We are excited to announce that this year’s client for the Fashion Industry Exchange and Leadership Development (FIELD) project will be the designer brand, Tonia DeBellis.
Tonia DeBellis is a Canadian womenswear brand that is well-known for its “wear-anywhere-active-wear” collection. The brand focuses on design details and fit to create looks that are feminine and edgy for everyday living.
Fashion Business Management (FBM) students will need to use the accumulated knowledge from the program to assist their client with finding innovative and strategic solutions for their business.
For this year’s case study, the focus is on digital marketing strategies. Students teams are tasked to develop and market a seamless product collection for the Fall 2022 season.
In addition, the marketing strategy will need to attract new customers to the brand, drive traffic to their website and improve their social media engagement.
Now in its 12th year, the FIELD project will provide another opportunity for students to showcase their talents and network with industry professionals. The project has been an important event for students to kickstart their careers in the Fashion industry and land amazing job opportunities after graduation.
To check out more details about the project, visit our website at https://www.senecafield.ca/ or follow us on Instagram @senecafashion.
This year the School of Fashion proudly celebrates 10 years of FIELD and offering our students valuable experiential learning and networking opportunities.
FIELD (Fashion Industry Educational Exchange and Leadership Development) is a unique collaboration between the fashion industry and graduating students of Seneca’s Fashion Business Management Advanced Diploma program.
Each year, student teams partner with a fashion industry client who challenges them to assist with a real-life business opportunity.
Student teams apply their knowledge gained in their final year of study to develop strategic and creative solutions for the ‘client’. They present a summary of their findings to the industry partner and a panel of industry judges at the FIELD gala event and a winning team is chosen.
Now in its tenth year, FIELD offers an experiential learning and networking opportunity for students. For the industry partner, it’s a chance to give back to the community, work with emerging professionals in the field, and potentially gain insight into their own operation.
“I highly recommend like-minded brand stakeholders to consider partnering with the Seneca Field program as I am confident it will prove to be a positive disrupter, capable of elevating the passions and energies of everyone involved.” Robin J. Yates, VP, Nobis Inc. FIELD Partner, 2018.
“I left (the FIELD event) inspired and in awe of these amazing students! Their presentations were first class; professional, succinct and articulate. On behalf of all of us at Walmart, thank you for allowing us to be part of this amazing program — it was an honour!” Marlise Wilson Senior Director Merchandising, Apparel Kids & Family Basics Walmart Canada FIELD Partner, 2017.
“Seneca’s 2015/2016 Fashion Business Management students have proven to be an incredibly talented, passionate, and ambitious group of our industry’s future leaders.” Kathy Cheng Founder & President Redwood Classics FIELD Partner, 2016
“The students repeatedly presented themselves as keen individuals with focused minds and ambitious intention. It was an impressive and creative experience.” Franco Mirabelli President & Creative Director Franco Mirabelli Design Inc. FIELD Partner, 2015
“Their… innovative ideas, fresh perspectives and collaborative efforts contributed to an overall experience that is unparalleled.” Krista Love Vice-President, Women’s Wear Sales Haggar Canada Co. FIELD Partner, 2014
Thank you to our FIELD industry partners for 10 years of student support and educational excellence.
Insights 2030 is a business conference for fashion students and academics from the three top colleges in Toronto: George Brown College, Humber College, and Seneca College. Our purpose? To explore a variety of topics, which will have an impact on the future of business in general and, specifically, the world of fashion in the next decade.
The conference combined expert keynote speakers and panel discussions with networking opportunities, all of which are designed to inform, educate, and inspire.
The event kicked off with a keynote by Carrie Kirkman, President of Kirkman Consulting, Inc.
Carrie brings over 25 years of experience in management for top women’s apparel brands with titles including President of Global Brands Group Canada, President and Chief Merchant, Sears Canada, and Jones Group Canada. Carrie is recognized as a leader in the womenswear industry in Canada. She is currently Chair of the Board of directors for G(irls)20. She is also on the Board of Directors for The Canadian Club of Toronto.
Carrie has been profiled in top Canadian publications, including The Globe and Mail, The Kit, and Women of Influence. She is also a blog contributor to Huffington Post Canada. Carrie has been on the nominating committee of CAFA- Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards, featured on CBC radio, Sirius Radio, and speaks globally on the roles of women in leadership.
