Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fort native designing dress for Junos

It might not be long before you see Erika Kozar’s name among the likes of Christian Dior, Giorgio Armani, or Coco Chanel.
The Fort Frances native, in her second year studying fashion design at Fanshawe College in London, Ont., recently was recruited to design a dress for Heidi Bailey, wife of recording engineer and past Juno winner John Bailey.

“They go to the Junos every year,” noted Kozar, whose roommate is Bailey’s daughter.
“They follow me on Instagram and noticed all the photos I’ve been posting of everything I do in school . . . and she asked me to make her a Juno dress.”
While Kozar won’t be learning about designing evening wear until next semester at school, she was up for the challenge.
“I’ve done one formal dress before—nothing too fancy—but I’ve had a lot of practice so I’m not too worried,” she remarked.
She got started on some preliminary sketches right away.
“I’m pretty excited about it,” Kozar enthused, indicating that while Heidi Bailey might not be shown on the live broadcast, she certainly will walk the red carpet in her creation.
“It’s a good way to get my name out there,” she reasoned.
And with the Juno Awards taking place March 30, Kozar has a lot of work to do.
“I’m going to have to crack down on it in my free time,” she conceded, though adding she doesn’t mind.
“I’ve wanted to be a fashion designer since Grade 1 or 2, so I’m just doing what I love to do,” she said.
Growing up, Kozar took sewing lessons from Carol Inkster in Emo, who started to teach her how to make clothes.
Then in high school, she made sure to take all of the fashion classes she could.
Kozar is hopeful that one day she’ll be able to start her own label.
“I’d like to focus on ready-to-wear styles—pieces that women can wear every single day and mix-and-match—or having a high-end dress line for celebrities,” she noted.
So being asked to make a dress for such a special occasion as the Juno Awards is a pretty big deal for Kozar.
“It doesn’t happen very often,” she admitted. “None of the other people in my class have ever made something as serious as this before. . . .
“I’m just a small-town girl who is getting this crazy opportunity,” Kozar added.
“There’s no way I would have said no.”

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