A Brookswood Secondary alumna who once dreamt of being a fashion designer recently debuted her first clothing line at Vancouver Fashion Week.
“I was super super nervous… putting yourself out there on an artistic level… you’re not everyone’s cup of tea,” said Lesley Senkow, who now resides in Vancouver.
Senkow, 29, said she always aspired to pursue a career in fashion, but she just didn’t quite know how to make it happen. So when Senkow completed high school she started working in visual marketing at Le Chateau in Willowbrook Mall.
“It was kind of the way for me to get my foot in the door,” she explained. “I think at the time I told my parents I wanted to pursue fashion, but I don’t think they knew how I could do that, so I just went about it my own way.”
Her own way meant eventually leaving her position at the Langley shopping centre to work in visual marketing at the clothing store Zara on Robson Street and later for luxury clothing brand Ted Baker London at Pacific Centre.
While Senkow was working at Ted Baker London she was given the opportunity to work alongside the product development team and provide direct input into clothing design. She said the experience was a wake up call and realized she needed to take a leap of faith and start to work towards create her own designs.
“I let the fear get in the way of pursuing that,” she said.
Last January Senkow began studying fashion design at Blanche Macdonald Center, an educational institution based in Vancouver that focuses on the creative and applied arts.
“It was an amazing experience being there,” she recalled. “It’s a really pretty intense program.”
Senkow said the program really opened her eyes to how much the garment industry is negatively impacting the environment, a concern that followed her when she established her brand.
“I definitely identify as being a luxury sustainable brand,” she said.
Senkow debut her first line called Senko at Vancouver Fashion Week in October, which she said was inspired by the gravitational pull of the moon and the ocean. The print used in the collection was called “ocean chaos,” and she described her designs to have “beachy, earthy tones.”
Vancouver Fashion Week is a seven day event held twice a year where designers debut their original work.
Coming off a high from premiering her work to a live audience, Senkow is taking time to slow down.
“Right now I’m trying to get as much feedback as I can from this collection. It’s really important to me especially from a sustainability standpoint that I’m really in contact with my customers and getting lots of feedback… because I don’t plan to produce the entire collection,” she said.
For those looking for fashion advice from Senkow, she recommends starting online and to consider a wardrobe an investment.
“Pinterest is a really great way to start, I think that if you can create some kind of board for yourself and just really see what is the common theme running through here,” she said.
Senkow’s one piece of advice for fashion fanatics, “If you can do anything at all just buy good quality clothes.”