Style Profile: France Barry

France Barry is a first year Fashion Design student at Ryerson University in Toronto. She says that since she was little, she wanted to be a Fashion Designer. France knew that Ryerson was renowned for their Fashion programs, and made it her goal to get in. 
After taking a year off to master her sewing skills, get in some amazing volunteer experiences, and create an outstanding portfolio, she was accepted, and is now on the path to keep following her dreams.   
France has done many things so far - such as creating costumes for theater performances in her community in North Bay, Ontario, volunteering at "The Farm", a small boutique where items are uniquely created and Canadian-made, and sold there. She saw the creation of pieces, making patterns, grading sizes, and dealing with manufactures as well as their front store boutique. That's not all France has done leading up to this year. She also has her own YouTube channel, where she has so far put out a video showcasing her beautiful designs and garments. You can watch it here!
Right now, France says she would like to see herself having a career in Costume Design for Theater, or with Movies and TV after her four years at Ryerson. Look below to read France's full interview with me, and take a look at her beautiful photos taken in a sewing lab/work room at Ryerson School of Fashion. 

How would you describe your personal style?

I think the best way to describe my style would be that it’s versatile; I don’t necessarily like to conform to one specific look, I prefer to experiment and try out different styles and silhouettes such as boho, girly, trendy, and grunge.  Although, one thing that is consistent throughout my wardrobe is that I like pieces that are unique and original that I wouldn’t find on anybody else, which is why I really enjoy making some of my own clothes.  

When did you realize your love for fashion and design, or have you always loved it?

Since I was little, I would always draw rows of dresses and little outfits and have my mom and my sisters rate them and pick out their favourites.  It has been my dream to become a fashion designer for as long as I can remember.  I always loved to draw and I took art classes all throughout high school, and now to be able to pursue my education in fashion at Ryerson is an absolute dream come true and something I definitely do not take for granted.      

Since this is your first year at Ryerson, how do you like the school, campus, etc? What are some of your favourite things about it?

So far, it has been an amazing experience here! Because Ryerson’s Fashion School only accepts a number of students, the classes are quite small which really allows you to bond with your classmates and your teachers.  Never would I have imagined that my teachers would know me by name at a University level and I am so appreciative of the individual feedback and attention they offer to everyone.  It’s so inspiring to be surrounded by all these super creative and artistic individuals who have the same interests as me; I really feel at home here.    

To apply to Fashion Design at Ryerson, you must construct a portfolio while following strict guidelines and there are mandatory pieces you must include. What did you find to be the most difficult piece to work on for your portfolio?

For my portfolio I had to construct three garments and the most difficult piece was definitely the leather jacket but it is the one I am most proud of and my personal favorite of all the things I’ve made so far. 

You seem to have had a lot of experiences in fashion, with sewing, and also volunteering prior to coming to Ryerson. What would you say was the best/most favourite experience or which one would you say helped the most to get you to where you are today? During this experience, what did you learn?

My experience in theatre and costume design is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.  Two summers ago, I decided to volunteer and help make costumes for North Bay’s TOROS (Theatre Outreach On Stage) production of Anything Goes and that’s when I fell in love with costume design.  Since that summer in 2013, I have had the opportunity to work on three other plays, two of which I got to be the head costume designer.  It is the most amazing feeling to see your designs come to life on stage and I am so thankful to North Bay’s TOROS and Dreamcoat Fantasy Theatre for giving me that opportunity.  

"RCDS" stands for Ryerson Communication & Design Society

Both Fashion programs at Ryerson, Design and Communication, are known to be very intense, difficult programs. Would you agree with this? What kind of advice would you give to someone going into one?

I think you could say that about any program, the difference is how much effort you’re going to devote to something.  The workload for my program may be quite heavy but when you love what your doing it doesn’t seem like work at all.  For anyone hoping to pursue fashion at a post secondary level, I would advise you to try and manage your time between projects as efficiently as possible and simply get involved and try and meet as many people in the fashion industry as you can.

You have a YouTube channel with a video of some of your sewn garments and designs, and they are fantastic! What made you start doing YouTube, and what other videos do you plan to make in the future?

Thanks, I really like that video too!  I’ve been into YouTube for a while now, and I’m subscribed to a lot of different fashion and beauty gurus and once I had sewn a few garments I wanted to make a little video to show my friends and family what I had made.  My sisters helped me me film it and I edited it and put everything together and it was a really fun, creative process.  I got a lot of positive feedback and people seemed to like what I had made so I would love to make more videos in the future.  Right now, I’m actually working on a winter/holiday lookbook so I’m really excited to film that one back home, with a beautiful winter wonderland background!      

You seem like you know what you want out of this program, and also what you want to do for work after you are finished your four years. Is there anything else you would want to try, or experiment with while in this program?

I would absolutely love to gain more experience in costume design and work in various theatre productions and eventually get to work on tv shows and movies as well.  I’m also really interested in theDanier Design Challenge where 3rd years get the opportunity to design a leather jacket and the first place winner will have his or her design featured in Danier’s fall collection.  Another task I’m excited about is the 400 hours of internship needed to complete the program.  I think it is a really neat shot at getting your foot in the door and possibly securing future job opportunities; I would also love to travel and do an internship abroad in Europe to experience the high level fashion overseas.  

I have a lot of ideas and dreams in my head that I want to achieve and I am sure that my time at Ryerson will help me accomplish all of them and more.  


What France Wore:

Jacket - Original Design
Dress - Cloakroom
Boots - Steve Madden
Socks - American Apparel

Photos by Mikayla Kuehn

© All content is my own. Feel free to use anything you would like, while giving proper credit. Thank you.

Below are some samples of work France has done.

A photo of France's Sequence Transformation Project 
 an assignment done in her Fundamentals of Design class at Ryerson University. Isn't it amazing!?

 A photo from one of the theater performances that France designed costumes for - TOROS' Pippin Production

 A photo from one of the theater performances that France designed costumes for - Dreamcoat's Ebenezer Production