Olivia Rubens showed her first collection, “Visus”, during her 2015 graduating show at Ryerson University. Throughout her career in fashion, she has been a finalist in the Danier Design Challenge, the NAFA Design Competition, and the Arts of Fashion Competition. Although she identifies as a contemporary womenswear designer, her brand has been characterized as conceptual with a heavy focus on tactility.
March 2016’s Vancouver Fashion Week marked the debut of her first collection as a brand rather than a single designer. “Uppruna” showed on the VFW runway for Fall-Winter 2016/2017, featuring natural colours and loose, flowing silhouettes.
Below is Olivia Rubens exclusive interview with Metro Living Zine.
How did you get your start in fashion?
When I was 16, I started exploring used clothing stores, and altering various clothing I bought. This slowly transitioned into my interest in fabric stores, then my leading position in the fashion show in high school, and my degree at Ryerson University in Fashion Design.
Do you have a muse?
My muses are Jessica Wanuch, and Alison Powrovnik. Unfortunately they are in different cities, and I am still looking for someone perfect in Toronto for me!
What type of music are you listening to right now?
I am listening to a lot of mellow electronica that I can listen to while I work, but I also listen to a lot of metal when I am out walking around. At the moment, I am listening to Kiasmos, and Jamie XX on one hand, and Lamb of God, and Stray From The Path on the other hand.
Which part of the job as a designer do you love? Which part do you dislike?
I love accurately, and freely being able to successfully create whatever crazy idea comes out of my head, and onto paper. Having learned how to really make anything in university has given me such a great feeling when everything comes together the way I initially envisioned it. Additionally, I love when my clients, and friends love, and understand the final product, because with such a conceptual perspective, it’s hard to know what people are going to think of the final product.
I detest tracing out patterns with seam allowance once the drafts are done. I wish that could be done for me, or with the snap of my fingers! It’s a very tedious, and lengthy process.
Which three designers inspire you, and why?
I love J.W. Anderson, Steve Tai, and Christopher Kane. I think all of them have a very beautiful, fluid grasp of their designs, and they also all have a very unique, and beautiful attitude towards colour combination. I [also] love textile design, and experimentation, in addition to a more conceptual idea of what clothing is, and can be, which I think they all express effortlessly.
What do you love, and dislike about Vancouver?
Seeing as I have always been an avid snowboarder, I love the view of the mountains behind the cityscape, and the fresh air that comes with all of it. I detest the rain. I would much prefer snow because I am a cold weather kind of girl.
What words of advice would you give to someone starting off in the business that you wish you had been given when you were starting out?
I am still just starting out, but I would really suggest that especially if you are in school, and you are exposed to fashion business students, to get close to one of those students, so that you can have a partner later on to help you out. The business side of fashion is so essential, and I wish I had someone to help me figure all that out now.
If your house was burning down which three things would you make sure you took out with you?
I would take my cat, my Rick Owens jumpsuit, and my Alena jumpsuit from my most recent collection.
Do your parents approve of you being a designer?
My parents approve, yes, but they only supported me so long as I got my degree first, which I am happy I did. They love what I do, and they are definitely my biggest supporters, which I love so much.
If you were not a fashion designer what other job would you like to be doing?
I think I would be either a snowboarder, a forensic scientist, or an architect.
What is the one fashion trend you wish had never happened?
I really hate the whole Adidas/Nike craze that is happening in Toronto right now. Just a touch of it is okay, but when everyone is all decked out, and everyone looks exactly the same, it loses its meaning, and everything along with it loses its uniqueness. I wish everyone would just get over it already.
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