The goal of The Suzanne Rogers Fashion Institute (SRFI) is to educate, support, promote, and advocate for new talent at Ryerson University in fashion craftsmanship and design under the School of Fashion’s guiding principles of diversity, heritage, and innovation.

The SRFI fellowship program is unique in the Canadian fashion landscape attracting fellows early in their academic and creative careers. Undergraduate students from third and fourth year fashion design along with recent graduates undergo a competitive selection process to become Fellows of the Institute. The SRFI provides perspective for an elite group of students and alumni working in the field to bridge the transition from their fashion education to practice.

Made possible through a gift from The Edward and Suzanne Rogers Foundation, the SRFI at the School of Fashion in the Faculty of Communication and Design at Ryerson University supports emerging Canadian fashion designers nationally and internationally.

Suzanne Rogers at Canada House on Trafalgar Square.
Photo: Darren Bandoo

These talented individuals will learn, grow, create and make an impact in the world of fashion because of Suzanne Rogers and the Rogers family’s legacy of support.
As a regular attendee of Mass Exodus, Ryerson Fashion’s year-end showcase, Suzanne Rogers has witnessed countless debuts of young designers only to see their journey seemingly end when the model exits the runway. Inspired by the curiosity of knowing where these designers will end up, Suzanne Rogers posed the question “what happens next?” This question would ultimately become the first step in the creation of The Suzanne Rogers Fashion Institute (SRFI). Over a period of two years, Suzanne Rogers and Robert Ott would develop a dynamic fellowship program set to enrich the next generation of Canadian design talent.

Mayor John Tory at the launch of the SRFI.
Photo: Brian Batista Bettencourt

The Fellows

STEPHANIE MOSCALL-VAREY

Stephanie Moscall-Varey’s rural upbringing sparked interest in the natural world around her, influencing her to interpret aspects of nature in fabric form. After working in the United States as a technical designer, Stephanie decided to move back to Canada to focus on her own collection in 2017. Stephanie debuted her AW 18 collection, Rita, at Toronto Women’s Fashion Week and participated in the ID Emerging Designer Competition in New Zealand.

Stephanie recently completed her MA in Fashion Design Technology Womenswear at the London College of Fashion (LCF). Stephanie and her collaborator in Denmark created a 100% biodegradable leather-like alternative comprised of cashew biomass with potential to filter air. This sustainable textile innovation formed the basis of her graduate collection titled Pit Brow. Her collection was selected to close the LCF Press Show at London Fashion Week AW 20. Stephanie currently resides in London and is eager to take on the British fashion scene.

ALEXANDRA ARMATA

Alexandra Armata is a London-based fashion designer and recent graduate from the esteemed Masters of Fashion programme at Central Saint Martins in 2020.

Recently, Alexandra has worked for designers Vejas Kruszewski and Chopova Lowena. Her graduate collection for her MA Fashion degree centred on exploring her heritage through family photos and archival material to discover an off-beat sense of fashion and personal narrative. The collection focuses on Soviet-era Polish fashion, through the eyes of its foreign descendent. At the same time, her work explores the effects authoritarian governments have on fashion and its accessibility and how that can shape the views of the proletariat.

OLIVIA RUBENS

Olivia Rubens is a positive women’s knitwear designer based in London, England. She aims to create a positive impact through design and material innovation, and social justice initiatives. Through unorthodox forms of research rooted in human nature and pop culture, Olivia uses her dark sense of humour to create eccentric knitwear that is both eerie and playful.

After completing her degree in Fashion Design at Ryerson University in 2015, Olivia worked within the Canadian fashion industry until immigrating to England in 2018. Olivia moved to London to pursue an MA in Fashion Design Technology Womenswear at the London College of Fashion (LCF). Her MA collection debuted at the LCF Press Show at London Fashion Week AW 20. In 2020, Olivia was selected as a finalist for the prestigious International Talent Support (ITS) design competition and was awarded two top prizes: The ITS Responsible Fashion Award powered by Allianz and the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana Award.

JONAH SOLOMON

Jonah Solomon is a designer and artist currently residing in Toronto. During his undergraduate studies at Ryerson University, Jonah was fortunate to have a semester to study abroad at Kingston University London in England, as well as internship at The Row in New York City.

Jonah’s work is rooted in questioning, exploring, and reworking the familiar. The work combines modern updates with timeless perspectives. His garments exist without any notions of sex, gender, age, race or ethnicity. Jonah has become inspired to express his creative vision using a variety of media. He is spending his time painting, drawing, and draping to create clothes in a holistic process. Johan aims to create a new future of fashion, one that is inclusive and multi-faceted.

MATIN MITHRAS

Matin Mithras was born in Iran, where he spent his childhood surrounded by creativity and learned sewing from his mother. Matin’s creative exploration has involved drawing, painting, and graphic design, which he used to study interior design.

After completing his training, Matin worked as an architectural drafter in Tehran. Later, he and his family moved to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Matin graduated from Ryerson University in 2018 and pursued a Graduate Diploma Fashion Design Technology at London College of Fashion in 2019.

MICHAL PERELMUTER & JULIA PAYTON

Michal Perelmuter and Julia Payton are the queer multidisciplinary design duo who collaborate under the moniker ‘avrgbbs’. They combine imagination, play, and nostalgia with fashion design and interactive imagery to develop a world that challenges the status quo. Their design work incorporates textiles made from latex and up-cycled materials, intricate embellishments, and cheeky motifs.

In the summer of 2017, Michal and Julia traveled to London, UK to intern and develop their collaborative undergraduate thesis. Inspired by childhood creativity, they created a 5-look collection titled “Won’t you play with me?”, and an interactive book meant to reignite adult creativity. After graduating, their second collection, “The tale of two average and nostalgic babies” opened Fashion Art Toronto in April 2019. Michal and Julia are currently based in London, UK.

LYNNE HEY

Lynne Hey was born in Durban, South Africa and moved to Canada at a young age with her family. Her childhood was spent exploring creativity through drawing and painting. In her early adolescence, Lynne began using fashion as her primary creative medium.

Lynne became fascinated with styles from alternative subcultures and films from the mid-60s and 70s like Roman Polanski’s Apartment Trilogy, Deep Red, and The Exorcist. Her interest in the horror genre and depicting elements of the macabre have become key reference points to her design aesthetic. Having recently completed her undergraduate collection, she is ready to embark on a career in the fashion industry to develop further as both a professional and designer.

SARA HE

Sara He is an undergraduate student entering her third year of fashion design at Ryerson University. As a queer designer from a family of Chinese immigrants, Sara strives to create a voice for people like herself through her work.

Sara’s background in visual arts informs her practice as an emerging fashion designer. With an interest in conceptual artists like Nick Cave and Urs Fischer, she is inspired to think unconventionally when approaching her design process. Sara values sustainable and socially conscious design and is committed to contributing progressive change to the fashion industry.

JUSTINE LATOUR

Justine Latour is a cognizant observer of the world around her, allowing sights, smells, and feelings of her surroundings to guide her work. Since graduating from Ryerson University’s fashion design program in 2016, Justine relocated to Europe and currently resides in Lisbon, Portugal.

Justine champions innovative techniques and ethical textiles in order to subvert fast fashion in favour of sustainable wearable art. Through Burnt Design, an artistic collaboration with her twin sister Selina, she plays with “What Ifs” and draws inspiration from the bright colours of nostalgia and sisterhood. Justine specializes in print development for apparel and is beginning to translate this work into jewelry and accessories.

FELLOWS ALUMNI
Adrian Arnieri
Quentin Tecumseh Collier


Fellows Photos: Ted Belton