It’s a bit of a detour from medicine to fashion – but it’s a road Patricia Te is glad she travelled.
The Burnaby fashion designer is showing her work in the upcoming Wilson School of Design 2019 grad fashion show on April 18. She describes her collection, To Me, as a narrative that mirrors her own upbringing: “one that features a strong female lead.”
Te’s work focuses on ideas of femininity and modesty. In a press release, Te notes that she found a lack of self-expression in what she calls the “modest fashion” market – and that drove her to find a harmony between “the quiet confidence of femininity and the modest aesthetic,” she said.
“Covering up doesn’t have to equate to avoiding trends,” Te’s press release said.
Te was born in Manila, Philippines and moved to Canada with her family in 2002. Her parents chose to move to Burnaby, close to her grandparents, and Te went to school in Burnaby, first at Our Lady of Mercy and then Saint Thomas More Collegiate.
After high school, she went to UBC with the goal of becoming a doctor, a common choice in her family.
“I started out exploring the sciences, and after a couple of semesters realized that I wasn’t as excited as I once was,” she said in an email.
At the same time, she had started working retail part-time and found herself surrounded by fashion and style – and discovering a new form of expression in fashion.
“At the time, fashion was just a playful part of my life, and I had no idea how important of a role it would actually play,” she said. “My personal realization that part of my own internal confidence stemmed from the clothing I was choosing to wear was pretty eye-opening and pushed me to pursue a new chapter.”
From there, she started to try out designing. She doodled, enrolled in a beginners sewing class, researched designers and their techniques.
In the end, she stopped her science studies and got accepted to the Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s fashion design and technology program at the Wilson School of Design.
Now, she’s poised to show the world where her studies have led her.
“To Me is a spirit, not a fashion brand offering a total look; rather, one that can enhance the beauty of a woman who wears it,” her press release said.
Te and other graduates will show their work in multiple presentations on Thursday, April 18: at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Shows take place at the Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, on the fourth floor at 5600 Kwantlen St. in Richmond.