What brought you to choosing to practicum with DUVAL?
Through out my schooling at the University of Alberta, we have focused on the importance of ethical and sustainable fashion. Before entering in Human Ecology, I did not think twice about shopping in a fast fashion world. After the first semester in my program I realized, we as consumers tend to forget that human beings are producing the garments and accessories we chose to wear. Those humans deserve to be treated well and paid a living wage, as we expect that for ourselves. The simple fact is this is not always the case. Learning about ethical fashion really changed the way I consume garments and accessories. This became a focus for me when I was searching for a practicum placement. I follow Duval Canada on instagram and have always loved the minimalistic appeal of her bags. After reading about Duval on the website, I knew ethical fashion was a value held by the company. I decided to then reach out and ask if Esther would take on a practicum student. To my delight she was willing and here I am
What is your program about?
My major is clothing, textiles and material culture. It is a mouth full when I tell people what I study. This program is not very well known, so I was very ecstatic when I came across a study done by a master student in the program. I was on break at work and opened up the Metro News and found a student that was doing a study on heel heights in association with waitresses, I was immediately intrigued. At the bottom it gave the name of the student and her program of study. I went home and googled Human Ecology, University of Alberta and stumbled upon what is now my major. Many people hear clothing and automatically think fashion design; this program is so much more then just fashion design. We learn textile science, from the process of yarn to garment, how to properly take care of the garments we have and the differences between fibres. We also look at how clothing is a form of language, we all have a style we like to dress in and that can tell you a bit about a person. We discuss different cultures and how dress represents an expression of identity. Throughout all this we focus on slow fashion, trying to change the way we think about consuming. We focus on realizing that textile waste is apart of the top five largest polluters in the world and showing consumers how they can help reduce this waste. This goes hand in hand with ethical and sustainable fashion, stopping for a minute to think if this garment costs me 5$, how much did the person making it actually earn producing it? This program has really had me pause and think. I try to spread the knowledge I have learnt to as many people as I can so they too can become informed consumers.
Have you always been interested in fashion?
When I was young, I thought I would become a fashion designer. I soon realized the only things I could draw were stick people and cubes. I know practicing would have helped turn the stick people into actual people but I wasn’t that passionate about the idea. After graduating high school, I applied to nursing. That is where my University career began, I took two years of nursing and felt like it just wasn’t where I should be. I then took a year off to think about what I actually wanted to do and save money because as most of us know University is not cheap. My friends and family also comment on my style and how it just seems to come so easily to me. My mother is the perfect example she is constantly asking me what to wear with what. I never thought about it as a skill set, you just put this on and then bam you look great! After talking about this with my friends, family and co-workers they soon had me realizing that it was not that simple. Most of them spent more then 45 minutes staring at their closet saying “I have nothing to wear”. This made me realize maybe I do belong in the fashion sector so when I came across the program I applied, got it and here I am so close to graduating!
How would you describe your style?
That’s a hard question, if you asked my friends they would say hipster. I like to wear oversized pieces and hats; I have three walls in my room that hold all my hats because hats are staples for my wardrobe! I tend to stay in a very neutral zone for colours with a pop every once in awhile. Lastly, layers, it is not very often I am seen with just simply a t-shirt and jeans on.
If you could have anyone’s closet, who would it be?
Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, they rock oversized pieces!
If you could only wear one single outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?
High wasted black denim, I live in pants. To the knee oversized beige dress with a black oversized turtleneck sweater worn over it. A hat of course and a pair of ankle boots to finish it off. A simple yet signature look.
What’s your favourite DUVAL bag?
Micro Cross Body, it is the perfect size. I can fit what I actually need to carry and it doesn’t fall off my shoulder when I’m out and about.
Can we find you on Social media?
Of course! My Instagram is @rybert3, I like to share outfit posts and my very cute hedgehog.