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News

Concordia University Press hosts the best of the best in Book, Jacket, and Journal design show

The Concordia University Press wins three spots in the AUPresses Book, Jacket, and Journal Show.

They say not to judge a book by its cover, but that is exactly what the AUPresses Book, Jacket, and Journal Show is all about. 

With three books winning a spot in this year’s show, Concordia was eager to host the final stop in this year’s show. All 83 of the best designed book and journal jackets and covers from university presses around the world were on display at Concordia’s 4th Space on Wednesday, Jan. 31. Alongside all selected winners on display, the Concordia University Press was also excited to host a panel with award-winning designers, Sébastien Aubin and David Leblanc, designers in cover design and typography respectively.

“It was terrific that we could host the show at the same time that we had three mentions in the same year,” said Ryan Van Huijstee, the acquisitions editor at the Concordia University Press. Van Huijstee has dreamt of hosting the show for more than a decade now. Having worked in scholarly publishing for 17 years, he really wanted to show off the great work that the industry does. As a traveling show, the AUPresses design show makes stops at various member institutions all around the world, this year Concordia was lucky enough to host.

As a relatively new press, launched in 2016, it meant a lot to Van Huijstee that the Concordia University Press had three mentions in this year’s best book jackets and covers out of 83 of the almost 14,600 published works annually. 

With the new press “still trying to find [their] place within the larger industry,” Van Huijstee explained what they will focus on going forward: playing to the strengths of the institution it resides in, with a strong commitment to visual arts and social sciences.“I think that was very clear from the beginning when it was founded by Jeffery Little and our colleague Meredith Carruthers. They were very keen to ensure that the press had a distinct visual style” said Van Huijstee. 

One book from the press that ties in both elements of the press’ ethos is Canada’s Place Names & How to Change Them by Lauren Beck. Beck’s book won the best cover design award with Sébastian Aubin and his studio, OTAMI-ᐅᑕᒥ’s, interpretation of two 17th century maps that are referenced in the book. 

Original map of Wendake drawn by Jesuits in 1631, which inspired Aubin’s interpretation for Beck’s book cover. Archive from Library of Congress

In this interpretation Aubin and his team flipped the map of Wendake drawn by Jesuits in 1631, Description du pais des Hurons, originally detailed by Jean de Brébeuf and altered the colors with the purple representing wampum beads. Its simplicity and electric use of color were noted by the jurors. 

Along with the Concordia University Press’s commitment to visual arts, they also were founded on the commitment to being open access. Most other corporate or university presses are built around making as much profit as possible. However, Concordia University Press is “making an important contribution to our own history where it wouldn’t be necessarily served by a larger publisher,” according to Van Huijstee. As Concordia’s press is the second university press founded on open access following Athabasca University in Alberta, they are setting an example for others to follow.

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Music

Designed by Hip-Hop

How hip-hop culture is informing the artistic works of Concordia students Mariam Sy and Jaden Warren.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. Since its inception, the genre has ushered in several crops of new artists who have allowed for multiple generations to carry hip-hop through five decades. 

With the rise of several rappers also came their entrepreneurial ventures: big names such as Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams and Kanye West have made business moves in every domain from fashion and film to artwork and beverages. In permeating various spheres and artistic fields within the mainstream, hip-hop has created a trickle-down effect that continues to inspire today’s youth.

Mariam Sy is a communications student and filmmaker heavily inspired by Tyler, The Creator. She became enamoured with his music upon discovering it in her early teens and further gravitated toward him because of his other career ventures. 

The California rapper is a filmmaker, fashion designer and entrepreneur who directs his own music videos, owns the streetwear brand Golf Wang, and hosts an annual music festival in California called the Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival (est. 2012). This essentially opened Sy’s eyes to the idea of branching out: “You don’t have to be labelled as one act—you can be a multidisciplinary one.” This is what inspired her idea for a collective titled “LES ENFANTS.”

Sy has released numerous short films to her Vimeo account, many of which are directly inspired by the music and visuals of artists like Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z (see “HURT”). She sees the throughline between hip-hop and cinema as natural. “They both draw from human experiences and emotions,” she said. “They weave a cultural fabric that mirrors and influences the stories of our current society and those to come.” She believes hip-hop’s wide crossover appeal is the result of it not strictly being a musical genre, but rather a culture gathering a multitude of themes and ideas that can apply to masses of people. 

Design student Jaden Warren also sees hip-hop as boundless, bigger than music. For him, it is a convergence of various subcultures and niches including youth culture, skateboarding, streetwear, high fashion, and more. His personal style and projects are directly inspired by rappers who welded fashion and hip-hop together like A$AP Rocky, Playboi Carti and Kanye West. Warren proclaims that “all hip-hop musicians wanna look fly,” and prides himself on helping artists bring a specific vision or style to life. This is evident in his work with local rappers: he designed a custom “4EVERYOUTH” jacket for KeBenjii! and curated the visual aesthetic for Justin Tatone’s BANE & BLESSING album, inspired by vintage fashion and Balenciaga’s creative director Demna. 

Warren believes that hip-hop crosses over easily into other domains because it is a form of artistic expression. He also cites designer Virgil Abloh as a primary influence, given Abloh’s extensive work within the hip-hop sphere and ascension in the fashion realm, most notably becoming the creative director at Louis Vuitton before his tragic passing in 2021.

Abloh’s success story as a Ghanaian-American man in fashion has inspired Warren’s mission statement: “I want to show Black kids that it’s cool to be creative.” Above all, the Concordia student is motivated by his youthful approach to creating, which is centred around simply having fun and feeling like a kid. 
The young designer’s most prolific work to date has been his clothing project “I can’t buy love so I buy clothes.” However, like hip-hop, he refuses to be bound to one field or title. As he puts it, he just likes to create stuff. The brand’s latest iteration is set to be revealed in his upcoming drop, set for release on Dec. 1 via @assassinsvizualz on Instagram.

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Arts and Culture Community Student Life

Game development club makes space for aspiring creators at JMSB

Participants in Concordia’s Game Development Club (GCD) Game Jam spent last weekend making their dream games.

On Nov. 3, gaming enthusiasts from a variety of skill sets gathered at Concordia University to compete in the once-per-semester game development competition dubbed the Game Jam.

Hosted by Concordia’s Game Development Club (GCD), the event opens the opportunity for aspiring game creators from in and out of the university to demonstrate their skills under a strict 48-hour time limit. Either solo or with a team, Game Jam participants create a video game from scratch using their unique set of skills and expertise.

Maxx Freund, the president of the GCD and fourth-year software engineering student at Concordia, joined the club two years ago, following his interest in gaming and technology. “I joined the GCD knowing nothing about how to make a game and I made a really bad game, but I learned how to do it,” he said. “That was cool, because we had a product that we could be proud of.” 

Three Game Jam iterations later, he’s taken on a role akin to a curator for the event. Freund broke down the creative process behind most teams; ideally, each team’s development process requires for artists to design concepts and characters, for programmers to map out controls, and for other roles to tackle aspects such as music design and game level design.

Each Game Jam offers challenges for would-be developers to complete, including a theme they must base their creation on. Chosen by the club’s executive team, the theme offers “a lot of creative freedom,” according to Freund and may be interpreted differently by each team.  

Timothée Lafont (center right) and his team working on level design for their game Away Back on the sixth floor of the JMSB building on Nov. 3. Photo by Andrae Lerone Lewis.

This semester’s featured theme was “the space between.”  Submissions ranged from traversing alternate realities to surviving alone on a desolate spaceship.

“They’re the best way to get that experience on how to build a game in such a short amount of time,” said Timothee Lafont, a teacher in game design at LaSalle College. “It pushes you to come up with clever ideas to come up with an engaging game.”

Using Unreal Engine 5, a game development software, Lafont’s team planned to make a puzzle game that would warp around the player as time passed. Along with his team of concept artists, Lafont aimed to make the game visually remarkable with unique  level and character design. He was confident in his team’s ability to accomplish the task before the time limit.

Another team, headed by Karin Etemadi, a student in cell molecular biology at Concordia, started plans for a game set in space where the player must survive monsters in a desolate spaceship. A first-timer, Etemadi said she did not know what challenges her team, “the Saltshakers,” would face, but they aimed to produce a working model nonetheless.

Both teams successfully submitted their work in time for the event’s closing ceremony on Nov. 5 at Concordia’s John Molson School of Business. The results will be determined in the coming weeks.

Categories
Arts Arts and Culture Culture Student Life

Morocco and feminism embodied in a card game        

Two Moroccan artists share their journey through the production of a card game that transmits their culture and values.

This interview features the creators of Darone, Safae Mounsif, also known as, Sfiya, and Donia Zahir, discussing their production of a card game that offers a glimpse of Morocco through a feminist lens. The cards can be used to play any game, but they were originally inspired by the game Ronda. Learn more about their work at their website here or on their Instagram @darone.art.        

Serena Abouljoud: Let’s start from the beginning. How did the two of you meet? What made you want to start this project together?

Sfiya: So, I’m a visual artist and Donia is a web designer. We wanted to use our two skills to make a project from the beginning to the end and to share this experience together. We wanted to create a medium that will be different from a painting, something that will be more accessible to the user. In visual arts, you always have this distance between you and the artwork. You can’t always touch it or understand it. We wanted to remove this distance and use a medium that people can touch and that will create a kind of socialization. This is why we thought of a card game. People can touch it, use it, and play with it.

Donia Zahir: Before Darone, we worked a lot together, mainly on Sfiya’s projects. We worked a lot on her exposition “H’RIRA,” which was around the theme of Morocco, and one of her projects was a card from the card game Ronda. When I saw it, I felt something there, I had this image of when I was young and playing Ronda. Then at that moment, we were like, we should do a card game that represents the people from Morocco.

SA: Can you tell me more about the aspects of Morocco and the concepts that inspired this card game?

Sfiya: We got directly inspired by Ronda, which is very popular among Moroccans. Playing Ronda with the family and neighbors is something very important in our culture. In Morocco, you can’t just go karting or bowling, you have to create these activities within the house, and so cards are amazing for that since you have endless game options. We liked the idea of connecting this memory of us playing cards and revisiting it.

DZ: Ronda is actually a Spanish game, so there are a lot of white men and for me, that did not really represent our country or culture. We felt it was important to reproduce this card game using our own images of Morocco.

Sfiya: We kept the same symbols, but we replaced the old Spanish characters with Moroccan ones. We made a few changes to fit our values too. For example, this is a feminist card game—the most powerful card of the game is the queen. Our kings are babies, the children of the queens. All our knights are women with motorcycles. In Morocco, the only city where you see women riding motorcycles is Marrakesh. Each time we go there, we are just so fascinated. All these women were riding motorcycles, while still wearing their Djellabas and Kaftans. This is all coming from our version of Moroccan feminism.

DZ: We added symbols that would fit the concept of our collection too. The knives for example, are from Morocco. Our queens are also dancers. We wanted the cards to represent how we see our country every day and the power of feminists from Morocco. 

Sfiya: In Morocco, it’s called “shikhat” and up to now, they are very controversial figures because they were the first women to have a free relationship with their bodies. The first to think about politics, love, relationships and sexuality. They would sing and dance in front of a mixed audience, and they were often related to prostitution because of their relationship with their bodies. For us, they were icons, Moroccan feminists, which is why we wanted to have them as the queens of the game.

SA: Is there a piece that you are particularly proud of or that holds a lot of significance to you?

DZ: I feel like mine is the warrior on the bike with a knife, where she’s almost screaming. It’s a beautiful and powerful card. I think it’s one of our best ones.

Sfiya: For me, it’s the queen with the tea being poured on her. She looks very happy. Some people see something very sexual in it, but I don’t. When I was drawing it, I felt it represented freedom, the ability to dance and be a bit provocative. 

SA: How did you combine your artistic skills for this project?

DZ: At first, we disagreed about the style. Sfiya wanted something that looked like a painting, and I wanted something cleaner, more numeric, and refined. It was challenging for me to adapt to her style.

Sfiya: Yeah. For me, it was good exercise to try and get out of my comfort zone. Donia is also a graphic designer, so when she tells me that these colors won’t work, or comments on anything technical, I trust her opinion. We trust each other.

