Fashions Fade, Style Is Eternal

Interview with Trina Cairns

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2012 at 7:18 am

Talk about wearing art!

This multi-talented young lady is simply amazing.  Trina Cairns, another graduate that showcased her capsule collection at the Art Institute show a few weeks back and another one that really impressed me.  The detail was so intense on the runway that I couldn’t absorb it all in so a one-on-one interview with Trina and her gowns was a must.

Apart from her contagious excitement and enthusiasm for creating her collection, I could practically see the new ideas and visions forming in her head.  Not only does Trina make wearable art, she also makes shoes and recently made a pair for Andrea Libmans red carpet look for the performers/ACTRA award!

Read on for our interview…

Where are you from and when did you realize you wanted to become a fashion designer?

I was born and raised on Saltspring Island, BC, coming from a long line of nurses and doctors.   I was a small town girl at heart and my love for horses took me to Alberta which soon became my home.  My passion for horses and western culture led me on a journey through the Rocky Mountains, to the wide open skies of cattle country, waving to crowds in Professional Rodeo arenas, and riding wild horses.   After two years in Medicine Hat (where I was crowned 2006 Medicine Hat Stampede Royalty), working as a medic in the oil and gas industry, I was asked to become second in command medic for National Defense Canada.  But my desire was to be creative and I longed for the originality in western clothing, so I started sketching until I had created a substantial portfolio.  I first planned on only creating high fashion, western inspired footwear, but soon started designing clothing.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

My inspiration comes from my love for western culture and heritage and from my faith.  My passion for originality and art inspire me to create detailed pieces that are fresh and innovative.  I love to include concepts from deep in the heart of the west, bringing in unconventional ideas that give my garments an edge.  I’m hoping to creates pieces that will  not only revolutionize the western industry as well as the high fashion industry, but bridge the two worlds together.

What was the first piece of clothing you ever designed?

I made a dress for my sister for a formal Christmas party.  It was a green raw silk cocktail dress with a black embellished lace waist band.  She wore it to my first fashion show to show her support – such a sweetie.

Hand painted silk

Who is your favorite designer?

It is very hard to pick a favorite. I love finding beauty and creativeness in all designers but if I had to pick a favorite, it would be Ralph Lauren because of the name he has made for himself by staying true to who he is as a family man, business man, designer and cowboy! 

If you could design clothing for a celebrity, who would you choose?

Hmm that’s a hard one.  I think it’s a tie between Taylor Swift and Nicole Kidman.  Taylor swift because she is always being photographed, and I would like to help her showcase her roots in country music.   And Nicole Kidman because she is a country music icon, Keith Urban’s wife, she’s one of my favorite actresses and always looks fabulous on the red carpet.

What matters to you most as a fashion designer?

Being able to express my creativity without conforming, and above all originality.

You recently showcased your stunning collection at the Art Institute show.  Tell me about that collection, the whole process and how it felt to see it go down the runway.

 Throughout this collection I wanted to interpret the elements of the western tack in as many ways as possible with fabric manipulation and accentuation of the female form. Using element such as tooled leather from the saddles, breast collars and headstalls, I transformed leather, organzas, chiffons and East Indian Zardosi to embody the classic quality of antique western tack.

          I created this collection to showcase the sophistication and characteristics of western craftsmanship by creating shapes with leather, as a saddle maker would create shapes by cutting away the leather.  I painted with golds, silvers and pearl silk paints in wild roses, Indian paint brushed and cactus flowers, and creating the same patterns from braided leather.

          I also took elements such as the mohair cinch used to fasten on a western saddle and reinterpreted it through trims, belts and sashes. I wanted to bring in the beauty and delicacy that western tack conveys but also the strength in the materials used.  In this collection I tied in hints of  North American  heritage,  from monumental silhouettes though to the early Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries such as the bustle, the bell and the ball gowns showing femininity with a touch of modern flare to freshen up today’s red carpets.

All the leather I used I dyed in three different tones, red bay bronze, rose gold, and antique gold.
All the skirts except the zardosi skirt are hand painted.  The geometrical pattern is inspired by a patch blanket and the flower pattern on the larger skirt is the sheridan tooling pattern used on saddles and headstalls.  Both skirts are painted in gold silver copper and pearl silk paints.  The two crinolines are made to give a unique shapes to the skirts.  The painted patchwork skirt crinoline used over 32 meters of fabric and the larger tooled flower skirt used 40 meters of fabric.

Sheridan Tooling Pattern

How would you define the style of your collection?

I would define it as high fashion western sophistication.

What was the most difficult piece to make?

It would have to be the hand braided corset (seen below). It took a lot of time to dye the leather cut strips, braid and find a way to shape the braids and then sew them on without showing any seams or stitches.

What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?

To stay true to yourself and your creativity, finding the creativeness within you even if it’s going against the grain.

What can we expect from your next collection?

I’m thinking modern with a western twist using fabrics that i have not yet worked with.

How would you define your personal style?

Vintage cowgirl with modern twists.
Tell me something people don’t know about you?

I own horses and I train them for barrel racing and team roping and my dream is to someday take a horse that I have raised and trained to the NFR (National Finals Rodeo held in Las Vegas).

Where can readers find out more about you and your work?

Twitter: TMCshoes
Website: Coming soon!


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