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Meet Janell Bye: JCI Fashion & Hair Artistry Graduate


Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Janell Bye moved to Vancouver, BC at the age of 19 and immediately fell in love with the city. Starting out young, Janell was a personal hairstylist to her many Barbie dolls when she was growing up. She later began practicing braiding and curling techniques on her friends. There was no doubt that Janell had a passion for hair and wanted to pursue a career as a hairstylist.

“What stood out almost immediately was the individuality and all of its forms. From hairstyles to artwork, to clothing and tattoos, Vancouver was all so new and inspiring. When I am not cutting hair I am biking the Seawall, enjoying the outdoors, and hanging out with friends.” 

Janell’s journey at John Casablancas Institute first began in 2014, when she enrolled in the Fashion Business & Creative Arts Program. Not only was Janell passionate about hair, she was just as interested in fashion and creative arts.

“Coming from an art and fashion background I can appreciate how hair and fashion can reflect an individual’s personal style. Having a good hair day is something everybody strives for. I love the artistic outlet that both the Fashion and Hair Artistry Programs have given me and I love when I get the opportunity to bring my fashion knowledge behind the chair to my clients.”

Weaving two industries together has allowed Janell to know what’s trending in both fashion and hair. She is currently working on a blog which will be her outlet for sharing her knowledge of both industries in one spot.

Before beginning the Hair Artistry Program at JCI, Janell had scored herself a position as a receptionist at Hairsoda, a salon located in North Vancouver. With great mentors to teach her all the insider tips and tricks to becoming an amazing hairstylist, Janell was inspired every day.

Shawn Scheepers, founder of Hairsoda, and hairstylist Jericka Los are two of JCI’s Hair Program graduates who have been working alongside with Janell and had nothing but amazing things to say about the Program. This influenced Janell’s decision to enroll at JCI in September 2017. 

“JCI focuses on hands-on experience and teaching techniques that are current. It has given me such a solid foundation, and learning from instructors who are currently working in the industry gave all of us students real-world experience. I loved the fact that we learned haircuts on the first day and we got to work on clients shortly after. A lot of my teachers went to JCI as well which is encouraging, as many of them have successful careers in the industry.”

While working at Hairsoda, Janell was inspired by the stylists around her and all things creative. Instagram is a platform with many international hairstylists and a few stylists that Janell was influenced by were Habit Salon, Michelle Hair, Guy Tang, Chris Weber, Elissa Wolfe (JCI Hair graduate), Hair by Sarmad, Zach Mesquit and Eva Lam

“My style is definitely bohemian— I love creating big bold braids and beachy waves. I love the undone messy but put together look, if that makes any sense.”

One of the biggest lessons Janell learned was to network while at school. Graduating from both the fashion and the hair program, she has a great understanding of both industries and can merge the two careers together to help her clients feel their very best.

“Do the JCI mixers and BYOBS, I met so many amazing makeup artists and fashion stylists and other hair students. You may end up collaborating down the road and it is a great way to build relationships with other artists in the industry.”

The Hair Industry is very competitive, as well as Fashion— which is why networking and getting hands-on experience is extremely beneficial.

“I was lucky to have great mentors who took the time to teach me in a real salon environment. Also, never underestimate the power of social media. Instagram is a necessity to build your portfolio. It is a great way to showcase your quality of work and is also a value to your potential clients, as it showcases your individual talent and what sets you apart from the rest. It is so important to be consistent with your posts and Instagram is a great tool for all stylists to have.”

Janell is currently working as a stylist-in-training at Hairsoda and hopes to be fully-booked at the salon while continuing to learn new techniques and be up to date with the industry.

“My goal always is and always will be to make sure my clients leave my chair loving their new look. Whether its a trim, cut, color or an entire style, I want them to genuinely love their new hair and feel both confident and beautiful. I love being a part of the process of a client getting a makeover, whether it’s a trim or a dramatic new look—  I hope my clients are completely satisfied and leave the chair feeling their best!”