DZ: We did a lot of compromising as well. The first drawing Sfiya made, I redid it in a more comic-like style. I defined the lines a bit more, but she insisted I keep using painting brushes, so I tried following her style. It was hard not to have something completely clean. 

SA: Are your drawings mainly digital or did you implement other styles and techniques as well?

Sfiya: It’s all digital, but it somehow looks like a painting because I’m a painter. It was not even done on purpose, it’s just my way of doing digital art. We also wanted to make these cards different from other types of cards. We wanted them to be simple and clean, but also artsy so it won’t look too rigid as a drawing. I think the artistic brushes are what makes them unique.

Serena Abouljoud: What did the production process look like?

Sfiya: The process of creating the cards was very long. We went through two different phases. At first, Donia was waiting for me to finish the drawings, then I was waiting for her to finish the graphic design work, which is taking my drawings, framing them, and doing all the regulations.

DZ: I was in charge of the more technical aspects and printing related things. Our first tries were completely different from what we ended up producing. We changed the colors a lot. We started with lighter ones, then we decided to go with more powerful shades. It was difficult to find balance but once we found it, we immediately moved on to the production.

Sfiya: One of the most challenging parts of the production was trying to find a place to print the cards. We wanted to be ethical about it because it’s a project that meant a lot to us, we had many of our values injected into it, and so we wanted to be proud of not just our creation, but also the way we produced it.

DZ: After months and months of looking, we finally found someone. Our deck turned out a bit different because we did not use classic paper. We used a type of paper that does not exist in Canada but has much better quality.  

Sfiya: Yes, it’s better because it’s waterproof and you can’t tear it apart. We wanted it to be sustainable so that people can have it for years, and for kids to be able to play with it and manipulate it without being worried. We could have printed them in some place much cheaper, but we wanted to make sure we do it here to help local and family businesses, and with people we like and share the same values with.

SA: What is the meaning behind the name of your business?

DZ: We thought about it a lot. We wanted a name that is meaningful and shows that we are a feminist company. Darone is basically Ronda, the game we got inspired by, but in reverse. Darone is also a powerful way to say “the mother” in French: the mother of a family, a group, the boss of the house.

Sfiya: When you use the word “Darone,” it does not necessarily relate to having a child—it’s about being a powerful yet caring woman. In our card game, the queen is the most powerful figure, and the king is the child of the queen, which makes her a Darone.   

DZ: We talked about it a lot and in the end, we thought this was obviously the best name for the company and the concept in general. 

Categories
Arts

Concordia-based young designers attend fashion show for the first time

Concordia Fashion Business Association hosts fashion show


The world of fashion is constantly evolving, and young designers are at the forefront of innovation. In late March, four young designers from Concordia University showcased their talent at a fashion show hosted by the Concordia Fashion Business Association (CFBA). The event provided them with a platform to express their creativity and gain exposure in the industry. 

The CFBA is a club founded by Concordia students that aims to introduce students to Montreal, but as co-president Sydnee Grill put it, they introduced Montreal to Concordia. Preppy punk was the theme of the show and designers interpreted it to their liking. 

First to show was Oliver Suri-Cernacek, who showcased a collection that combined traditional fabrics and modern silhouettes. Some designs were influenced by his Indian heritage while other pieces challenged the idea of sexiness in the workplace. 

One of his pieces, for example, was a skirt that focused on the Hindu concept of Āśrama, a system that seeks to explain the stages of human life. Suri-Cernacek’s collection was a standout at the fashion show, and his use of bold colors received a lot of attention from the audience.

Next up was Hannah Silver King, who presented a collection that was inspired by her fabrics. Her handmade designs were a fusion of different recycled fabrics, all cut and sewn together. 

King’s collection was both sustainable and fashion-forward, and her innovative approach to design was praised by the spectators. She dreams of being able to work alongside other talented Montreal artisans to create collections of upcycled garments. 

Third on the list was Mariana Tropea, who showcased a collection that was entirely made up of crocheted items. Her designs were feminine and punk, and she used soft fabrics such as yarn to create tops, hats, shoulder sleeves and more.

“Seeing my friends wear my own clothes, it’s like a dream I had when I was a kid,” said Tropea. She sold many pieces at the marketplace held after the show. 