During Carries chat labeled “Is the Future of Retail the End of Wholesale” she discussed The Changing Retailer/Vendor Relationship, New Revenue Models, Metrics Beyond Sales, and Emerging Labels can use a Wholesale Model for Quick Wins.
Following the keynote, the students enjoyed a panel discussion on Technology in the 2020’s Moderated by Ashley Barby – COO SPECSY with panelists, Ahmer Beg, Founder of Authentic or Not, Crissy Gow, Founder of AccessAR, Megan Page, Senior Director, Digital & Social at MSL Group, a Public Relations Firm.
The event closed with an insightful presentation on the Future of Fashion Retail, presented by Claire Santamaria, Vice President, Yorkdale, Oxford Property Group. Claire is responsible for maintaining Yorkdale Shopping Centre’s position as Canada’s most successful retail destination based on sales per square foot throughout a period of unprecedented growth. Claire’s leadership in guiding internationally-renowned brands into the Canadian market ensures their entry into Canada is thriving.
During her tenure at Yorkdale, she has led the property through the opening of a 300,000 square foot expansion anchored by Nordstrom, created and hosted an interim Canadian Fashion Week, and helped Oxford Properties launch an innovative and award-winning permanent pop up concept to give independent retailers exposure to some of the country’s most enthusiastic shoppers.
The Insights conference closed with networking, where students had a chance to meet peers and industry.
For the forth year in a row, Seneca Fashion had the pleasure of attending the 6th annual WEAR (short for, World Ethical Apparel Roundtable), and boy did we take away some actional information! Keep reading for our key takeaways from this year’s event.
THE 2019 THEME? PURPOSE MEETS PROGRESS
Since 2014, the World Ethical Apparel Roundtable has brought together the entire fashion industry to learn, network and collaborate. This intimate platform allows for meaningful connections, deeper learning opportunities, and a clear sense of how to take action. Over two days, global experts shared best practices, challenges, and successes through a highly engaging format.
WEAR is not only a master of bringing new groups together, but they also excel in helping businesses develop new sustainable business ideas. Some of our essential takeaways from the speakers and breakout sessions include:
Millennials and Gen Z care where clothes are made and by whom. They express their love (or lack thereof) for brands on social, making ethical story-driven brands more impactful than ever.
ARE WE REALLY MAKING PROGRESS?
We really need to seek challenges in society and look for solutions and how to push through them. Today, brands are doing more than engaging customers in their brand story. Some notable industry examples include:
#GreenCarpetChallengeThe Green Carpet Challenge (GCC) is a world-renowned sustainability initiative that creates a compelling and press-worthy narrative to amplify a brand’s environmental principles. The GCC is a sophisticated initiative that pairs glamour with ethics, serving to raise the profile of a brand on red carpets around the world, putting sustainability in the spotlight underpinned by digital disruption. The GCC has grown exponentially to include world-famous designers and celebrities, all united in highlighting sustainable fashion and methods. Designers who have taken part in this initiative include Narces, Stella McCarthy. Their designs have been worn by Gisele Bündchen and Penelope Cruz.
ALDO is stepping up in big ways and small to reduce their environmental footprint and create a more sustainable society for all. Committed to creating and producing responsibly at ALDO, RPPL is one of many ways ALDO makes that commitment very clear. Even the RPPL shoebox is made out of 100% recycled cardboard.
The Prince of Whales Campaign for Wool In September 2019 Line, Smythe, and Michael Kale Design Limited Capsule Collection of Wool Pieces for Holt Renfrew, in partnership with The Prince of Wales’ Campaign for Wool initiative. Each high-profile local designers will create a three-piece capsule collection for the fall season. The purpose? To help draw attention to the many benefits of wool, primarily that it is a natural, renewable, and biodegradable resource that’s both friendly to people and the environment.
HOW TO DRIVE THE UPTAKE OF SUSTAINABLE FASHION: THE SUSTAINABLE FASHION TOOLKIT
The uptake of sustainable fashion is slowly dying. The mission is to identify what berries the fashion industry is facing when it comes to sustainability. There are so many resources that are hard to navigate. During the conference Fashion Takes Action, and PWC made an extraordinary announcement launching The Sustainable Fashion Toolkit
No matter where you are in your sustainability journey – just getting started or well on your way – the Toolkit offers something for everyone. With helpful, customizable filters designed for simple navigation, our platform will help you easily find what you need for your specific sustainability journey.
