Janis Procyk head designer of Prahsik
25yr. old, Saskatchewan born and raised.
Graduate of Blanche McDonald Fashion Program – Nov. 2013
I pull into Brewed Awakening coffee shop (Locally owned and operated of course), to sit down with renowned 2014 Designer Award Winner Janis Procyk.
Was there anyone in your family who inspired you to design?
“Well, not really both my grandma’s sewed. It was never something I was like, yeah you know I want to do that. When you grow up in a small town people laugh at it and sometimes don’t take it seriously. Growing up I never really thought of it as something for a career. Discouraging is not the right word, I just didn’t think of it as a possibility.”
Janis explained to me further that it was more so growing up, and life experience that exposed her to the possibility of turning her loved hobby into a career and business.
“I had a cousin close to my age pass away suddenly, and it’s one of those things that kicks you in the ass to try something crazy – if you fail at least you tried.”
What demographic do your designs cater to?
“It’s starting to change, big things are coming for Sask. Fashion Week. I can’t give my secrets away! I will say now that my demographic would be aged 23-35, professionals. I like going after people who want to look sharp but don’t want to just wear a suit every day.”
Janis herself being a young professional garnished in an impressive Degree in Business, can relate to the need for functional business wear. Something that gives you an edge and the ability to go from day to night. She comments that it is often disappointing to fill your closet with expensive business wear when you wouldn’t want to wear it anywhere other than the office. She is expanding the idea of what a confident professional looks like.
“I find that a lot of professional clothing that you can buy is very black and white, it’s either way too stiff or too casual and I’m aiming for something in the middle.”
What was the effect of winning the SFW 2014 designer award on you, and what has life been like since?
“Well, I definitely got a lot of exposure from it which is always a really positive thing when you’re starting out. I think the biggest thing that would have changed is up until that moment I felt like a complete fake, I didn’t really know what I was doing. It’s one of those things, when you receive something of honour like that, you feel like now you know what you are doing.”
It was the confidence boost, and recognition that moved Janis into believing she was on the right path.
“As a designer you’re always doubting what you’re putting forward, unsure of how people will take it. It’s not that you expect everyone to like it, but more so for people to appreciate it.”
Many people in the arts decide to leave our province for the bigger cities well known for their large Fashion and Design Industries, Why Stay in Saskatchewan?
“There’s a lot of reasons for this one. When you go into a city like that (Toronto, Calgary) everyone is busting their ass to make it, there’s so many good schools there, and people are more exposed to the established Fashion industry. I didn’t want to start there and get discouraged.”
Janis wanted to ease into the industry with the support of her family, based here in Saskatchewan.
“All the designers here are so encouraging, everyone’s sort of here to help each other out.”
Saskatchewan industry professionals, (as much as it is still competitive), people are more incline to help. Partly, believed to be the “Saskatchewan Demeanor”, coupled with everyone’s end goal to build Saskatchewan’s reputation as a reputable fashion industry full of talented designers, stylists, etc.
Janis goes onto say, “I like being the underdog, when you tell people you want to move back to Saskatchewan, people laugh in your face. It’s nice to show them – they think we are the little province who can’t do anything- and here we are busting out some pretty big people, the quality of work is amazing.”
How do you balance creativity with commerce?
“I think of things I would actually buy, as well as incorporating trends. If you think about the colour of the year, (Marsala for 2015), you can start with that base. Some things I think will sell better than others but you do your best. It’s a tough balance.”
Let’s highlight here that it is a tough thing to balance quality control with your budget. Most people are under the impression that it’s still cheaper to make your own clothes then buy them (WRONG-O). Fabric alone for average wool would run you about $20.00/meter. To give you an idea, it takes about 3 meters for a jumpsuit which would equate to $60.00 – don’t forget about buttons, lining, embellishments, trim work, zippers, and labour…Most designers work multiple jobs to be able to sustain their passion of creating clothes.
“You do what you have to do, to do what you love.” Janis remarks.
What’s your advice for people curious about getting involved in the Saskatchewan fashion industry?
“It’s tough. I think you have to have a strong sense of determination. It’s not for people that are wishy-washy. In Vancouver my program started with 22 and finished with 10. It’s an industry that’s tough to get started in, and can be cut throat.”
A common problem with most young people today is… we have NO idea what we want to do. How can we? What exposure do we really gain from sitting in a classroom for the first 12 years of our education? Key is, try and get involved. SFW accepts (and is currently accepting) volunteers. Janis apprenticed under the fashion mogul Dean Renwick, and recommends approaching different designers.
What do you think we should expect as far as trends going down the 2015 SFW runway?
“I think trends going forward – lines of fashion are being blurred now. It’s not so much men’s fashion vs. women’s fashion anymore. It’s turning into a generic thing. Women are starting to wear bolder and stronger looks, harder lines. I don’t think it’s as feminine as it once was.”
We are going to start to see a variation in texture’s – Janis points out the (Dean Renrwick made- leather skirt) worn by gorgeous Founder of SFW, Chelsea Petterson .
As seen here:
“People are turning leather into ball gowns…the lines are being blended and its exciting.”
Who is your favourite Saskatchewan based designer?
“Can I pick two?”
“I am very in awe of A LOT of designers here. I think that the work people do here is incredible. If I had to choose… Dean Renwick… because I’m biased and he is one of the most wonderful people I have met in my life. He is so willing to help people out, he can fit anything to ANY body type at the same time making them feel like the prettiest woman in the world or man…”
“…Also, Laurie brown – her creativity is what is really inspirational. She comes up with these far-fetched ideas that are so wearable.”
Especially what she did last year… OK, if you did not see Laurie Brown’s line walk SFW 2014… youtube it NOW. No words can describe the innovation of her line and the way that she PRESENTED it. In fact, it was so moving it called for a standing ovation, people were brought to tears— now if that isn’t passion displayed in art form I don’t know what is. Check out a tidbit of her show
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
“Five years is not very long, I want to be into more retail stores including national ones. I don’t expect to be HUGE in five years but a few followers from all over would be nice. I would like to be moving toward designing as a full time job.”
I met Janis last March when I had approached her to make me a custom outfit for SFW 2014. She is one of the most detail oriented and kind people I have met. Her attention to detail and craftsmanship add to the great quality of her garments. Janis will be walking a line down the SFW 2015 runway Saturday May, 9th.
HURRY AND BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE – THEY ARE SELLING OUT FAST.