Last but not least were Ethan Irwin and Adam Garcia, who presented a collection that was inspired by streetwear and Montreal culture. Their designs were grungy and minimalistic, and they collaborated with other Montreal artists to create their pieces. 

Their collection was a mix of cut and sewn handmade pieces, made with all kinds of fabrics such as denim. It was the first time they showed their pieces on models. “It used to be made in my basement, so it’s definitely nice being on our first small runway,” said Irwin. 

Overall, the fashion show was a great success, and the young designers received a lot of praise for their talent and creativity. 

“The show was actually pretty good. I really like the designs,” said audience member Jeremie Omeomga. “The pieces actually spoke for themselves […] Concordia students can be very proud of themselves.”

Perfume – (In)conspicuous consumption?

If you spent $425 on a bottle of Baccarat Rouge 540 but didn’t get a compliment, did it ever really happen?

I never used to be someone who cared much about fragrance — I probably owned three Bath & Body Works body sprays my entire teenage life, and since then, I’ve pretty much been a shower and out-the-door kind of gal. But, while others were baking bread or practicing their French in the latter half of the pandemic, I was starting down a much less productive, and much more expensive, road.

Recently, I’ve been falling deep into the spending hole that is perfume. Ever since stumbling on the #Perfumetok hashtag on TikTok, a new consumption-based hobby has taken hold of me, and I can’t say I’m mad about it.

I do largely blame TikTok for this (among many of my other ills). The platform is nothing if not amazing at selling you a very specific aesthetic goal over and over again. If Emelia, aka Professor Perfume, tells me that all I need to do to radiate “femme fatale” energy is to wear Mugler’s Alien — well, she makes a good point.

In this way, fragrances function just like any other branded commodities — you buy them for the name and bottle as much as you buy for scent. According to Allure, in some cases, the perfume is actually developed with the bottle’s shape and colour in mind before the scent inside is even formulated. Fabien Baron, the designer, photographer, and filmmaker behind Calvin Klein’s CK One fragrance told Allure that a perfume’s image is generally more important than the scent itself when determining the success of a fragrance launch.

Further, with the perfume industry being largely dominated by premium (ie. designer and niche house) perfumeries, there is a lot of money to be made from a good branding strategy to go along with your product. 

However, as the consumer, once you leave Sephora and actually begin to wear the perfume in your everyday life, are you actually communicating this expensive purchase to anyone else?

Sure, I could clock a sniff of $166 By the Fireplace by Maison Margiela walking down the street, but I admit that my perfume nerdiness is not the default. Even when wearing the most famous and luxurious perfumes, to most people, you’re just someone who smells nice, not someone with $210 to throw at a bottle of Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford. With that being said, is perfume necessarily a conspicuous consumption? 

It’s hard to say. When I think of why I like to buy perfume, it’s difficult to find a distinct answer. If it was just about smelling nice, surely I would be okay with just buying some essential oils off of Amazon and calling it a day, right? But I don’t, I have to buy Glossier You.

It’s not that I even like Glossier as a company. I find many of their makeup products to be overpriced and underperforming, and their corporate governance has been marred by controversy. I know that the millennial pink branding and Instagram full of cool influencers’ impossibly “clean” glowy skin is simply a marketing strategy. Yet, I still paid $60 USD for their Glossier You perfume.

Despite the fact that maybe one out of hundreds of people would know that when I walk down the hall smelling of a faint, powdery, peppery musk, it is in fact due to Glossier, I still feel trendy wearing it. And that’s tied to the name more than the scent itself.

So here perfume becomes both conspicuous and inconspicuous — you’re always influenced by the bottle and marketing strategy, even when you are not outwardly advertising your purchase to anyone. 

While I pat myself on the back for being a conscious consumer, aware of branding strategies and the power of influencer marketing, this recent trip down the financial rabbit hole that is a perfume addiction has shown me that we’re all a bit susceptible to the hype. But, that’s not going to stop me from visiting Sephora.com now is it?

 

Feature graphic by James Fay

Categories
Student Life

Taking time off to follow your passion

Michel Zhao opted out of cell biology to expand interior design business

It all started with boredom and a timeless desire to make money. Concordia student Michael Zhao realized that, despite his love for cell biology, he wanted to do more than study.