Janell’s Must-Have Hair Products: Dry shampoo from Dove (Drugstore find) and Purple Shampoo and Conditioner from Kevin Murphy

Follow Janell Bye’s Hair Instagram Page

Hair Stylists and Colour Technicians are sought out in some of the most exciting and fast-paced industries in the world including film, fashion, TV and photography. The Hair Art Design Program at JCI is the only accredited hair school in BC approved for a 520-hour curriculum. The program is 20 hours per week and offers the option of morning, afternoon, evening or weekend classes so that students can work at their current jobs while retraining for a new career. Our faculty is comprised of top working professionals and guest instructors whose focus is on the future of hair. This is a modern program providing a strong foundation of cutting and colouring techniques.

Davneet Dhillon,
Blog / Fashion / Features

Reid Hepnar: Vancouver Fashion Designer


Meet Reid Hepnar… 

Born and raised in Agassiz, B.C, Reid Everett Hepnar knew it was his destiny to work in the fashion industry. Growing up in a small town in the Fraser Valley, a place completely devoid of fashion, Reid’s mother established a small women’s boutique— Reid’s first exposure to fashion.

At the age of seven, Reid spent his summers helping out his mother at her boutique with tasks revolved around steaming clothes, organizing jewellery displays or sorting a closet full of wire hangers.

“You could tell that the small town community appreciated the option of higher-grade trendy apparel. The experience of working at my mother’s boutique as a kid influenced my desire to run my own business.” 

Watching Project Runway throughout high school, a television show for up-and-coming designers to compete for a chance to show their collections at New York Fashion Week, inspired Reid to realize the vastness of the fashion industry in regards to aesthetics and career avenues. It allowed him to understand that there’s always a niche or consumer for what someone creates. Project Runway also inspired Reid’s first illustrations, where he sketched looks that followed the designers’ provided challenges.

“These experiences shaped both myself and my brand, and contributed to me finding my place in the fashion industry.” 

“Lady Gaga, without a doubt, is my absolute biggest inspiration. She is drama and theatrically incarnates and I can’t thank her enough for what she does as a performer and fashion icon. I also live for fashion drag icons like Sasha Velour, Pearl, Violet Chachki, and Detox.”

Reid has always been inspired by those who see fashion as a means of storytelling and performance— creating things greater than just what you might buy in a store. Alexander McQueen, Thierry Mugler, and Phillip Treacy all come to mind when Reid thinks of designers who fit that bill.

“Listening to Tim Gunn, my fashion spirit guide, give constructive and insightful critiques of what designers come up with on Project Runway has always helped me within my own craft. It’s a dream of mine to have my work critiqued by Tim Gunn, so he’s always in the back of my head telling me to make it work.”

Fast forward a couple years after high-school… 

After a co-worker convinced Reid to look into John Casablancas Institute, he took the advice and learned more about the Fashion Business & Creative Arts Program during his visit to JCI.

“I met with some of the most amazing faculty members and saw the learning environment which convinced me that this would be the right place for me to study Fashion. The view of Gastown alone was convincing enough!”  

Upon graduating the Fashion Business & Creative Arts Program, Reid enrolled in the Core Design Program at JCI, a program focusing more on designing and bringing a collection to real-lifesimilar to working in a real fashion design company.

For the past 7 years, Reid has worked for international fast-fashion brand H&M as a sales advisor, sales coach, and department supervisor. Now that he has graduated from JCI with two diplomas in Fashion Business and Fashion Design, he hopes to expand his skills in garment construction and pattern drafting.

“The biggest pro of working in the fashion industry is having creative freedom. This was a key factor for me when deciding on my career. I loved the idea of doodling something when a certain song or character inspired me and being able to turn a quick sketch into something tangible that someone could wear and appreciate.”

The fashion community itself is a diverse and creative environment for strong and unique personalities to work amongst. There is always the potential to travel for work, whether it’s for sourcing manufacturers or debuting runway collections during international fashion events. However, the fashion industry does have its cons which Reid acknowledges as a designer.

“I’d have to say the most significant con of the industry would be the quick turnover rate of trends and brand-relevance the industry is constantly subject to.”

A brand could be immensely popular and profitable one season and become completely irrelevant the next, which is something all designers have to worry about.

Reid intends to remain a Vancouver-based designer and set up an in-home design studio that’ll allow him to create custom pieces for clientele within the international television/film, music, and drag community. Aside from that, he hopes to acquire more experience within the industry working for established brands in design-oriented positions to gain a better understanding of the inner workings of a brand knowledge that can then be applied to his label.

