September 25, 2020

BY STEPH SMITHIMG_5653

Montreal-based fashion designer Simon Chang visited Conestoga College interior decorating and visual merchandising students on Sept. 23 at the Kitchener Studio Project (KSP) to talk about creativity, colour and the highlights of his career.
Located in downtown Kitchener and designed with creativity in mind, the KSP is a unique centre started by Conestoga College in partnership with Christie Digital, the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and some companies within the nearby Lang Tannery. A centre for academic and technological collaborations, the KSP includes artists, storytellers, animators and product designers. The building is also equipped for music, film and video game production.
Chang is one of Canada’s most commercially successful designers. In 2008, he was named to the Order of Canada by Governor General Michaelle Jean for “his contributions to the fashion industry as well as his philanthropic and social engagement,” according to a press release on his website, simonchang.com.
Chang gave advice to the audience, which included an alphabetical list of qualities that he believed were important for success at becoming a better student, as well as how to learn more in their chosen field.
“It is very important for me to highlight these points for you. I’ll make it easy, A through Z,” Chang said. “A, ambition. Do you have the drive, do you have the desire? This is something very important to understand.”
Other qualities that Chang listed were: believing in yourself and the product, quality vs. quantity, giving back and passion, to name a few. But the one quality that Chang felt he couldn’t stress enough was being unique.
“Why be ordinary, when you can be extraordinary,” Chang said. “Be in the two per cent. Don’t be a follower.”
Many students left the event with a greater feeling that they’ve made the right decision with their chosen careers, especially Melissa Pereira, a first-year interior decorating student at Conestoga College.
“He inspired me because I wasn’t too sure that this was what I wanted to do. I just kind of jumped into it and started doing it, “ Pereira said. “I realized that I did become more interested in this. He made me have more goals and motivation, and I guess that’s what I really needed.”
“We’re very fortunate (to have Simon Chang come for a visit),” said Margie Hedges, professor and co-ordinator of design programs at Conestoga College, in a press release. “This is an inspirational event for our creative students.”