“I was really bored, and looking for a job didn’t seem fun for me,” said Zhao. “I think it’s very important to have fun doing something.”

Last March, Zhao began a project he thought would be a good step toward a lifestyle he felt comfortable with—interior design supply. Zhao is now the middleman in the world of interior design, the link between supply and demand, dealing with furniture, textiles and decorations.

“Right now, we’re doing a lot of old French styles, like châteaus,” said Zhao. “People see this hundred-of-years-old chandelier and say ‘I want that,’ and I find someone who can replicate or create it with whatever changes they want.”

Zhao’s fascination with symbolism, paired with a bit of Versace influence led him to name his company Arachne. The name is taken from a Greek myth in which a talented weaver is turned into a spider after losing to Athena in a weaving contest.

“A lot of things we do are textiles, and Arachne, as in spiders, they weave, right?” Zhao explained with a smile. “And I chose the logo based on that.”

The black and gold logo is a spider shaped like Spider-Man, sharp-edged with long legs and a small body. Two olive leaves symbolizing Athena surround the spider. “The inspiration came from Versace and their black and gold Medusa,” said Zhao. “The idea is I want to make something so beautiful that it will stun everyone that sees it.”

Right now, Zhao is the company’s only employee. But, when addressing his customers, he believes it’s important to use the pronoun “we,” to establish a form of trust and wholeness for both the customers and suppliers he works with. “I’m the guy who finds all the manufacturers and gets them to work together,” Zhao said. “It’s basically a distribution and collection thing, and there’s more than one party involved.”

When it comes to marketing himself, Zhao targets smaller companies that would not necessarily have the means to hire a full-time middleman. “For them, it’s better to work with an outsider than to hire someone because I take the risk,” said Zhao. “If I’m an employee at their company, even if it’s my fault, the company is still held responsible. By outsourcing it to me, it’s never the company’s fault.”

One of his most notable projects this year was a Quebec City home, which the owner wanted to emulate a “princess castle.” “Crystals [were] everywhere,” Zhao said with a smile. “She wanted her visitors to have their heels click to crystal on the floors.”

Zhao makes money from each project and, according to him, he has made about $50,000 since his first.

Although he has yet to establish an online presence, Zhao has been on the road meeting with people and companies at interior design expos, cocktail parties and networking events.

Sticking to business cards with an email and a phone number, Zhao continues to strengthen his business locally and internationally. His latest project is in Los Angeles. “It makes me happy that I can sleep in,” Zhao said with a laugh.

Feature image by Fatima Dia

Categories
Student Life

When doodles become your own fashion designs

Concordia student and founder of Heure de Sieste T-shirt brand discusses his creative process

It’s abstract, awry, and mangled—yet you can still recognize what it is. Tristan has an ear replaced by a face, Noah has a mouth instead of an eye, and Mathilde is two-faced with a mouth where her heart should be. Tristan, Noah and Mathilde are screen printed T-shirts from the online store Heure de Sieste.

At 20 years old, Daniel Vigny-Pau, a second-year computer science student at Concordia, launched his own clothing line in September. It’s called Heure de Sieste, and it all started because Vigny-Pau was bored in a CEGEP physics class.

He started doodling in a notebook “trying to see how [to] distort people’s bodies or add random body parts to different places,” he said. That same notebook became Vigny-Pau’s sketchbook by the end of the year. He would stay up until 2 a.m. drawing if he was feeling down or in a bad mood.

Last year, Vigny-Pau looked into launching his own line of T-shirts with his designs. Yet he thought it was “too complicated and expensive” so he didn’t pursue it further. He continued drawing, though, and turned his personal Instagram into a fashion-focused account. That’s when his follower count went from 300 to over 1,000.

Streetwear clothing really encompasses Vigny-Pau’s personal style, especially brands like Comme des Garçons and Undercover. Even his biography on Instagram reads “I like clothes.”

Last spring, Vigny-Pau was motivated by friends and family to bring his designs to life. A friend asked him at a house party: “When are you going to do something in fashion?” Yet, it wasn’t until he teamed up with his current business partner, who wanted to remain anonymous, that Vigny-Pau’s idea started becoming reality.

