By Ariane Hanlon
21-year-old Halifax designer Sebastian Blagdon has become an icon of couture clothing in Halifax, turning heads ever since his first collection for Sebastian Couture went down the runway in 2010.
This Saturday, March 10, will be his third time featured in the NSCAD Wearable Art Show.
“At all the Wearable Art Shows he’s been at, there is a collective gasp when his pieces come out,” said Brent McCombs, a Halifax based fashion photographer who has been following Blagdon’s work since his first show. “He is totally unconstrained by the normal concerns of making couture clothing.“
Despite the attention his recent work has been recieving, Blagdon says, “I’m not the best sewer in the world.”
“I just want to make it, and so I figure it out.”
Having taken only a few sewing classes during high school, Blagdon began to experiment. “I would get big baggy t-shirts from Sears and alter them. I didn’t have a mannequin so I would just ask my friends to come over. The deal was that they could keep what I made. And if I stuck them with a pin, they could hit me.”
Blagdon eventually went on to graduate from NSCAD, where he formally studied fashion and textiles. He describes himself as always having been interested in the arts—but not always as a fashion designer.
“I wanted to be an architect,” he said, “but I was in high school picking courses and realized that I needed math to do that. My mom said, “Well if you want to be an architect you need to do math,” to which he responded, “Fine, I won’t be an architect.”
While discussing his motivation for this year’s show, Blagdon said, “I couldn’t put one word on it… whimsy? When I look at this collection I feel like I’ve fallen through the rabbit hole again.”
The five-dress collection will be shown on models wearing 1920s style makeup and Blagdon’s signature precarious hat creations.
“His pieces have an ethereal quality, a fun quality. I love big hats. I love the big showy side of this industry,” said McCombs, who is already envisioning a photoshoot collaboration with a speakeasy lounge theme.
“I feel like it’s pretentious to say that I expect people to like it… but I really hope that they do,” Blagdon said. “I wouldn’t expect anything because I don’t want to be disappointed.”
“I feel that this is my best collection so far, but I always feel like that about each new piece.”
While Blagdon approaches the upcoming show with caution, McCombs remains confident, saying, “The most successful designers take pieces of themselves and use that to design. The response people give him is testimony to his success.”