Story by Reem Jazar

Photos provided by Rachel Sin

Many designers enjoy the privilege of watching their creations walk the runway during fashion week; almost none get to say they helped design the very building that houses the event. This, however, was the experience of Rachel Sin. In 2011 the architect-turned-fashion designer presented her Spring/Summer 2012 collection at the Ottawa Convention Centre during the city’s fashion week.

“I worked on the architectural design for over three years and was thrilled that my designs walked in a building I had a hand in developing,” shares Sin. “It was wonderful to see architecture and fashion come together and [to] see the building stand as a back drop to the structured garments.”

Sin’s background in architectural design is evident in her edgy yet tasteful garments. The designer lends a citified touch to her sleek designs while keeping an understated, classic aesthetic. Her strong silhouettes make each garment a standout piece.

The designer’s Fall/Winter 2012 collection is no exception. Sin uses the underlying palette of black, cream, and tan to weave her luxurious representation of what an urban fall should look like; sequins and faux fur lend drama to a few key pieces.

Sin says it was always in her plans to design clothes. While she was pursuing her Masters Degree in architecture from Carlton University, she was busy working for several fashion design firms in Ottawa and Toronto. In the midst of her architectural pursuits, she took sewing classes.

“For me, it’s not so much a change than a shift in scale,” explains Sin. “Architecture and fashion design are very similar, simply expressed at a different scale.”

The designer says her first fashion memory was more awkward than à la mode. Sin adds that her family did not have much money while she was growing up; instead of spending money on clothes her parents opted to spend on violin, piano and other lessons. The now-stylish designer had to wear hand-me-downs as a child, even though she was the oldest.

“I remember getting my first ever new pair of bright white sneakers; [they were] Reeboks, I loved them so much that I put masking tape over the shoe laces to keep them white,” she recalls.

Sin’s industriousness as a designer, her education and design experience are clearly communicated through her work. Elegance, class and tailoring are synonymous with her brand – but there is still a vampy twist. Perhaps that is why the designer had such a strong showing at Fashion Art Toronto (|FAT|) earlier this year.

“It’s great to be able to celebrate fashion creatively in an environment where the possibilities are unlimited.  This means a lot to designers and artists that are breaking out and [who] do not want to be confined by commercially-oriented fashion weeks,” says Sin. “With each runway show, we work hard to produce a bigger and better show.”

Sin doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, as she continues to fuse her creative backgrounds to bring her vision to life. “I would love to have one job title – Designer – and design anything in any medium I feel like creating,” she says.  “I think it would be wonderful designing both a clothing line and a standalone store to house the collection.”

We have no doubt that if anyone can do it, Rachel Sin can.

Related posts: