by Patricia Chaykin
Lignes de fuites is an independent talent incubator that aims to create a platform where young designers can express their art in various forms. With its annual book publication, they feature all the projects they collaborated with, incorporating fashion, photography, interviews with designers as well as zeitgeist declaration series that include open conversations about diverse topics that surround our everyday livelihood. Milan Tanedjikov is the founder of the collective and longs to provide opportunities to emerging talents by believing in them and giving them the space to create while sharing his design expertise. This article will shine a light on my first experience in the fashion world. It is a chance to give space to the creators I have met and interacted with, giving you a glimpse of the beauty that is the creative sphere and my introduction to the writing format of KUMO.
Patricia practicing host speech
Volume 3 book
I am grateful that I have had the opportunity of meeting the founder of Lignes de Fuites and of working with him for the launch of their latest volume. As a psychology student, the fashion world has always fascinated me but felt unreachable since I chose a different academic path. Applying to the organizations’ event planning apprenticeship was a plunge into the unknown. I knew that my fascination for the human mind would only expand when taking my first steps into a world filled with dynamicity, imagination and a whole lot of personality. I was right.
The first step was to plan the fundraising event. Since it is a non-profit with no sponsors, the funding had to be collected through the public’s support. A world-wild ride was beginning, and my organizational skills were about to be put to the test. After working all summer on the project, the team launched their website. Fashion shows, talks and design debriefs were all taking place in such a short lapse of time that order and communication were essential for the success of this big of a vision. Taking on the role of hosting most “happenings” during the 3-day fundraiser, I claimed the title: master of ceremonies discovering a new skill I never dreamed of possessing – public speaking.
Concluding the event, I realized I had met so many inspiring and talented individuals that it would have felt wrong to not include a few of them. Here are three contributors that took part of this crazy journey with me and who I had the chance to interview: Tishanna Carnevale (she/her), Chiara Cristiano (she/they) as well as Connor Ballantyne (he/him).
Tell me a bit about yourself
Tishanna: My name is Tishanna, I am 25 years old from the Mile-End in Montreal. I feel that where I’m from had a big impact on me because I was always surrounded by very creative people from a young age. When I graduated high school, I studied fashion marketing, which I hated. I did it because I wanted to be a stylist and that was the program to do straight out of high school. From there, I worked as a freelance stylist. You can only do so much with styling, so I got bored after a while and decided to study fashion design. I thought it would be a very interesting way to discover who I was, my perception of fashion as well as what my vision was.
Chiara: My name is Chiara, I am 23 and I graduated from Lasalle College last spring. I’m a very colorful designer. I like to have fun with fashion and not take it too seriously. Making it almost like a joke and staying open minded. Knits, printing and textile work are my passion in this field.
Connor: Hi, my name is Connor, I am 27 years old. I’m originally from Moosejaw but I didn’t spend much time there. I moved and lived most of my life in Barrie, Ontario. I am firstly a musician and am part of two bands: Acer and Province , a nostalgic indie pop band. I only moved to Montreal about a year ago because I always believed that if you want to create music you can do it from anywhere, you don’t need to be in a big city. I was naïve in that sense, because after Covid happened and there were no live shows happening in my tiny town, the next logical step for me was to take the plunge and join my friends in Montreal. I’m very happy I did.
Chiara and her work
How did you get into the creative world?
Tishanna: The fashion network. I saw a Versace fashion show in 2005 when I was 8. Donatella was doing an interview, and I absolutely loved her. I’m actually wearing her right now. My parents pushed me to take sewing lessons and when I was 10, I met my friend’s stepmom who at the time was the biggest stylist in Montreal. She introduced me to the world of styling, and I did not like to sew so it was perfect. You create looks with clothes that already exist and you work in a team to create the image and vibe you want. To me, that made sense. When I was in Cépeg, I started doing a lot of shoots with my close friend at the time. I say close friend, but we used to party a lot together. It made sense, he wanted to photograph, and I wanted to style. It worked out perfectly and was very fun.
Chiara: I always loved making art, I used to study studio art and I found myself creating for the fun of it. Once I started pushing it deeper and taking inspiration from my background, I found it made it more personal, real and raw. I used to not think about it but now that I do I feel proud that I create using that part of me.
Connor: I grew up in a very musical family, my dad being a creative communications pastor. He and my mom sang quite a bit together in church. I’d say I stepped into the creative world when i started artistic direction for the band House Art. Afterwards, when it came to shooting our band, I never really trusted anyone to be able to portray what I see and so I just did it myself. I think the main part of my art is storytelling. I like to portray characters when I’m performing and by doing so, I want to narrate that story the way I perceive it. Afterwards, my photography brought me to do a lot of producing, touring and artistic direction for bands in Canada.
What are some of your primary sources of inspiration?
Tishanna: Because of my styling background, I perceive fashion as defining muses or finding people around you that are interesting. But from there, having my own interpretation of what they could or should look like. I also like playing with hyper-femininity. Thinking about how to display post-feminism and how to really play with people’s perception of themselves and of others. I like everything that is super ornate and over the top.
Chiara: I feel I grab a lot of inspiration from my family and my culture. Being Italian I pull a lot of inspiration from my grandparents. I want to be proud of my background.
Connor: One of my inspirations is Tim Walker not to name too many. When I shoot, I want to give each individual the space to shine. I believe everyone has a story, a background and are unique in their own way. That is what I want to express and show through my photography. I want someone to see my work and, without even knowing it’s mine, say: “Yeah, I know who shot this, it’s definitely Connor”.
