Grad competes on the reality catwalk
Having taken the fashion industry by storm at the 2007 L'Oreal Show in Toronto, recent Fanshawe College graduate Brandon Dwyer will once again take the spotlight at this season's television show “Project Runway Canada.”
The 22-year old is not only a former Fanshawe Fashion Design student, having graduated the program in May 2008, but will be the youngest contestant to appear on the show.
Having been chosen out of the many hopefuls to appear on “Project Runway Canada,” Dwyer, who grew up in Barrie, partially credits Fanshawe College's Fashion Design program for a step in the right direction.
“Fanshawe College's Fashion Design program played a huge part in my success,” Dwyer said. “Starting out in the program I really had no idea how to sew on a button never mind avant-garde eveningwear. All I had when starting the program was an open mind ready to learn, and the drive to push myself as far as I could. There were many ups and downs, many learning curves, but over all I had an amazing experience and have pushed people to take the course at Fanshawe when interested in that line of work.”
Designing beautiful clothes is a passion for Dwyer who exceeds expectations as he approaches every challenge and obstacle with a positive attitude.
Leigh-Ann Waller, the program coordinator for Fashion Design at Fanshawe admitted Dwyer as not being your ‘average student'.
“Brandon wasn't exactly a typical student. He is definitely a true artist with a vision and an eye for fashion,” Waller said. “Even he would joke that he wishes he had paid more attention in school… he was definitely willing to help others.”
According to Waller, Dwyer was also the one who had a vision and connections for the fashion program's now annual Unbound magazine, which highlights the work of each third year fashion design student.
Being part of an industry that is very unpredictable encourages up and coming designers to stay at the top of their game in order to succeed in the ever-changing world of fashion.
Seeing Dwyer chosen as a contestant on Project Runway Canada did not come as a surprise for Waller.
“By third year, Brandon was very focused on having a successful collection and wanted to make it to L'Oreal Fashion Week. He did work tremendously hard on his collection. I think he slept at the college for two months,” Waller said. “His collection of high-end dresses was beautiful, and after all he did make it to L'Oreal fashion week and was interviewed by Jeanne Beker who spoke very highly about his collections.”
And Waller believes Dwyer will bring a lot to the Canadian reality show.
“I do feel like he was a good choice for ‘Project Runway.' He has vision, raw talent, and passion. Pair this with networking and connections and a slightly off beat personality…and it's perfect drama for TV,” explained Waller.
Dwyer's advice for future designers is “to make sure what you're after, is truly something that you really want. If it is, then go after it with all your might without giving up. Also, don't get yourself down if bad things occur. Take them as learning experiences and grow from them.”
As to what the future holds for the dedicated designer, only time will tell.
“It's hard to say where I will be in the future because this industry is so incredibly unpredictable. But I definitely see myself still working on my collections season after season…but maybe with less stress,” admitted Dwyer.
Prior to being chosen for the reality show, Dwyer worked for Garage Clothing, Group Dynamite in Montreal and went on to create his own label.
According to Waller, Dwyer is still working towards his next collections and hopes to show in NYC or Toronto. He is fortunate to have support from family, friends and his teacher.
“If Brandon stays passionate and continues to learn as he goes, I see great success for his future as a designer. The apparel industry at large is pretty flat with the recession and will be slow to grow but Canada is still in need of some amazing Canadian talent,” added Waller.
The winner of “Project Runway Canada” will receive a cover and feature spread in ELLE Canada, a professional portfolio photo shoot courtesy of L'Oréal Paris, a ‘Runway to Retail' business mentorship with Winners and $100,000 to start their own fashion line.