Most unfortunately, last weekend I managed to finally drop my Blackberry one too many times. It was one of those nights where you know you should have had your shit better put together, and you lament the fool you were for even going out in the first place. Not that I didn't love seeing my fantastic friends, carrying on one of a kind conversations with the brightest and most unique young minds of our generation. Perhaps I'm exaggerating, but these people are great, and I always feel lucky I know them.
Anyways, I've dropped my phone about 1500 times prior to this incident in which the corner of the screen cracked, spoiling the view of the entire screen. I didn't even do anything specifically dumb, it just fell out of my hand and hit the metal base of the table I was seated at.
So the good news is, I got to buy a new phone. :D
The other good news is that sans my palm sized connection to the technological world, I had a lot of time to think about the progression of my work over the past 4 1/2 years since the debut of Petey the Troll in 2007 at the Grandstand FashionShow II at Phog Lounge in Windsor, Ontario. I recall that winter, I was working at Fabricland, your friendly local fabric retailer and where all the really cool old ladies go to work after they've lived their fantastic young lives. I wanted to make a trench coat so badly. I studied the way they were made by buying them at thrift stores and cutting them into pieces. Of course I knew absolutely nothing about pattern making at that point and shutter to think of some of my earliest prototypes, but I worked my ass off trying to figure out the intricacies of the trench coat so that some day I could successfully make one, or two, or three.
That was just the beginning for me, and for Meaghan and I as a team called Petey the Troll. Meaghan got involved initially because I was too shy to attend the meeting about our first fashion show at Phog by myself. For the first year she developed (ghetto, in retrospect, but never the less) makeshift screen printing facilities in the basement of the house I was living in at the time and we produced one of a kind hand printed, dyed and sewn tshirts for the folks of Windsor to collect and display.
Soon afterwards, Meaghan began making items of her own and contributing them to the collections I was putting together. We soon came to the conclusion that we worked particularly well together and that our styles were just similar and different enough to look extraordinarily unique and appealing. When the previous organizers of the Grandstand Fashion shows in Windsor retired their positions, finished their Masters degrees and moved out of the city in pursuit of greater things. As a result I took it upon myself to organize and promote small shows in Windsor alongside other designers such as DillyDaisy, theefamily and Jenn Lopez. It was this kind of experience in addition to our distinctive style of photographing local faces in our clothes, using only local artists for the photography, the printing and the modelling.
In March of 2010 Petey the Troll were preparing to show our first small Couture line Petey Couture at the recognized Toronto Alternative Fashion Week wherein they showed 10 outfits and were featured in several articles back home as a result. This is when it got real for me.
Our decision to move to Toronto from Windsor became finalized not long after this point. We were paying the bills in Windsor by working small theatre jobs and costume commissions, but it wasn't what I wanted and I knew I had to leave Windsor. So Meaghan and I decided to enrol in a design school in Toronto for an exorbitant tuition and packed up our clothes to move here, our current home, in January 2011.
Obviously if you know us, you know that design school didn't exactly work out. I knew on the first day that it wasn't going to be a place that I would last very long due to the fact that we spent three hours in a lab learning to thread a sewing machine :S. Over the next couple of months, I stuck it out in the program to acquire the necessary skills and information to advance my draping and pattern making skills, to further my creative abilities with regards to design. I met some fantastic people, the professors especially. They were inspiring in their precision and their thorough knowledge of their trade, that it made me a much better seamstress and a very effective pattern maker and draper – even after dropping out in the middle of the second semester. :P It was like I got it too well, too fast and it was tremendously boring going through the painstaking process of learning how to sew a straight line, which i've been working on for at least the last 10 years.
What finally broke it for me was when I was working on a wedding dress for my dear friend Courtney Thomas of the photography duo WetFresco out of Windsor, Ontario. I was perfectly pinning each little gather and sewing my tiny baby hem on the soft fabric in the sewing room at school, and I stopped and realized that my fellow students in their at the time (all in much further advanced classes than I,) were working on a-line skirts and other such simple garments. I was out of place. So one day I just took out my Blackberry, emailed the President and walked out of my classroom. Post-Secondary education and I haven't been friends since 2008. Meaghan stuck it out for a while longer but eventually joined me in the working world outside any organized design institutions which claimed the only road to success is paved in money and connections. My perspective has always been that talent, and creativity and initiative could overcome such barriers, and that there was room for success for artists still, especially in a city like Toronto.
So anyways, Petey's up and going again and I'm working on a menswear line, due for completion March 2012! All I can say is that I've never done a line like this before and I'cve already surprised myself at the new designs and ideas that I've been keeping inside for months prior.
Anyways thanks a ton for reading, and look forward to more pictures and udates in the upcoming weeks! Thanks!