What was your role in the book launch of the Lignes de Fuite Vol. 3 Fundraising event?
Tishanna: I had 2 roles. On Friday, I was a speaker and I remember stressing because everyone around me was so much more eloquent. You hosted and asked me a question to which I responded by explaining my role as the fashion editor of the book we launched. On Saturday, I had my fashion show: Bimbo Carnevale. It was thrilling and cool because it was the conclusion of 3 years of work that I was finally able to showcase in real life. The way I created that collection was based on my second-year collection called: “Being as playing a role” a quote from Notes on Camp by Susan Sontag. It aimed to emancipate superficiality. Everyone kept telling me I was superficial because I always avoided intellectualizing my concepts. Saying: “I like it, cause it’s pretty” is not stupid, it’s how I work. So, I pushed it. Why is being superficial bad? Calling a girl superficial is automatically misogynistic because you’re assuming that liking superficial visual things is bad. It’s actually about playing with people’s perceptions. So, I played it to my advantage. I had also spent the summer reading a lot about bimbos. It’s crazy that people will think they are actually dumb just because of an image they portray. I discovered “Bimbo Tok” on TikTok and it’s amazing. They perform a bimbo attitude and appearance while being brilliant and active members in their community. It’s completely camp and ironic. They are hot and they have values, things that we don’t normally represent together. I was inspired a lot by “Cicciolina” Illona Staller. For example, the glass bra one of my models was wearing was transparent on the left side because they are leftist, so “left tit”.
Tishanna and her models wearing her line at the fashion show
Chiara: Prior to the event, for about a month, me and a few other designers from Montreal all took a course called: “How to capitalize on your designs” and it was really informative and eye-opening for me. All about how to market your products and how to stay afloat without giving up. We had to pick one item we were going to showcase. In the pop-up I had a t-shirt that had a collage I did of my grandmother. A lot of people assumed that it would be very old-fashioned given the topic, but I wanted to turn it into something playful and silly. All that effort was worth it, because after seeing the product shoot by Connor my reaction was just: “WOAH, this is real now”.
Connor: The founder approached me to be the photographer for the event. I met him through my friend William Crosson who was at the event to showcase his designs. Milan was his mentor and professor and after meeting him, he completely threw me under the water in the best way possible. When he offered a position in this semi-prestigious fashion project, I said yes not knowing what I was getting into. He didn’t give me many details, just that it was called “Words of Advice” after a series that was going to be featured in the book. And thank God he didn’t because if I had known I was shooting Mickey Boardman, the editor of Papermagazine, I would have completely lost it. I ended up shooting the whole series, which was crazy.
How did you find your experience?
Tishanna: On the day of the fashion show, I was stressed because one of my models didn’t show up. I freaked out; I thought that nobody would show up. But everything worked out. The experience was great. I loved it. I’ve always been confident in my styling and casting choice, but for people to like the experience I had created and like my garment in real life was everything. It was very fun and heartwarming to see the whole room filled with people that had come to support me.
Chiara: I absolutely loved it. I feel people often think that those in fashion are evil and uptight or something. But everyone at this event was so sweet and everyone supported each other. We all want to see each other succeed. We are not trying to hide opportunities from each other but quite the contrary. That is what is so great! We all have different points of view, and we get to come together and share without feeling judged. Seeing the event come together like this made everything feel so real and human. It was beautiful. In the end I was tired but in the best way possible. It drives me to do the next thing, create more.
Connor: I would compare it to when I was touring with bands. It was a lot of on-the-go work. Especially the 2nd day where we had a total of 7 fashion shows back-to-back. I shot on 3 different cameras all at once and ran upstairs between every show to export, edit, and send the photos to Clara who was responsible for media. The funny part was that models would be surprised that they could post the picture so quickly because fashion shoots usually come out months after they happen.
What’s next for you?
Tishanna: Trying to find a balanced life. It’s very hard for me because I’m very much an all or nothing kind of person. Either I want to do a million things, or I do not want to go outside anymore. I want to find balance between both and put energy into my wellbeing. I don’t know yet if I want to be more oriented toward styling or design, but I feel what’s meant to be will come. I want to try and be more with the flow and not stress about what’s next.
Chiara: I really want to study abroad, maybe in London. I would like to learn new techniques maybe machine knitting, and learn how to weave. I want to do specific courses and use them for my brand and my site: conceptchiara. Taking the time to find the most interesting textures and elements for my hats and other products.
Connor: I’m staying in Montreal and really want to get back into music. I feel I have neglected that part of my life since moving because my photography career started picking up. I definitely also want to learn more about the fashion field as well, gaining more experience and knowledge from professionals in that world. My band Province did just come out with a song called: MAJORLOA, go take a listen!
I would like to end this article by expressing my gratitude for this experience. Everybody deserves a leap of faith and that is what Milan provided me with after our first meeting. After an hour-long conversation the interview for the position quickly felt like a casual exchange of our fondness for art. Very calmly he looked at me and said: “I like our energy, let’s give this a go”. Just like that, no back thought, just decisiveness to follow a feeling.
This world needs more people who give chances to individuals that are filled with passion and driven by purpose. I aspire to create as much as I can and help in any way those who choose to share theirs with the rest of us. There is beauty in that which is unseen and magic in what we choose to make real. Lignes de fuites will be working on their fourth volume of its book publication in the following year. In the meantime, you can scaward their site for upcoming events and fashion articles at https://www.lignesdefuite.org/.