The stages of the Toolkit include: Define – Plan – Implement – Monitor – Report
Circular business models start at the design process. In comes the Rethinking Design workshop delivered by IDEO and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The rethinking design workshop is a fun and engaging workshop that can be accessed for free on the Circular Design Guide.
So with all these takeaways, where can one start? Start by thinking about what you can do with a product once you are done with it. Think of its second life! There are several viable options, such as; recycling the product, taking it to #ValueVillage, a local shelter like Jessie’s Centre, or having a clothing SWAP.
Seneca Fashion 3rd-year fashion students embark on their 2019-2020 capstone project journey.
Each year, graduating students from Seneca’s Fashion Business Management (FBM) Advanced diploma program partner with a client in the fashion industry to assist with a real-life business opportunity. FIELD short for Fashion Industry Educational Exchange and Leadership Development is a capstone project. During the FIELD year, students work in teams to apply knowledge gained to develop creative solutions for the ‘client’ and present their strategy to a panel of judges at a year-end industry event. We are overjoyed to announce that our 2019/2020 FIELD client is Urban Planet, a brand under the iconic YM Inc. family.
The Challenge? Sustainability.
Sustainability is the new frontier in fast fashion, too much clothing winds up in landfills every year, and the environmental cost related to this industry must be addressed. Urban Planet would like to develop a robust sustainability initiative addressing materials selection, manufacturing, post-consumer waste, and packaging. How can Urban Planet adopt better manufacturing practices while engaging more with their customer, successfully converting the initiative into the adoption of additional sales and customer loyalty?
“We are very excited to be the 2020 Field Project Industry Partner and contribute to such an amazing educational program. When Anna and Lorrisa presented the opportunity to be the industry partner, we jumped at the opportunity. YM values the contribution of fresh minds and believes in giving young people a leg up in the industry. The most important part of our successful evolutionare the people we work with. It’s the teams of talented individuals that collaborate and inspire each other to push hard and do more to impress our customer.
Our industry is facing a significant cycle of change, sustainable manufacturing practices are at the forefront of retail conversations and initiatives. We believe that great fashion doesn’t have to come at the cost of the environment and are committed to improving our processes to ensure we make better choices in our future production and logistics. Concern for the sustainability of the environment must be top of mind as we drive our strategies forward.
Retailers must act as a bridge between manufacturers and consumers, demanding change from our suppliers and encouraging new consumer behavior as well. Great insights and fresh new approaches for the end to end sustainable retail cycle is our challenge to the 2020 graduating class of Fashion Business Management. We believe that this generation is more engagedthan ever before with environmental responsibility and know they will truly impress us with their innovative and forward-thinking retail strategies“ – Maria Mayer, VP of Merchandisingat YM INC.
This year, five groups of student teams will develop a capsule collection and marketing plan that researches the Canadian women’s apparel market. Their solution will focus on sustainable sourcing, production, and omnichannel selling practices and should define a clear competitive advantage and a diverse channel/assortment and branding strategy.
“Third year in FBM has been great so far. FIELD has been accelerating quickly from week one as we are tacking our FIELD concept to present it to our client, Urban Planet for feedback. I am excited and anxious for the final presentation at the end, knowing it could lead to some open doors (potential employers), post-grad Seneca.” – Yonas Kbede, FBM Student
Students embarked on their FIELD journey on September 12, 2019, with a visit to Urban Planet at Fairview mall. Here, they received a private tour and presentation on the brand’s visual and merchandising strategy followed by presentations from senior management, question and answer period, and a group networking lunch at Seneca College.
“The FIELD project gives our 3rd-year FBM students an opportunity to tackle a real-life business case with mentoring from the industry client and faculty. It’s a privilege to work industry leaders like Maria and members of the Urban Planet team (at YM Inc.) who embrace the value of our FIELD program and its outcomes. The skills students learn and apply throughout the 8-month duration of the project sets our graduates apart from other fashion business graduates in the GTA.”– Lorrisa Dilay, FBM Professor at Seneca College
About Urban Planet:
Unique in size and concept, Urban Planet is one of the fastest-growing fashion brands in Canada, with more than 100 locations across the country and an online store at www.urban-planet.com. Catering to a broad core demographic of young men & women aged 16 to 24, our customers are part of a generation constantly looking for that next best thing.