“I would love the opportunity to present a runway collection during one the industry’s many international fashion events not only to showcase my label and gain a greater consumer following but to just bask in a moment where all eyes are on something I created and have it celebrated.”

Reid will be showcasing his Fall/Winter 2018 collection, entitled “LOIS” at the next John Casablancas Institute Fashion Show this summer. “LOIS”, was inspired by the life of Joan Crawford and her legacy in Hollywood, 86 year old American supermodel Carmen Dell’Orefice, and by contemporary drag fashion and culture. Lois, my fictitious muse for the collection, is a has-been Old Hollywood actress long past her prime and in complete denial of her fading significance amongst the Hollywood elite. She’s cutthroat, bitter, quick-witted, and unashamed to use any weapon at her disposal to get what she wants.

“The collection features semi-exaggerated features such as strong shoulders, high collars, and extreme wide-leg trousers and jumpsuits, implementing fabrics such as suiting and outerwear wools, jersey knits, upholstery brocade, and faux suede details. Think luxe, masculine, dramatic, ‘tongue-in-chic’.” 

Keep up with Reid Hepnar on Instagram for more behind the scenes of a fashion designer.

Love fashion and want to make it your career? JCI Institute Vancouver’s Fashion Business & Creative Arts Diploma Program provides students with a comprehensive overview of the fashion industry, combining creative and business elements. This diverse approach gives our fashion school grads a distinct advantage both in knowledge and skill. Prepare for many jobs in the fashion industry, including becoming a fashion buyer, fashion stylist, or for work in fashion merchandising. If becoming a fashion designer is more your speed, choose our Core Fashion Program. This course at our fashion design institute will give you all the skills you need to be a fashion designer. Choose between our fashion programs to find the best fit for you!


Davneet Dhillon,
Blog / Features

Youtube Channels to Follow Right Now


There’s no doubt that we’ve all searched for inspiration or “DIY” videos on Youtube. From beauty and fashion vloggers to fitness coaches and those who simply enjoy documenting their travels, there are a variety of entertaining videos on Youtube for anyone to watch.

Here’s a list of John Casablancas Institute graduates and Youtuber’s to follow right now:

Kimberley Margarita X Colour Creep 

JCI Makeup Artistry graduate Kimberley Margarita began in Youtube journey in 2015 and currently has over 78K subscribers. As a Professional Makeup Artist and Youtube phenomenon, Kimberley offers makeup tutorial videos on her channel, including Halloween tutorials, Avant Garde looks, and makeup challenge videos.

Check out her latest video: “Golden Goddess Makeup Tutorial

Emma Leger 

Emma Leger graduated from JCI with a diploma in Fashion Business & Creative Arts. She is currently working as a full-time blogger. Keep up with Emma on her travel journies and learn how to edit your Instagram and wardrobe from Emma’s Youtube channel.

Check out her latest video: “Week In My Life: LA

Samantha St. John X STJOHNNNN

If you’re interested in all things gore, then you have to follow Samantha St. John. After graduating the Makeup Artistry Program, Samantha knew she was interested in Special Effects Makeup, therefore she dedicated her Instagram page and Youtube channel to special effects looks. It’s basically Halloween 24/7 for Samantha!

Check out her latest video: “Boyfriend Does My Makeup

Sayeh Sharelo 

Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle, Sayeh Sharelo does it all. With over 84K subscribers on her Youtube Channel, 87K+ on her fashion Instagram page, and over 191K followers on her makeup Instagram page, there’s no denying that Sayeh is a beauty guru and fashion influencer. Sayeh graduated from JCI’s Fashion Business & Creative Arts Program and the Fashion + Beauty Makeup Program.

Check out her latest video: “Spring is Coming! Spring Lookbook 2018


Upon recently graduating the JCI Makeup Artistry Program, Leslie took her talent to Youtube where she vlogs about tutorials, must-have products and more.

Check out her latest video: “Try On Haul- Thrifting!

Nickeil Genesis 

JCI Makeup Artistry graduate Nickeil is all things creative! With over 13K followers on her Youtube Channel and over 46K followers on Instagram, she offers both makeup and hair tips and tricks. Nickeil is definitely an inspiration.

