After graduating from Ryerson in 1993, you launched the David Dixon label a mere two years later. Could you tell us how your experience at Ryerson helped you get to that point in your career?
After graduating Ryerson School of Fashion in 1993, I established my business in 1995. The tools that Ryerson gave me, was a great understanding of what I wanted to be-a fashion designer. The lessons of time management, practicing one's craft, and relationship building were key components outside of the regular curriculum.
While you were in school, you had the opportunity to apprentice with Canadian designer, Alfred Sung.Could you tell us a little bit about this experience and how it helped you with your career?
Part of the Fashion Design Program, co-operative education was an extension of the learning process. I had the opportunity to apprentice in the design firm of Alfred Sung in my earlier years, and had placements with smaller design studios to fully understand the differences and the similarities of running a design firm.
While you were at Ryerson you placed as second runner up in the Smirnoff International Young Designer Competition and the Moore Pearsal Leather Competition. How important do you think it is that students participate in competitions, and do you think they are a good way to get their names and designs noticed?
During my four years at Ryerson, I always pushed myself to be apart of extra curricular projects when it came to National and International Student Competitions. These competitions allowed me to explore my techniques and creativity, and at the same time introducing myself to the Fashion Industry.
You’ve collaborated and expanded your brand into other areas besides your clothing label, how has your role changed since these developments?
Part of my own development for my business is collaboration with other like minded companies to expand the David Dixon Brand into different arenas. For example, Town Shoes. In our 7th year we have carved a niche in the Canadian Market place for a desired line of shoes, bags, and sunglasses at an approachable price point outside of my collections.
This past May one of your dresses was the first sold at the Hudsons Bay’s anticipated launch of Kleinfelds. How has the emergence of big American labels/stores (such as Kleinfelds) within Canada helped local designers establish themselves within the industry?
The growth opportunities for Canadian Design, from American Retailers can phenomenal. My most recent addition to my brand was a Bridal Collection sold exclusively at Kleinfeld Canada. I was approached by The Hudson's Bay to do a collection, and from day one, it has been a wonderful experience. The collection will also be available in Kleinfeld NY, this summer!
Being one of the most established and notable Canadian fashion designers, what advice do you have for new fashion students?
My advice for emerging designers both students and graduated, really is to form a support group of people who believe in what they do. Fashion is an extremely competitive and an expensive business. The understanding of building valuable relationships, based on trust, good design, as well as professional are essentials. Egos and entitlement must be left at the door.
We’ve been spoiled to have you as a frequent guest at Mass Exodus, how does it feel to see the emerging Ryerson talent?
Over the years I have been delighted to be asked to judge graduating collections and viewing their vision at Mass Exodus. Each year, it brings back memories for me as a student, and that feeling of accomplishment at the year-end show. It is such a pleasure to be witness to that of the students and their families to see a summary of four years of work.
What were some of your most memorable experiences at Ryerson?
My most memorable experiences at the Ryerson School of Fashion, was really being in a environment of like minded people. We all had the passion to do what we loved to do. There were of course challenging times, but looking back it really was character building. I also learned If you wanted it bad enough, you had to work for it, and be authentic to yourself.