With a focus on the latest fashion, footwear & accessory trends, our customers can be confident in knowing they’ll stay one step ahead of that ever-changing curve, and with our everyday amazing prices everyone can always afford to look their best. As we continue to expand our brand, our retail philosophy will continue to stay the same: shopping should be fun and great fashion should be accessible to everyone.
About Seneca Fashion:
Seneca Fashion combines innovation with the world of business, beauty, and design. Our programs in fashion and esthetics challenge you to connect your creativity with professional skills to help you succeed in the industry.
Through field placements, competitions, and Seneca’s Fashion Resource Centre – a collection of Canadian–worn garments and accessories, you’ll experience the industry, build connections, and develop a career. To learn more about Seneca’s exclusive Fashion Resource Centre visit www.fashionresourcecentre.com
On Thursday, October 3rd, The School of Fashion hosted our annual Career Networking event with industry-leading companies! Thank you to our long list of exhibiting companies, including Hudson’s Bay Company, Nordstrom, Footlocker, SEPHORA, Shoppers Drug Mart, Sanctuary Day Spas , TJX The Ten Spot, and Elmwood Spa. The event was open to all our #SenecaFashion students who spent the afternoon engaging with company representatives and handing out their business cards and resumes to prospective employers. We are #SenecaProud of our career ready students!
Anna Cappuccitti is a Program Coordinator and extensively experienced professor in the Fashion Business Programs at Seneca College. Committed to student success and developing and delivering a curriculum that meets industry demands, she has a career background in fashion buying, product development and retail operations. Research interests include retail management careers and retail management education. She was awarded “Best Paper” at the EAERCD conference in 2017 for “Profiling People’s Perceptions of Retail Management Careers”, published in The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research.
When asked her favourite Sustainability Development Goal, Anna replied “I decided on Goal 4 but still also feel really strong about Goal 5 especially being a ‘single’ mom and having a daughter. But I always promised my kids 3 things: unconditional love, experiences and education, so I went with Goal 4.”
Seneca Fashion and the University of South Wales (USW) signed an MOU which will create a pathway for students who wish to continue their education by transferring to a degree program at USW. Photographed here are Laura Walkovich and Jenna Strano, Seneca Fashion Alumni and current USW students and Adam Williams Manager of the Fashion and Advertising Program at USW.
When asked how Seneca prepared her for a degree program, Jenna answered, “Seneca prepared me for my degree program in a number of ways. For starters, my diploma program helped me to hone in on really important skills – from academic writing to time management to presentation skills. As a degree student, many of my assignments are written. I am expected to review credible academic sources, organize my points and articulate them clearly. I credit Seneca’s business classes by teaching me how to properly format a formal paper. As such, I was fully prepared to begin my Critical Research module at USW this year. Additionally, my current program demands me to be self-directed and independent. I need to be able to balance deadlines and I feel that Seneca taught me great time-management skills because faculty had coached students to start tackling deadlines right away in order to create our best work. Also, having delivered presentations many times throughout my three years at Seneca, I learned how to be a confident speaker, which has proven to be helpful in my current program. Specifically when I had to deliver a presentation to Topshop executives recently.
When asked how enjoyable the student experience was at our partner institution, Jenna replied, “I am enjoying my experience at USW immensely! The professors here are extremely supportive and always available to help whenever needed. I am fortunate that I studied at Seneca before coming to this university because they have high expectations. Students are expected to come with some business acumen, knowledge of marketing jargon and an intermediate level of experience with InDesign. The experience so far has been nothing short of amazing, even though there is still schoolwork! The school and the city as a whole are very accommodating to international students.”
If you’re interested in transferring to a degree program be sure to read Jenna Strano’s full interview on her degree transfer journey on Sucess Beyond
“The one thing that has forever been ingrained in my brain is differentiation. Every day you challenge yourself — how do you stand out? How do you take out the competition? So much of what I do now, the success I have, it all started at Seneca.”
Natalya Amres was serving at a restaurant last fall when she got a text that changed the course of her career path. Migos, the American hip-hop trio, was wearing her clothes on stage in Philadelphia as part of Drake’s Aubrey & The Three Migos tour.
“I still can’t quite process that moment,” said the Seneca grad who until recently was working two serving jobs to support herself. “I knew there was a chance they’d wear them but it was not guaranteed.”
Amres graduated from the Fashion Business Management program. She describes herself as a cut-and-sew designer who reconstructs sportswear. Think Puma pants turned into a two-piece set of pants and a bralette.