His partner, who is in his first year of business school, has connections with manufacturers in Asia and takes care of the behind-the-scenes aspect of the business. For his part, Vigny-Pau takes care of the website and the brand’s social media platforms. Coincidentally, a week before he created the website, Vigny-Pau learned how to use HTML in a web programming class at Concordia, which helped him design the website he wanted.

A portrait of Daniel Vigny-Pau, the founder of the Montreal T-shirt brand Heure De Sieste. Photo by Sandra Hercegova.

“A lot of people nowadays have their own brands, but I wanted to do something different,” he said. “I’d like to think that these drawings are unique and not something people have seen before.” He described the T-shirts as minimalist, since the graphics are in black or white, yet bold due to the compelling design on them.

Vigny-Pau said someone once told him his designs look demonic. While he understands this description, what he sees are illustrations that are simply distorted and twisted. “I like to start with a face because they are so interesting, there is so much you can do with it,” he explained. The smaller features of the face are what he distorts—like drawing another face where an ear should be. He designs each illustration in one sitting in pencil. If he messes up, he said he finds a way to make it work because it’s not meant to look real. He never uses an eraser. “I let it come to me when I draw it,” Vigny-Pau said about his artistic process.

When Vigny-Pau was coming up with a name for the brand, he felt a French name would be best since it’s a Montreal brand. As he was scrolling through proverbs and French expressions, Heure de Sieste stood out to him. Vigny-Pau said he felt it was relevant, as most his drawings come from late-night sketching sessions right before bed. Sleep is also associated with nightmares, which is one of the vibes he goes for when designing the shirts. The logo is simple because his focus is less on the brand’s name and more on the graphics themselves.

Even though he’s a computer science student, Vigny-Pau always had an artistic side growing up. “I play piano, I did a lot of arts in high school,” he said. So creating and having this clothing line is a fun way to keep his artistic side active while in university. One of his drawings is even featured on the album cover of Out Here, a mixtape by his friend, Paul Ha.

The T-shirts for sale right now are available in a limited quantity, which Vigny-Pau said is a way to keep the clothing unique. He also intends to introduce more apparel to keep the line alive.

Heure de Sieste has a lot of plans for the future. Vigny-Pau said he hopes to release hoodies or perhaps even coach jackets with a print on the back. In the meantime, he has learned that it takes a lot of effort and time to turn a drawing into the custom-made T-shirts he sells to customers. Even once he has the first sample of the T-shirt ready, Vigny-Pau explained that the process isn’t over—there’s usually some tweaking before finalizing it, which he said takes patience.

Heure de Sieste’s winter collection will be released in December and will feature jumpers. “I want to finish my degree,” Vigny-Pau said. “ I like programming, but [the clothing line] is a fun thing to have on the side. I really want to see where it goes.”

Check out what Heure de Sieste has to offer by visiting http://www.heuredesieste.com.

Categories
Student Life

Humans of Concordia: Jack Beaumont

A first-year design student making clothes, the sustainable and eco-friendly way

Alexander McQueen’s controversial designs sparked Jack Beaumont’s passion for fashion at a young age. This passion quickly turned to action and, at the age of seven, they started sewing.

Beaumont’s brand, Conatus, officially launched two years ago when the designer was 17 years old.

The idea: to manufacture sustainable clothing. “I realized that the planet is sick and, in order to help it heal itself, we need to work on sustainability,” said Beaumont. Now 19, Beaumont is a first-year design student at Concordia.

Conatus is unique, focusing on using sustainable fabrics and dyes for its clothing. “When it comes to fashion, there are already too many people that are doing fashion unsustainably,” said Beaumont. “Eco-fashion is really the only way we can go in 2016.”

Beaumont was born in Toronto and moved to Vancouver in 2002. They finally settled down in Vernon, B.C. in 2009, where they still live when they are not staying in residence during the school year.  Beaumont said growing up identifying as non-binary was hard.

“When I was in Vancouver, the harassment got to a point where there were no other options but to relocate,” said Beaumont. Through the brand, however, Beaumont was able to create a kind of “shell” from the bullying. They said expressing themselves through fashion helped them stay strong.

