Fashion Design Grad Competes on Project Runway Canada
"The mass public needs to know that I exist," says Brandon Dwyer, 2008 graduate of Fanshawe's Fashion Design program..
What better way to accomplish this than appear on reality TV show Project Runway Canada? Up-and-coming Canadian designers participate in weekly design challenges, competing to remain on the show.
The premiere episode's challenge was creating a look inspired by the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, a setting competitors had the opportunity to visit alongside supermodel host Iman and mentor Brian Bailey. Two designers leave the show for health and stress-related issues, and a third is cut from the competition after the first runway showing.
The second episode sees Dwyer in the last two after he fails to impress judges with a dress designed for A-list celebrity Elisha Cuthbert. He manages to stay on as a second contestant is cut from the show, leaving ten from the original fourteen.
Being chosen as a contestant is a logical next step for the Fanshawe graduate says Leigh-Ann Waller, coordinator of Fanshawe's Fashion Design program. "Brandon is a good choice for the show ... he has vision, raw talent and passion. Pair this with a slightly off-beat personality and it's perfect drama for TV," she explains.
Dwyer applied to be a contestant on Project Runway Canada in his final year of Fanshawe's Fashion Design program. Continued success includes the showing of his collection at L'Oréal Fashion Week, of which he received rave reviews; an interview with Jeanne Beker from Fashion Television and coverage in Flare magazine. He gained media attention when model Andi Muise posed in his first look book, and following the taping of Project Runway Canada over the summer, Dwyer is currently working on his latest collection, to be sold to Holt Renfrew.
"Starting out at Fanshawe I really had no idea how to sew on a button, never mind avant-garde eveningwear," Dwyer says. "All I had was an open mind and the drive to push myself as far as I could go."
Waller had the opportunity to teach Dwyer throughout his three years at Fanshawe and continues to stay in touch as his career takes off. "Brandon had a clear design vision from the beginning," she explains. "He worked hard to network within the fashion industry, which assisted tremendously during school and upon graduation. He worked immensely hard on the collection that appeared in L'Oréal Fashion Week ... I think he slept at the college for two months."
However Dwyer was not always the ideal student, reveals Waller: "Brandon wasn't a model scholar, listening attentively, attending class on time ... he often jokes now that he should have paid more attention in school. But I see great success for his future as a designer."
The winner of Project Runway Canada receives a cover and feature spread in ELLE Canada, a professional portfolio photo shoot courtesy of L'Oréal Paris, a Runway to Retail business mentorship with Winners and $100,000 to start a fashion line. Tune in Tuesdays at 10:00 p.m. on Global to follow Dwyer as he designs his way to the top.