“I trimmed off the excess fabric from the inseam of the legs and ended up with two triangle pieces. And I thought, ‘Bralette!’” she said.
That was just a little over a year ago. At the time, Amres was trying to sell some old sports-branded track pants that she didn’t wear anymore. She thought they’d sell faster if she reworked — remixed — them. And they did.
After posting her reconstructed Puma piece on Heroine, an online marketplace, the item was sold immediately. The same thing happened when Amres posted another remix the next day and again the day after that. Soon she started posting her work on Instagram and selling them on her website Remixed by Tal.
Then, as luck would have it, a musician friend of Amres wore her Kappa remix on stage in Toronto, not knowing that representatives from brands like Jordan and Kappa were in the audience. A few months later, she was approached by Jordan for her first big collaboration — remixing Jordan gear for the launch of the new Air Jordan AWOK sneakers at a Jumpman brunch.
“It was one of the most meaningful collabs because it broke me out of my shell,” Amres said. “It opened the doors to me doing live customizations.”
For example, when Migos requested custom Kappa tracksuits from the Italian sportswear brand, they commissioned Amres.
“I was given three days to work on the outfits,” she said. “It was so stressful, I didn’t sleep!”
And it wasn’t until several concerts and alterations later (they didn’t fit initially) that Migos finally wore them on stage.
Since then, Amres has gone from having to de-stitch Kappa bands for remixing to Kappa sending her rolls of their bands from Italy.
Not bad for someone who started a jewelry business out of high school, selling beaded bracelets on Facebook, and learned how to sew by watching YouTube videos after she graduated from Seneca.
“I never saw a sewing machine at Seneca,” Amres said, chuckling. “I never saw myself as a fashion designer. I wanted to become a fashion buyer.”
In fact, the one class Amres failed and had to retake while studying at Seneca was garment construction.
“The professor was so good he would not let you get away with something mediocre,” she recalled. “He wouldn’t sugar-coat anything. Even though I felt like a misfit in the program back then, the one thing that has forever been ingrained in my brain is differentiation. Every day you challenge yourself — how do you stand out? How do you take out the competition? So much of what I do now, the success I have, it all started at Seneca.”
Whether it’s remixing a duffel bag into a jacket or a windbreaker into a pair of track pants, Amres has made no secret about her cut-and-sew process, often sharing photos online from start to finish.
Recently, she was invited by Nike and Jordan to attend the NBA All-Star weekend in Charlotte, N.C., where female business leaders and creatives gathered in celebration of female empowerment.
“I still don’t know why I was picked,” Amres said. “I’m so small — I just started doing this. Some of the other women who were invited have fully structured companies. But once I got there, I realized no one there was too good for anyone. We were all there to help support each other.”
Back in her home studio, a small condo in downtown Toronto, the Ajax native is a one-woman operation with four sewing machines, two of which take up counter space in her kitchen. Her latest projects include an Adidas campaign for Nite Jogger sneakers and custom Kappa pieces for Sofi Tukker, the Los Angeles-based musical duo that performed at this year’s Grammys.
“Everything’s happening so fast, but really, the remix was born out of me thrifting my whole life,” she said. “I source all my raw materials.”
And then there’s storytelling.
“You have to be relatable to your market audience,” Amres said. “People like to see the cut-and-sew photos and they like seeing me model my clothes. I do that as a way to simultaneously create a brand for myself. People want to see the person doing it live. It has to be authentic.”
Congratulations to the winning team of the 2019 FIELD Project! Thank you to our client and sponsor RW&Co., a division of Reitmans Canada for their involvement and generous support.
FIELD (Fashion Industry Educational Exchange and Leadership Development)
Each year, graduating students from Seneca’s Fashion Business Management Advanced diploma program partner with a client in the fashion industry to assist with a real-life business opportunity. FIELD is a capstone project where students work in teams to apply their knowledge gained in their 3 years to develop creative solutions for the ‘client’ and present their strategy at to a panel of judges at an industry event. A winning team is selected. We are #SenecaProud of all of our students! #SenecaFashion #FashionBusinessManagement
The winning team with RW & Co. leadership team (left-right) Lora Tisi, Ninoshka D’Souza, Natalie Chung, Marina Borges de Souza, Christina Masschelein, Jean-François Fortin,
The winning team with certificates (left-right): Christina Masschelein, Ninoshka D’Souza, Natalie Chung, Marina Borges de Souza