I recently finished a 6 week sewing class at The Cutting Room in Vancouver’s trendy Kitsilano neighborhood.
The Cutting Room is the brainchild of Liza Deyrmenjian, a fashion industry veteran with over 25 years of experience in apparel design and production. Liza kindly answered a few questions I had about her experience in the fashion industry.
Tell us about your vision for The Cutting Room.
I wanted to create a space where people could learn how to sew, take fashion design, illustration and pattern making and draping classes all in the midst of a work room that also makes for some of Vancouver’s top brands. I really wanted our students to understand the fashion industry by learning along side professional sewers, pattern makers and designers.
You’ve had a lot of success in the fashion industry from setting up companies and manufacturing services in Vancouver, consulting with celebrities on ther fashion lines in Los Angeles to businuess seminars in New York. What is your favorite part of the journey so far?
I like taking ideas and bringing them to life. I think this is why the kids camps are in fact my favorite weeks of the summer! I love the energy and the desire to learn and the gratitude kids have and thrill when then learn something and make something. That is really fun for me.
On that same note; when I work with a client to bring their idea to life, not just proto type but when I get involved in the entire process of design execution to sales and business strategy. That is a lot of fun. I am working with one company now that I believe in so much and it has really charged me up. So thats a good feeling!
If someone was interested to work in the fashion indsutry but did not know where to start, what would you tell them?
Take our fashion design class! Here you touch on every aspect of fashion design from fashion designing via illustration to color, to pattern making, draping, sewing and also I teach the business and costing segment and also fabric and sourcing segment. So its a really great taster.
There are so many different areas in fashion- from social media to PR and Events to fashion show production and sales and marketing. But the love of design starts with in fact fashion design, even if you don’t end up as a designer when you understand the process you value the root of the business so much more it will only help you in whatever career path in fashion you choose!
I took the 6 week sewing class in July and August. I was the only student who signed up for this class so I had the amazing oppurtunity to work one on one with Quyem Lam (Lucky me!). Quyem has been sewing for over 40 years professionally and works for leading labels in North America including Umbro, IntraWest, Sitka and Nicole Bridger.
Quyem was always ready with a smile. She was very patient with me. I tend to be very hard on myself when I’m learning a new skill but she constantly reminded me that I was still learning.
Below are some of the results of my sewing classes including a tote bag, a sample shirt and an apron!
I’ve learned how to sew straight lines, curved lines, buttons, button holes, a tote bag, an apron and even a shirt. However, using a sewing machine and reading patterns are not the only things I’ve learned.
Sewing is similar to cooking in that there are tangible results at the end of the creative process. As a writer, I rarely get the pleasure of ‘holding’ my writing. Writing is focused on creating and communicating ideas. Sewing is about bringing ideas to physical life. I never realized that this was an important part of creating for me. I intend to explore it my own writing. How can I make my writing ‘come alive’?
Second, I now fully appreciate the care and work that goes into sewing a piece of clothing. Sewing is hard work. It was difficult on my back and eyes. At any one time while I was in class, there were other people learning how to illustrate and folks working on professional sewing project or digitizing patterns. Liza was often at her desk, no doubt tending to her various clients. There are actual people behind the clothes we wear – these ideas come from someone and someone makes them come to live. This is why it is so important to me to purchase clothes that are not only sustainable to the Earth but also, to its people in the form of fairly compensated labor.
If you’re interested in fashion design of any sort and live in the Vancouver area, do check out the classes at The Cutting Room.
I already have my eye on the fashion design class for next year…;)