Today I’m chatting with Eliza Faulkner, an independent Canadian fashion designer. I’m lucky enough to know Eliza in person, and when I first moved to Vancouver Island I was delighted to encounter this quirky creative spirit roaming about our small town, quietly and steadily doing her own thing.

As a teenager Eliza’s goal in life was to move far, far away and to be a fashion designer. She realised this dream at 19 when she was accepted to study fashion design at Central St. Martin’s College of Art & Design in London, England. During her studies, she interned with Erdem, Roland Mouret, Zandra Rhodes, and in the PR offices at Browns.

Eliza’s graduation from college coincided with the recession and a study visa that was running out. Fed up with the life of an unpaid intern, and with no job prospects, she had nowhere to go but home…to the sleepy Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island.

Without ‘proper’ work experience, she couldn’t find a design job and so resigned herself to small-town life, working in the back room of her mother’s shoe shop and writing about style for the local newspaper. At nights, she continued to design and make dresses, selling them off quickly to eager friends and family.

From those first dresses made entirely in a cabin on Vancouver Island, Eliza Faulkner has since gained recognition across North America for its clean lines, feminine silhouettes, and playful, relaxed attitude towards dressing.

In 2014 she was nominated in the Emerging Talent Category at the Canadian Art & Fashion Awards and ELLE Canada named her ‘One of the Top Ten Canadian Designers to Know’.

Eliza Faulkner has established a dedicated following, with her designs being worn by the likes of Marisa Tomei, Nikki Reed, and Kelly Clarkson. She is now living and working in Montreal.

Enjoy our ramble through the fairytale of the wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle, relationship with body, and with creativity.

Things we chatted about in this episode:

  • the fairytale of the wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle
  • on being attracted to stories about the old hag in the forest
  • the idea of a really independent woman
  • having a father who told a lot of stories
  • relationship with creativity
  • going into the creating cave
  • the ugly messy stage of creativity
  • being deep in a creation and having habits change
  • textiles and sculptural qualities of fabric
  • how limited options (in fabric) led to new directions in fashion designing
  • fast fashion and lower quality fabric
  • on how everything is a happy mistake and the surprises that come from letting the creative process unfold
  • how a growing creative business limits creative time, and the necessity for scheduling free play time in
  • learning to let go of control and hire people for a creative business (Eliza)
  • turning off the e-mail and phone and having a day dedicated to creating
  • playing podcasts and creating
  • playtime
  • fast fashion – the fashion industry’s see now buy now trend
  • relationship with body
  • having seizures as a teenager and how that set her up to take care of her body
  • self care motivations switching from vanity to a desire for good physical and mental health
  • having a mom who was a good role model – being appreciative and respectful towards her own body
  • being obsessed with fashion magazines as a teenager (Janelle)
  • on having been a chubby kid, now slim and how it shaped her (Eliza)
  • being in your 30s and getting comfortable in your body
  • shifting from an emphasis on looking good to feeling good through dance, yoga and pilates
  • clothing the body as a fashion designer
  • why you should pick fashion designers with the same bodyshape when you research clothes
  • how fashion designs can create space for bodies to move
  • learning from a dance teacher that the kinds of dance you do determine the kinds of clothing that you want to wear (Janelle)
  • how, in big movements and oversized shapes, there’s a dance going on around your body (Eliza)

Resources from this episode:

Connecting with Eliza:

Connecting with Janelle: