Tuesday, June 2, 2020

CANADIAN FASHION 2020 (Part 5)

By Ana Kippel

Marie Copps
An Innovator and Modernistic Designer

Fashion Shoot Extravaganza (Photo by George Pimentel / Courtesy of Marie Copps) Click to enlarge



"I am not a minimalist."


Marie Copps had a vision. Her dream was to bring inventive, creative and passionate artists together, to celebrate their talent. As a result, Marie created a high-end fashion and beauty photo shoot experience using Couture fashion and astounding scenes. This vision became reality with her Fashion Shoot Extravaganza™ project. Marie provides artists the platform to showcase their work through this event, many of whom would never have the chance to. Believing in celebrating unique talents, and giving people an opportunity to share their passion for what they love. This show involves the finest in high-end fashion design, production, makeup, styling, photography, and theatre. 


Marie Copps is an exceptionally gifted artist. She is known as an internationally published photographer, fashion and accessory designer based in Toronto, Canada. Her evening gowns have been featured in national Czech beauty pageants and her fashion designs have been seen on several Czech celebrities. As a fashion designer and milliner, she focuses on evening gowns, unique accessory statement pieces and couture headwear. Not a minimalist, Marie mixes up her head and neck pieces with an elaborate richness, adding majestic details into all her garments/pieces.

Her Instagram is a combination of her stunning pieces, events, projects and a collection of inspiring quotes. 

Marie has a different approach to fashion. She doesn’t sell her designs, she rents them. She is against fast fashion, stating that “there are too many issues on how fashion pollutes.” Explaining that she is an artist, and loves creating, her true passion is to be a director and producer, although she adores fashion, she feels she is more of a director. That is how she feels she can give her gift. With a brilliant imagination and having so many accomplishments, Marie is working even harder now, for a stronger, more solid future for creative minds, like her.



Photo courtesy of Marie Copps




FASHION STUDIO: How are you coping with the current (COVID-19) situation?

MARIE: I am doing OK. I am busy working on a project. It is at its developing stage so I don’t feel any restrictions when it comes down to being able to work. I do miss meeting people in person but that will hopefully come back to normal again soon.


FASHION STUDIO: What do you think the Canadian fashion industry needs right now?

MARIE: To be honest, the fashion industry around the world needs to be recalibrated to a better functioning ecosystem. It doesn’t work. We have an amazing chance to make it work better for all of us this time around. We have been seeing all the negative impact on our environment for years, and we didn’t take any action. Sometimes the whole system has to collapse under its own weight so we can start all over again. I feel there is going to be a change.


FASHION STUDIO: What tips could you share with our readers? How to stay active and motivated these days? How to stay creative?

MARIE: It’s a bit complicated one. This time can also be used to do nothing. We are not good at doing that in our society. Maybe it is time to pause and reflect. There is not going to be going back to the “old normal” as we knew it. We are now at a point where we need to start looking into our own lives much deeper and find a real connection with our own life´s purpose. This is the time to face what we didn’t like about our “old” version of ourselves and create a better one. We cannot always just go, we have to be able to pause and reflect as well. 


FASHION STUDIO: What projects are you currently working on?

MARIE: I am working on Fashion Shoot Extravaganza™ project and taking an interesting spin on the last year´s event.



Behind the scenes of Fashion Shoot Extravaganza (Photo courtesy of Marie Copps)




FASHION STUDIO: How do you see the fashion industry in the future? What are your personal predictions?

MARIE: Personally, I would be very happy to see people using fewer garments but wearing them longer. The problem is that we are being told we “need” all this stuff, but we don’t. All the new trends, new seasonal collections and all the social programming about us looking a certain way starts to get confusing people. Personal style is what we should be developing and maintaining, not blindly following all the “new” trends. But the pressure from all the so-called “fashion trendsetters” is intense and our egos can´t see how detrimental it is to us and the environment. 


FASHION STUDIO: Could you share some fashion tips on what to wear for a comfortable yet stylish look while working from home?

MARIE: This is very individual. I have seen pictures on social media where people are dressing up at home and are enjoying it and others are in pyjamas all day long. I think it all comes down to what you want to do and again, we all need to feel that we are free to do whatever we want. We don’t need to be told all the time how we should look, feel and think. I am against all this. I am a free-spirited person and I don’t follow any of these “you should” ideas. I think it is time to be free. Be you, and be happy in it.


FASHION STUDIO: Are there any online fashion resources that you could recommend?

MARIE: I do not shop online much. I am not big on shopping, to be honest. 



Fashion Shoot Extravaganza (Photo by Alexander Pastukhovich / Courtesy of Marie Copps)



FASHION STUDIO: How are you staying creative?

MARIE: Creativity is my second nature. I do not stop being creative unless I am lying in bed sick. I breathe creativity; it is an integral part of me. In fact, I don’t have enough hours in the day to do all the things I want to create and learn. This can be sometimes problematic; I tend to work a little too much and it can affect other areas of my life.


FASHION STUDIO: How are keeping connected with the local fashion community?

