Celeste Makow's long time passion of horses is what has inspired her debut fashion collection, Outlaw.
It combines technical fabrics and details with vintage western styling for horse-enthusiast women aged 20 to 30. It is a distinctive collection that will be featured alongside those of 33 other emerging fashion designers at the Kwantlen University College graduation fashion show next week.
Makow grew up in Sechelt and has been living in Richmond for the past four years while attending Kwantlen.
She says she is excited about the upcoming show.
"There is so much missing in the availability of comfortable and stylish riding apparel for women," said Makow. "I am here to fill that gap and create innovative apparel that is not only comfortable to ride in but also makes the rider look great and feel confident."
Early on in life she was inspired to create clothing by watching her grandmother sew dancing outfits.
"I remember being amazed at how she could create such beautiful outfits and dresses," said Makow.
During her high school years at Chatelech, she began taking textiles and art classes, which worked as outlets for her to express her creativity. When it came time to decide on what type of career she wanted to pursue, her textiles teacher Irene Law suggested Kwantlen's Bachelor of Fashion Design and Technology.
In her senior years of high school, Makow obtained a job repairing Helly Hansen outerwear with Patrick Mark, former owner of Mr. Mender in Sechelt.
"The experience I gained working with Patrick solidified my career decision of fashion design and also gave me valuable knowledge and skills for working with outerwear and technical fabrics," she said.
She was accepted into the fashion design program and started at Kwantlen in September of 2001. During her education and training there, she obtained an internship with Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC). Since her internship she has had two contracts as a design assistant with MEC while still a full-time student.
"I am very inspired by the outdoors and fabrics that are built to perform in the elements," she added.
After graduation she plans to pursue her career as a fashion designer focusing in the area of athletic and outerwear apparel. She is also looking at starting her own company based on her graduation collection because of the demand she is getting from her target market.
With three shows running throughout the day at the Villa Amato ballroom and one of the program's largest graduating classes, next Thursday's show is the one to be at.
Show times on Thursday, April 7, are at 1:30, 4 and 7 p.m. Afternoon tickets are $15 and $30 for the evening gala. All proceeds will go towards Kwantlen University College's Fashion Design and Technology Scholarship Fund.
For tickets, contact Mary Boni at 1-604-599-2551.