Check out her latest video: “Lunatick Cosmetic Labs Vampire Palette + SmoothSageMaster Collab

JCI has earned its internationally renowned reputation by taking a personalized approach to education.

Throughout each program of study, creativity and passion are celebrated to ensure that every student maximizes their potential and reaches their goals. Our small class sizes also reflect our commitment to quality education and fostering individual growth.

JCI not only focuses on providing the most cutting-edge and relevant training available, but it also takes your postgraduate success to heart. Program Directors and Industry Liaisons are on staff to assist your transition from initial concept to securing your dream job.

Our local and international connections give you unparalleled access to makeup, fashion, hair and spa opportunities, and we fully recognize that our reputation is defined by our graduates’ success. We’re searching for students that share our vision and will bring their unique style, commitment and drive to the table

Davneet Dhillon,
Blog / Fashion / Features

Agatha Collant by JCI Fashion Graduate Letícia Maciel Gonçalves


Letícia Maciel Gonçalves was born and raised in Campinas, Brazil, a city nearby Sao Paulo. Letícia moved to Vancouver in 2017 to study Fashion Business & Creative Arts at John Casablancas Institute.

After years of thinking that fashion was just a hobby, Letícia was ready to change that. She wanted to create a professional business involving her two passions: fashion and dance. In 2017 she enrolled at JCI to learn more about the fashion industry in order to start her brand: Agatha.

“My dancewear brand was the reason I wanted to study at JCI. I knew the Fashion Program would be the key to my growth in the industry, as well as my brands. I fell in love with JCI’s Program Outline and the structure of the course.” 

Letícia participated in ballet classes in 2014 and noticed the lack of clothing options in the dance industry. There had been limited options for brands and the quality of clothing. That was the moment Letícia became inspired to create a dancewear clothing line that would provide a comfortable fit, high-tech fabrics and a lot of stylish options.

The name Agatha came to Letícia’s mind as she began planning her brand. She wanted a name for her brand that would develop a strong sense of femininity.

“A girl that inspire others and is genuinely herself— that’s Agatha.”

Letícia is the founder and creative director of Agatha, while her mother Roberta Maciel is the co-founder and the lawyer of the brand. As of now, they are working on launching the e-commerce side of the business, which will be available worldwide very soon. Letícia designs the ideas for her brand and has a team of seamstresses who bring the garments to life.

“My mother Roberta Maciel has always encouraged me to follow my gut and supported me with every decision.” 

The latest collection for Agatha Collant includes options for womenswear and kidswear. The collection is timeless and the leotards are flexible.

“My dancewear tights can be worn from a yoga class to a lunch date in the city!” 

During her time at John Casablancas Institute, Letícia has learned that if you act professionally in the industry and are genuinely a good person, doors will always open for you. Networking is something Letícia would highly recommend to anyone interested in working in the fashion industry. It’s important to build connections, especially when starting your own business.

“If you want to create your own business one day then you have to go in with a strong mindset and take the risk to do what you truly love.”

Besides attending ballet classes twice a week and working as a creative director for Agatha Collant, Letícia enjoys yoga and high-intensity workouts.

“For me, beauty is not strictly about what clothes you wear, instead it also has to do with your mind and soul.” 

Follow Agatha Collant on Instagram. 

Love fashion and want to make it your career? JCI Institute Vancouver’s Fashion Business & Creative Arts Diploma Program provides students with a comprehensive overview of the fashion industry, combining creative and business elements. This diverse approach gives our fashion school grads a distinct advantage both in knowledge and skill. Prepare for many jobs in the fashion industry, including becoming a fashion buyer, fashion stylist, or for work in fashion merchandising. If becoming a fashion designer is more your speed, choose our Core Fashion Program. This course at our fashion design institute will give you all the skills you need to be a fashion designer. Choose between our fashion programs to find the best fit for you!

Davneet Dhillon,
Blog / Fashion / Features

Phased by LJ at Vancouver Fashion Week F/W 2018


John Casablancas Institute Core Design graduate Lyndsey Jackson showcased her latest collection for her brand, Phased by LJ, at Vancouver Fashion Week’s Fall/Winter 2018 show. It was Lyndsey’s first-ever showing at VFW and she definitely left her mark on the runway.

