Wear your YW: the making of YWCA Canada's World Council Gear
July 7, 2011 by Raine Liliefeldt
In a few days, YWCA Canada’s delegation will set off for Zurich, Switzerland, for the YWCA World Council. The YWCA World Council takes place every four years. During a ten day period over 1000 women from across the YWCA movement gather, set policies and priorities for the YWCA movement, elect a governing board, honour women and develop leadership and capacity.
The event isn’t all business though, there are many beautiful moments. Much like the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, delegates are grouped by country and parade into the hall where the meeting will be held. It is a sight to behold. Women from more than 100 countries are dressed in bright cultural costumes, outfits, t-shirts or accessories they have designed for World Council. There is colour, beauty and tremendous pride as women from across the globe represent their countries.
This year, YWCA Canada’s delegation will be wearing a beautiful red and white jacket by Canadian designer Muhammad Algamir. Muhammad, until recently was a student at the Academy of Design at RCC Institute of Technology. His class was tasked with designing a practical outfit for the delegation. Eight students entered the contest, which included not only designing the piece but also overseeing the production of 21 garments.
Originally from Pakistan, Muhammad comes from a long line of tailors and dressmakers. “It was always around me, but I never thought of it as a career.” In fact, to please his parents Muhammad went to study business administration. It was on a tour of the Academy that he reconnected with his passion for design.
“I took my inspiration from Canada.” Muhammad says about the red and white jacket he created. “I know there were going to be lots of women with different bodies, so I made the design to suit everyone. It is flowing. I took the triangles from the YWCA logo and, I made pockets so that it can be practical. The fabric is really good, not too thick.”
Muhammad is quite proud of the work he and his classmates have done, “It is fine, it was really good to learn this level of production. I learned what goes into everything. I think it will help me in my career.”
Paula Shneer, Chair of Fashion Programs at the Academy of Design at RCC Institute of Technology is pleased with the collaboration. “It was wonderful because it gave the students real world experience, they had to create block for different sizes instead of the usual size 10 and they sourced fabric, created blocks. Plus, we love partnering with the YWCA. It was great to have students learn more about the YWCA and so encouraging seeing the group come back to finish the project together.”
Muhammad, is now working with Greta Constantine in Toronto as a sample maker.
As we bid farewell to the delegation we know they will be representing YWCA Canada and Canada beautifully at World Council. Make sure to follow our blog, Facebook and Twitter feeds for the most up to date information on World Council activities and events.