We are pleased to present knitwear fashion designer and JCI almuni, Sally Sandusky, for Vancouver Fashion Week. Sally’s collection, Sally Omeme, will be showcased on Wednesday, March 16th. In the meantime, we got to chat and learn more about Sally’s journey in the fashion world.
Tell us about your story. What got you into fashion designing and the fashion industry?
I remember the first time I saw a fashion show. It was in the mall, I remember the hair, makeup and clothing the models wore. I remember how they walked to the beat of the music. Most importantly, I remember how the rhythm of everything combined became the beat in my heart; that made me feel alive. I thought I wanted to work in the modelling industry. I attended Olds College shortly out of high school and worked several positions in retail, including managing a small store when I was in my early twenties. Then I ended up working in health care, which was definitely an unexpected turn. It’s interested to see how our lives are knit together with a purpose and a plan. Before I went into health I thought my dreams of working in fashion were over. I wasn’t sure that I had the talent to go to fashion school. One day I asked my Mom, if she would knit me this scarf, I had this Amazing idea for. And she replied no, Ill teach you how to knit it yourself. Patiently she showed me the basics for knitting – “ Stick your needle INto the Loop, Wrap your yarn AROUND, Pull your other needle from UNDERneath, and slip the stitch OFF onto your other needle. There the beat of In around under off was born, and that is how I learned to knit. One year knitting 75 scarfs. There was a fire that was ignited. I have worked with many Amazing Nurses and Care Aides, and met so many incredible Residents. The nurses and care aides I have worked with are everyday Heros, and the Residents I have met some of them although their faces may not grace the cover of Vogue, will always remain beautiful in my heart. It was in 2011, I discovered JCI Institute, and after being accepted hoped on a plane with two suitcases. I had one nights reservation and knew I needed to find a place to live. and Fast! I have to admit I was terrified. Itwas sink or swim time. I have to admit, My year at JCI had many challenges, and there was several times, I had to make the choice to rise, but at the same time, they opened many opportunities for me, and help me to walk on the path towards my dreams.
Where do you find inspiration from for your clothing designs?
I find lots of inspiration through music. Feeling the beat of a song, combined with a textile. I often use the beat of a song to help me find my rhythm in knitting. I can often be seen taking knitting breaks by using my knitting needles as drum sticks, or even dancing and knitting at the same time (What? Oh yes!) A dress I knit once was inspired from a lamp. I loved the colours, and I thought, that would look neat as a dress!!! ALSO PLAY – sometimes you just need to play around!
From concept to production, what does it take to put together a clothing line?
I often have to ask myself the question, “ Can this be knit?” I up cycle 80% of the materials I knit by turning it into something knitable. But this season, I didn’t limit myself to up cycle only. For me it is completing the first piece, I sort of just get so many ideas from that. At this point I hand knit everything thing, and you can’t be afraid of trial and error.
As a fashion designer, do you have any memorable or favourite memories and/ or accomplishments?
It’s all about the journey – Yes definitely, I fondly remember those quiet moments in the middle of the night when I would take a break from a passion project, and I would walk to the 24/7 store to get a treat, and to just breathe in the air and stare up at the stars. I loved to buy magazines, and browse through looking at knits. I would compare a scarf I had just knit, to one in the magazine, and ask, “ Could I really do this?” It’s often those first moments, that I hold in my heart. The first time I knited for a John Casablancas Fashion Show and seeing something I hand knit come down the runway. Those moments are the most precious, because a dream I wasn’t sure was possible.. was!
What’s next for you? Are there any projects that we can look forward to in the next year?
Life is always filled with crazy and exciting opportunities. The one thing I learned is you can wait for things to happen, or you can go out and make them happen. And in the process of making things happen sometimes doors just open up, and it is up to you to leap through. I am being featured in ACF magazine when it comes out, ( you will be able to find it in Chapters). My plate is definitely full, and will keep you posted when and if they come into fruition, but there is definitely things happening behind the scenes. I have been invited to participate in fashion shows in Paris, and Australia. Almost had the opportunity to dress some Rockstars, and have been asked to apply for a reality tv show. I honestly don’t know where life is taking me, all I know is that it is because of the love, and support of my instructors at John Casablancas Institute, they helped point me in the direction of my dreams of designing knitwear, and I am eternally grateful.
Check out the JCI website for more information about our Fashion Business & Creative Arts Diploma. Vancouver Fashion Week Winter/Fall 2016 runs from March 14th to March 20th. For more information, visit their official website at: www.vanfashionweek.com