such a genius, and I wish I could have met him.”

Quiroz became involved with POP after a friend told him about the contest, two days before the application deadline. He’ll be showing a mini-collection he developed during the summer.

“I was really inspired by aliens and the sci-fi world,” Quiroz says. “I was in the mood to create these evolutional creatures that became one with their clothes, and live through them by sharing the same energy.”

Fashion POP // Sept. 25 // Rialto Theatre (5723 Parc Ave.) // 8:30 p.m. // Free admission