Born and raised in North Vancouver, Lyndsey has always been inspired by fashion and art. After living in Berlin, Germany in 2013, her mind opened up to the excitement of arts and creativity.

Image via Getty Images

“I achieved a Business Degree, but my heart was set on doing something more technical and with my hands.” 

From working in sales at a software company to becoming a fashion designer, Lyndsey took a leap of faith in her decision to follow her dreams. Although she had experience in the business and marketing side of fashion, Lyndsey wanted to take a dive into the technical part of the industry where she would learn all about design.

“I love Yohji Yamamoto— his aesthetic, style and mantra. I’m also inspired by the edginess in Alexander Wang’s collections. A lot of my inspiration comes from fashion and culture seen in music videos.”

Image via Getty Images

Falling in love with the fashion studio at John Casablancas Institute was one of the reasons Lyndsey decided to enrol in the Core Fashion Design Program. Knowing that it was a 6-month program focused strictly on design, Lyndsey knew she had to enrol at JCI with the goal of leaving with a marketable collection.

“I really learned to respect the creative process. It was frustrating at times, but as a designer, you’re probably not learning anything outside of the box if everything’s made easy.”

After graduating the Core Design Program, Lyndsey started working as a full-time stylist at Holt Renfrew and is the team lead for the H Project— Holt Renfrew’s speciality department which partners with organizations around the world that are socially responsible for the way products are created and by whom they are created, what materials are used, and how each organization gives back.

Image via Getty Images

Aside from working at Holt Renfrew, Lyndsey is working as a designer and taking on as many projects and contracts that come her way to developing her design skills.

“If you put your mind to something and set the right goals, there is so much that you can accomplish. I am super impressed with how much I have learned since I started at JCI. Exactly one year later I was already showing a collection of eight looks at Vancouver Fashion Week!”

Lyndsey’s brand Phased by LJ aims to provide adventurous and experimental women with new perspectives and a raw, unassuming sense of beauty. The brand is feminine with a sense of edge.

Image via Getty Images

“I’m always inspired by music, Japanese aesthetics and attitude.” 

The F/W18 collection for Vancouver Fashion Week was mainly inspired by electronic music and 90s aesthetics. A lot of layering pieces, tartan prints and asymmetrical details were seen in this collection. Lyndsey used knitwear and stretch materials in her collection but in unassuming ways. She enjoys the idea of turning knitwear into something edgy that can be dressed up but also comfortable to wear.

“I like the idea of something being a little off about a garment because in life nothing is ever perfect, you have to learn to appreciate the chaos— it adds character.” 

Image via Getty Images

After an incredible fashion show at VFW, Lyndsey was grateful for the opportunity to showcase her designs at the show. She had the chance to collaborate with her boyfriend who helped bring the visuals for the show together and the 90s inspired house music with a modern spin that played while the models walked down the runway.

“Phased by LJ will definitely keep the energy from VFW going. I’m beginning to work on inspirations and plans for my next collection and hopefully this Fall I’ll be able to make a trip to Japan!” 

Although Fashion Design is Lyndsey’s main focus, she also enjoys traveling, finding new music and socializing. She will continue working at Holt Renfrew as it is great exposure to contemporary and designer products.

“I love learning from various brands on how they market themselves in such a competitive industry. The fabrics and craftsmanship that goes into these pieces are amazing. It’s great to learn about how some of the top-of-line garments are made and analyzing the details on them. I enjoy being working in high fashion.” 

With her love for design and culture, Lyndsey hopes to get hired as a stylist or designer for music videos one day. As of now, she will continue to work on developing her brand, while working as a stylist and team lead at Holt Renfrew.

Love fashion and want to make it your career? JCI Institute Vancouver’s Fashion Business & Creative Arts Diploma Program provides students with a comprehensive overview of the fashion industry, combining creative and business elements. This diverse approach gives our fashion school grads a distinct advantage both in knowledge and skill. Prepare for many jobs in the fashion industry, including becoming a fashion buyer, fashion stylist, or for work in fashion merchandising. If becoming a fashion designer is more your speed, choose our Core Fashion Program. This course at our fashion design institute will give you all the skills you need to be a fashion designer. Choose between our fashion programs to find the best fit for you!

Davneet Dhillon,
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