Designing independence

Queen’s student Julia Miskey invites us into her creative space

Queen’s student Julia Miskey shows off her handmade designs.
Queen’s student Julia Miskey shows off her handmade designs.
Queen’s student Julia Miskey shows off her handmade designs.
Queen’s student Julia Miskey shows off her handmade designs.

To Queen’s student and part-time fashion designer Julia Miskey, “style over fashion” is the rule of thumb.

Miskey’s creative utopia, the place that doubles as her bedroom and sewing room, was unmistakeably a shrine to style.

The tastefully curated mass of paraphernalia that fit into the space was impressive.

On the left side of the room were perfectly colour coded racks of clothes. Above them were the designer’s own hanging dried roses and below lay numerous shoes.

Stereotypically speaking, it’s every young fashion enthusiast’s dream.

Everything about the room bore the mark of a conscientious eclectic.

The world religions minor acknowledged her diverse style by pointing out the different patterns and cultural influences in her room — her signature Buddha bracelet and Hand of Fatimah necklace being notable pieces.

Miskey acquired an early interest in fashion from her grandmother, who first taught her how to sew. Since then, Miskey said she’s used it as an outlet for creativity and self-expression.

“I’m really artistic but I can’t draw or paint so … I think [sewing is an] easy way for me to show my creativity,” she said.

“What’s good with sewing is that if you make a mistake you can always just take out a few stitches and sew again, but when a seam is done perfectly I really admire that too.”

During this fall/winter season, the designer cites staying warm as her key sartorial guide.

Anything from faux fur to boots and beanies, as well as oversized knit scarves and sweaters, gets the green light. For this holiday season, Miskey said her go-to style will be neutral colours and pops of jewellery.

The designer emphasized originality and playing by your own rules when it comes to fashion. To her, style is about doing the unexpected, like mixing three different shades of red when you’re told not to.

“I love being able to express myself through what I wear … I like to find different finds that not everybody has,” Miskey said. “I’m not going to pay a thousand dollars for a bag when I’m walking down the street and somebody else has it. ”

The young designer cited photo-blogging site Tumblr and indie music videos as sources of inspiration.

And, as with many of her fellow university students and fellow artists, Miskey’s creative process involves carrying around a book for her ideas and being a night owl.

“I work best at night when everybody is asleep,” she said.

“That way I’m completely alone.” The style maven said lots of candles, coffee and tea are also helpful.

Miskey said she’s very specific with her creations. She explained that she would only make tight-fitted, measured clothes by special request.

“I like to make things that are kind of oversized and a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. [I like clothes] oversized and cinched at the waist so that you can wear belts or drawstrings [and] everybody can enjoy it,” she said. “If I’m going to make something tight-fitted it’s usually for a specific person so I do it measurements-wise. ”

Miskey said she has big plans for herself, but is starting off small. Her life, she said, is a succession of to-do lists.

“After school is done then I’m going to set my whole room up like a sewing room and have different types of everything [and] make my own patterns,” she said. “I would love to dye my own fabrics and go travelling to get my own fabrics so that it’s completely unique. ”

Like any other aspiring designer, Miskey dreams of her creations being sold out in renowned department stores. For now, she’s keeping her operation small and humble while she focuses on school.

If her passion and enthusiasm for her creative outlet is any indication, it may not be long before we see the designer’s label, potentially-named “Made with Love”, out in stores. “If I have enough thread, I’ll keep going,” Miskey said.

Check out Julia Miskey’s creations as part of this year’s Queen’s Project Red Charity Fashion Show from March 7-8.

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