I recently had the opportunity to interview the Vancouver and London-based fashion designer Connally McDougall. With training from the prestigious school of Central Saint Martins in London, she is currently creating ready to wear couture, accessories, active and intimate apparel. I first met Connally a year ago when she was kind enough to meet with me to discuss the fashion industry. She remains an inspiration to me today and I enjoyed learning even more about her from this interview.
When did you first know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
I came about it haphazardly, always playing dress-up and drawing dresses and tuxedos, but didn’t fully pursue it as a career until after my undergrad.
How do you define fashion?
Fashion is in everything–your grandmother’s apron, your neighbour’s flower garden, the city landscape. It’s how those elements are translated into the clothing we wear for cultural, societal and aesthetic reasons.
Describe your personal style in three words.
Black. Prints. Soft.
What aspect of your life do you draw the most inspiration from for your designs?
People around me are generally my main inspiration. Much as I mentioned before, taking inspiration from anything. From torn nylons to bowl haircuts, there’s inspiration everywhere.
If you could have coffee with one person from the fashion industry, who would it be?
Elsa Schiaparelli, a pioneering Italian designer who was part of the resistance in WWII, whereas Chanel collaborated with the Third Reich, designing both military and clothing for their spouses. Both wonderful designers, but I admire the courage Elsa had.
What was your experience like at Central Saint Martins in London?
It was like Project Runway on steroids.
Where is your favourite place that you have traveled and why?
I loved living in London, but I like to think that I haven’t yet seen my favourite place.
Your S/S 2016 collection is incredible! What inspired you to create it?
I’ve wanted to do a botanical collection for some time, primarily inspired by my father’s passion for horticulture and also Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits, often featuring floral and botanical imagery.
What are you most looking forward to at the upcoming Vancouver Fashion Week?
I won’t be showing at or attending Vancouver Fashion Week this season. I’ve chosen to focus my energy on more positive local shows and venues, such as RED: Gala for HIV/AIDS, Eco Fashion Week, Little Black Dress Gala and many others. In terms of Fashion Weeks, there are other far more reputable global Fashion Weeks outside of BC that I feel are more worthwhile and compromise fewer ethics.
If you could only design clothes in one colour for a year, what colour would that be?
Ivory, just unbleached natural fabrics like cotton, silk, wool. Absolutely dreamy.
What career would you be in if you weren’t a fashion designer?
I would love to have a restaurant, as cooking is a massive passion of mine, or a florist.
What piece of advice do have for people starting out in the fashion industry?
Get tough skin, the old ways are always better and always have something you love to fall back on, because it’s a brutal industry and can’t be anyone’s entire universe. It’s all about balance!
I am so thankful to have been able to interview such an spectacular and inspiring designer! To learn more about Connally McDougall you can do so at http://www.connallymcdougall.com.
Photos: http://www.connallymcdougall.com | http://vanfashionweek.com