By Sarah Ward
Photography by Kalynn Friesen
“I’m the postmodernist epitome. I’m into everything.”
When Toronto-based designer Emily Woudenberg looks for inspiration for her collections, style and fashion are not the only things on her mind. The creator of self-titled Woudenberg Designs looks at fashion design in a refreshing, unique way.
“The Woudenberg aesthetic is very androgynous, shapeless, and it’s a lot about taking an image and a message, and framing it across mediums,” she says. “I want to make it an experience and not just a fashion show. Woudenberg Designs is commercial: it’s about an expression of what I want to present to the world.”
Woudenberg is currently studying graphic design at Sheridan College, and she also went to an arts high school. Her education is a major building block behind the image that the young designer has been developing for her line over the past year and a half. While she creates clothing and jewelry, Woudenberg has a strong focus on the overall image and branding of the line. She is interested in much more than the fashion behind what she is creating: she is focused on the whole package.
The young designer’s attitude has brought her a long way in the Canadian fashion world in a short period of time. She has been showcasing her clothing and jewelry designs at the city’s |FAT| Arts & Fashion Week for three years, and her signature Woudenberg line is just over a year old but is already receiving praise on a national level.
Woudenberg attributes her success to her label’s features: “I know a lot of my cuts are very awkward. Nothing fits the way it should but I’ve designed pieces like this enough that it’s obvious this isn’t an accident, which makes my line unique. I also think the way I’m branding on different platforms stands out.”
With a strong interest in many art forms, Woudenberg is heavily focused on film and involves it in most of her fashion work. She says that working with people in film acts as an extension to her education. It also helps develop the brand image that Woudenberg Designs strives for.
“I think brands and images are stronger when you have the same message being communicated in different ways,” she explains. “It creates an overall consumer experience and allows you to grab different parts of it.”
And what does she plan for the future? “Once I graduate, I want to take some time off and do a few internships internationally. In terms of taking my designs somewhere, as much as I’d love to check out Europe, I’m very interested in the commerciality and branding of fashion, and I feel that Europe focuses on the best fabrics and quality. I’m interested in things that are overproduced and manufactured. I love the industrial process.”
Woudenberg’s latest |FAT| collection
Photography by Dmitri Moisseev