Why did you choose to pursue an MA in Fashion at Ryerson and what did you gain from completing the program?
While studying art history at the undergraduate level at the University of Toronto, I especially enjoyed studying the link of class imagery depicted in art to a greater societal context. I chose to purse an MA in Fashion at Ryerson University because I wanted to learn more about how historical fashion objects have successively progressed in an interconnected way to shape contemporary societal attitudes. Not only was I able to specifically analyze paintings by incorporating critical theory analysis to better understand culture, status and gender roles while in the program but I was also able to interact and connect with School of Fashion faculty and students who share similar interests.
What are your research interests/areas?
Material culture, social history, and art history
Where are you now and how has your degree aided you in your current position?
I conduct research at Ryerson University. I collect data pertaining to School of Fashion alumni and generate quantitative conclusions. Having been taught a variety of research methods in the MA Fashion program has made my job a lot easier. Also, being a part of the School of Fashion community for the past 3 years has made my research relatable.
What interests you most about the discipline of Fashion Studies?
What interests me most is how critical theory can be applied in so many different ways in order to investigative the social history of fashion—broadening the horizons of how we analyze and perceive the way we dress, consume the things we buy and value the things we make.
What item in your wardrobe could you never part with and why?
I love my skinny jeans -- they are very comfortable and I love having the option of dressing them up with heels or dressing them down with a pair of sandals or sneakers.
Who’s your favourite fashion designer and why?
Ralph Lauren because he has created a lifestyle brand with Polo Ralph Lauren that appeals to status. From the label’s luxuriously decorated retail stores filled with leisure associated paraphanalia to the “big pony” logo itself which can be found on all merchandise, Polo Ralph Lauren emulates an upper-class lifestyle that my personal research has revealed to be desirable; people want to at least look as if they are rich and powerful. Having constructed an image relating to old wealth status, “fine breeding” and success and taking that into consideration when designing his clothes, Ralph Lauren has certainly allowed his customers to look the part.
What course did you most enjoy and why?
I enjoyed all of Elizabeth Semmelhack’s courses because her research interests closely align with my own. Learning about how objects of material culture as represented in painting can reflect a broader social history was exciting. I also enjoyed creating a sample museum exhibition in her curation course as the assignment promoted a greater appreciation for not only the objects contained in museums but the museum space itself.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d pass on to a student interested in applying to the program?
I recommend that interested applicants brainstorm potential topics for their MRPs, investigate the School of Fashion’s resources and research each faculty member’s areas of expertise. This in my opinion would allow for the applicant to assess if the program would be a good fit.