Aspiring Young Fashion Designer Wins National Student Design Contest

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For someone who only recently took an active interest in the fashion world, Kiko Wu is very quickly making her talents known.

The Grade 11 student late last month took home first place (and $500) in the fashion design category of the Sears DX Canadian High School Design Competition for her jacket and skirt combination. Not only that, she was also awarded the George J. Klein medal in the competition, awarded to the overall single-best entry in the entire competition.

The design, inspired by the work of Henrik Vibskov, and the pattern, inspired by calligraphic elements found in her English and Chinese name, were both original works she created by hand.

“I took elements from my Chinese name and my English name, the strokes, and I made 40 different patterns
for it. Based on those patterns, I sketched 60 illustrations,” Kiko says. “I played with different fonts, so, to make the patterns I enlarged one SMUS-SS-KikoWu-LizDungate-02part of the name and repetition makes it into a pattern.

“Instead of printing the pattern that I chose for my final piece on the fabric, I decided to create the shape of the pattern with the outfit I made.”

It took more than two months to sew the outfit, including an all-nighter right before her photo shoot, but she says the craziness of the fashion world is what she loves about it.

“I like being busy. I was so busy in the summer working on fashion projects I was going to class in the morning and working all night. I had no social life but I enjoy it, because I learned a lot. And once you see your outfits in the photo shoots it’s all worth it; you feel like you’ve accomplished something,” Kiko says.

Last summer and through the winter she attended fashion design courses at Openstudio Academy of Art and Design in Vancouver. Now that her Grade 12 year is approaching, she says she’ll focus her time more on academics, before hopefully reentering the fashion world in post-secondary.

“I want to study fashion business in London, at Central Saint Martins,” Kiko says.

She says winning the Sears DX (Design Exchange) competition validates that fashion is the path she should take in life.

The competition has five different categories – fashion design, costume design, architecture/interior design, industrial design and graphic design – and attracted more than 700 entries. Grade 11 student Sid Boegman was given honourable mention in the costume design category.

Mrs. Anna Forbes, Head of Art at SMUS, encourages her students to enter the competition and says she’s incredibly proud of Kiko’s accomplishment.

“For her, this is a wonderful achievement. She worked so hard on this,” she says. “She produced this amazing set of designs and she certainly deserves that win.”

Read more about the Sears DX competition on the Design Exchange website.

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Kyle Slavin
Kyle Slavin is the school's storyteller. Through words and photos, he shares with the community all the amazing things that happen on campus.

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