I had the pleasure of meeting Christiane Berthiaume, stylist, lecturer and teacher in Fashion Design and Marketing at LaSalle College. Last summer, Mrs. Berthiaume welcomed about twenty students with the aim of making them discover her sector, her passion: fashion.
Tell me about the fashion programs offered at LaSalle College.
We offer two fashion programs at the College: a Diploma of College Studies (DEC) in Fashion Design, the starting point for major collections and a DEC in Fashion Marketing, the most effective way to learn the basics of the marketing of fashion. Students sometimes move from one branch to another when entering the job market, others continue their studies at the ESG UQAM Fashion School, for example.
LaSalle College is one of the most important fashion colleges. The students finish their studies with a really extraordinary training and our placement rate is high.
Tell me about the fashion industry in Montreal or Quebec.
As the numbers indicate, there is employment in our industry, particularly in Montreal: with 70% of establishments in Quebec industry, the Montreal region ranks third in North America for clothing manufacturing .
We generally think of garment when we think about fashion, but there are plenty of trades that make up our industry including: pattern maker, pattern maker, product manager, head of collections, art director, trend researcher, window dresser, columnist, blogger fashion, copywriter, stylist, press officer, etc.
Montreal seems a nursery with talents in the field of fashion, I’m wrong?
It’s true that we are most creative. Several LaSalle College graduates are recognized, for example: Marie Saint-Pierre, UNTTLD, HARRICANA, Dinh Bá and MARKANTOINE, which we hear more and more about! (ed.: We are proud to note that four of them participate or have participated as mentors of the Student Business program !!) As soon as designers manage to flirt with the world of stars, it’s a great advertisement.
Tell me about your mentoring experience.
It was really moving. I found these young people extremely motivated, they were involved and attentive. It was a surprising experience from start to finish. I also congratulated them for taking a week of their vacation to discover the school. I really enjoyed my experience, it was a first year and it was a very nice surprise!
By the way this week, I confirmed that I will participate again next summer.
Have you felt any interest in the sector?
A lot. We had the opportunity to demystify the sector. To know that it was not the first choice for some, allowed me to offer my knowledge on the environment in another way, without having to convince them, but simply to interest them.
It was a great opportunity to show them that it’s an industry that goes beyond what we see on TV, Kardashian, trends, fashion, and so on.
Would you recommend the program to other organizations in your field?
Absolutely, it’s relevant to prepare our succession and to make known the fashion industry. This chance is offered to young people to discover a job for a week and the opposite must be done: the fashion sector must take the opportunity to go to the young people and not wait for them to come to us, internship for example. If industries are proactive about youth, they have everything to gain.
What message would you give to young people interested in fashion?
I would tell them it’s a fascinating area. It is a living environment in which there are many challenges. It is a big industry, many of which are less well known, such as the trade side.
The professions in the field of fashion make it possible to realize many dreams. We become very often hands-on, which allows us to move to related trades throughout our career.
I have an expression in mind: Fashion is passion. This sums up my thoughts: it’s a really exciting environment!
Do you know what you wanted to do when you were 15?
I was a model at the time. My mother organized parades and her work already interested me greatly: the organization of events. I started styling for the shows she coordinated.
Later, it’s the side of the garment as a communication tool and clothing branding that interested me. I did conferences and then I participated in events in fashion, for TV among others. I am still a personal stylist today, speaker and teacher at LaSalle College.
The final word…
I would love to have these students in my class one day!