AARON LYNETT/torstar news service


Design student Rosa Mindreau created a line of streetwear that concentrated on a skull and crossbone motif.

The Art Institute of Toronto’s first graduating class in fashion design has made its catwalk debut.

Packed into the swank Carlu Round Room recently, each student designer presented a line of clothing for the year-end Evolution Portfolio Review. They faced off in Toronto’s competitive fashion scene against graduates from more established fashion schools such as Ryerson University and the International Academy of Design & Technology.

The Art Institute’s 10 fashion design grads, who completed the 18-month program, each produced nine outfits for the show, with influences from Art Deco, to punk street wear, to bridesmaid.

Rosa Mindreau’s personal style — a half-foot high Mohawk and fishnets — made her stand out among the parents and professors in attendance.

Skulls and crossbones were the theme of her urban punk line of funked-up street wear. She plans to sell her designs via consignment at a Queen Street West store and offer them on a website.

Mindreau, 24, who is from Peru, has been designing her own clothes since she came here six years ago.

“They’ve put their heart, sweat and tears into everything they’ve done,” says Diana Rojas, an instructor of fashion design and marketing. “They’ve each produced a good line in just 11 weeks.”

Gina Yoo’s collection of dresses patterned in flowing white fabrics “was inspired by white swans and ballerinas.

“One of my favourite designers is Calvin Klein and I just love the way he uses flowing smooth fabrics.”

The Art Institute in Toronto is tied to a chain of about 35 private colleges throughout the U.S., as well as two in Canada. It offers certificates and diplomas in fashion design, marketing, interior design, graphic design and animation, among others. This is the Toronto school’s third year. “We feel that we’re preparing our graduates for the demands of the industry,” says Winnie Leung, academic director of the fashion design and fashion marketing program at the institute. “The reason why high-skilled, talented individuals fail in the fashion industry is that they’re not aware of the communication skills that are needed.”

And those are taught at the Art Institute, says Leung.

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