Beaumont also aims to create clothing that acts as a shell—making the person wearing the garment feel strong and protected but, most importantly, themselves. “There is that fine balance between the strength and rigidity but also the fragility and the softness [of the frabrics],” said Beaumont.

Before Beaumont began producing clothes, they extensively researched and taught themselves about fabrics, dyes and different methods of production using organic fabrics. “When I was formulating [dyes], I researched some of the traditional and contemporary methods of dyeing,” said Beaumont. Black walnut became one of their favourites products to derive dye from.  Beaumont produces their clothes from their home in Vernon, B.C.

The designer described Conatus as avant-garde—an innovative and extravagant type of fashion. “People admire the brand as it is, but some couldn’t see themselves wearing a lot of it, as it very conceptual,” said Beaumont. The pieces they make have a modern haute-couture look to them.  A lot of the clothing is sleek, clean, monochromatic and not too fitted.

Beaumont hopes that they can eventually bring Conatus to a less niche clientele, with more wearable pieces.

“I hope that it is something that Concordia can teach me—sort of being able to take your own spin on a design and make it somehow wearable and sellable,” said Beaumont.

The young designer and their brand have slowly garnered worldwide attention, thanks to their social media platforms, through which Beaumont posts and sells most of their merchandise.

The clients, mostly individuals concerned with the environment, contact Beaumont directly through social media, or through their website that is temporarily down. From there, they discuss the details of the piece, including size and colour.  If the client is based in Vernon, the order is hand delivered.

One of the designer’s ideas for a future project is to take silk fibres and replicate them through a 3D printer or use a vat of genetically-modified bacteria to have them produce a garment formed from bacterial structures.

While Beaumont plans to re-launch their website in the near future, for now, you can find their  portfolio on Tumblr under “jackbeaumontportfolio.”

Categories
Arts News

Grease stains, video games and a dépanneur

Graduates from Concordia’s Department of Design and Computation Arts present the Correlate exhibition

Do you remember your first artistic masterpiece? Maybe it was something like a papier-mâché bird or the classic macaroni and glue creation. Do you remember how proud you were when you presented it to a loved one or to your peers? A feeling of pride with a touch of insecurity and anticipation took over any other sensation at this crucial moment.

This was the same feeling that emanated from Concordia’s design and computation arts graduates presenting and offering to the world their own works of art in the Correlate exhibition, which is taking place this weekend. However, in this case their realizations were far more impressive than a babbling kid’s drawing. In this exhibition, the numerous artists and craftsmen displayed an array of various kinds of works. Ranging from interaction design to game concepts, 3D design such as sculptures and furniture, web design, video and sound installations and more traditional visual arts, Correlate seemed to have something for every art amateur.

According to Victoria Byron, the communications coordinator of the event, this variety is quite illustrative of the school from which the students just graduated. “It highlights Concordia’s diversity and everybody’s talent. It really showcases the program very well, very accurately,” Byron said.

Byron also talked about the way most projects presented in the Correlate exhibition echoed themes such as sustainability, social responsibility and ethical production. “Whether it is the theme, the material or the process, it [is illustrated] trough that.”

“Open Wide” by Andreea Vrabie. Photo by writer.

During the two last days of the exhibition, May 2 and 3, fascinating projects will be displayed such as sound and video installations and game design projects.

When uncovering what those talented artists had to offer, looking, interacting and reacting with some cleverly imaginative project, you sometimes felt like you were in a dream. Other times you did not know exactly what you had to deal with, like with the spooky interactive statue that welcomed you on the fourth floor of the Phi Center. At one point, you even had to discover by yourself the beauty and ingenuity of an installation. In all cases, Correlate and the numerous graduates that took part in this exhibition made you sense and understand ideas in peculiar and unique ways. That is why this exposition is perfect for everybody, even people who do not usually attend art exhibits. Correlate is an exhibition that you can experience, not just look at. Children and adults alike will find something to see, to interact with and to like among the about 90 projects displayed in the exhibition.

That is why Correlate should be the exhibition to go to this weekend. You can be sure that you simply never saw and experienced arts like this.

The Correlate exhibition will be on display at the PHI Centre from May 1 to May 3. For more information, visit www.correlate2014.com. You can also visit their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/correlatecorreler2014, or follow them on Twitter @Correlate2014.

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