MARIE: I am a loner. I spend the majority of my day by myself but I do reach out to check on people via social media. It is a wonderful tool to have, especially during such unprecedented time like we are in right now.


FASHION STUDIO: How would you describe your approach to fashion and what makes you different from other designers?

MARIE: First of all, I don’t follow any rules. I do my own things. I am in my own creative world and I am happy in it. I look at fashion differently, because I create it from an art point of view. I am not limiting myself by any “you have to fit in this box” rules. I am a visual artist. I go with the flow and follow my intuition.



FASHION STUDIO: What in your opinion is the difference between fashion and art?

MARIE: I don’t think that there is a difference at all. They both have an impact on us. They both have the power to deliver a message and have the ability to evoke deep feelings. Both of these genres fall under the umbrella of creative expression, that are communicating with the observer or consumer via a particular medium.


FASHION STUDIO: Do you have tips on how to keep an organized closet space?

MARIE: I don’t know if you know of Marie Kondo? I love watching her and how she organizes people´s places. I think she is a true expert. I love her philosophy. I could use a few tips myself.


FASHION STUDIO: How do you turn your ideas into reality?

MARIE: It is a process like anything else. You get the ingredient – fabric, trim etc. and then you follow your intuition. In my case, it can be very loud and impulsive and other time very quiet. Something just draws me to do it and I follow it. I know from my own experience that forcing it doesn’t work. I have spent few times hours pushing the idea and had to leave it alone being very frustrated because it wasn’t going anywhere. It is a very delicate process. I also don’t draw, I need to feel the fabric right away and see how it works. I love draping and making collages and playing around. It can be a very messy process as well. 

FASHION STUDIO: What are your thoughts on fast fashion and how the industry can improve its environmental impact?

MARIE: As I already mentioned earlier, fast fashion is a huge problem in our society. It’s troubling to see the amount of pollution it leaves behind. We have to improve these habits we have and look into this problem with a sense of accountability. We can’t just consume endlessly and think that it is OK. The ways our society operates and consumes it’s like we have 3.5 planets available. These are increasingly destructive volumes leading to immense future problems.


FASHION STUDIO: You attend a lot of fashion and art events in Toronto. Do you have any styling tips for our readers on how to always look glamorous on a night out?

MARIE: It has only been a few years now since I started to go out. I do enjoy it. It is nice to see all the different events our city has to offer. I do typically wear my own designs and I have fun wearing it. My tip would be to focus more on your personal style, I can´t emphases this enough. It is very important to have a strong personal style. It is not about the fashion itself. It is about bringing your inner self out using garments to communicate that to the world around you. I see too many people looking too alike without a sense of any personal style.


FASHION STUDIO: Could you tell us a little bit about your past Fashion Shoot Extravaganza™ project and reveal a bit of your future plans as well?

MARIE: The idea to produce a show, which would combine a traditional fashion show, theatre and a live fashion shoot experience, occurred to me about four years ago. 

The vision was to bring a fresh new perspective on a traditional fashion show concept. I wanted to combine this classic format with a completely new approach, integrating different elements to create a new level of experience. I strongly believe in creating beautiful things in life. I was hoping that this show could be appreciated by the people who would be attending it. My dream was to bring passionate artists on board to celebrate their talent while creating a high-end fashion and beauty photoshoot experience using Couture fashion and breathtaking scenes. These artists are not usually seen by the public as they often work behind the scenes, so I wanted them to be my superstars. I wanted them to be in the spotlights. It often takes years to develop your skills to a certain level and after a while, we tend to take things for granted. I believe in celebrating our unique talents any chance we have and giving people an opportunity to showcase their skills and share their passion for what they love with others.


FASHION STUDIO: What inspires you or who inspires you in your fashion work?

MARIE: I was born in Europe and I think that alone has a big impact on me. I do love royal and opulent style. It is something I always was interested in. I grew up watching a lot of movies depicting this theme and somehow it always comes out when I create my own pieces. There is this tendency to make things over the top. It just resonates with me. I really do enjoy extravagant design. I am not a minimalist.

FASHION STUDIO: Can you tell us a bit on how you created your gown for White Cashmere Collection in 2018? Was it difficult?

MARIE: When I opened the e-mail from the Strategic Objectives with the invitation to the project I was very happy. I always wanted to be part of this project but I had no idea that I would face one of the biggest creative challenges of my career. When I unpacked the large sheets of the tissue paper I realized that I have absolutely no idea how to work with it. It took me three weeks to figure out how to work with the material itself. It was very frustrating because the dress I saw on display in 2007 at the Bay Department store looked gorgeous and I honestly thought that it couldn't be so difficult to work with this material. It took me 500 hours to create the gown and the headdress. It was a very challenging process. I must admit that I even cried, my hands were cut, burned and I could not sleep for many nights due to the stress. When I was about to transport it to the SO office I cut myself so deep the blood almost dripped all over the dress. It was a frightening moment. But working on this project was a real honour. I was glad that I could be part of it. It was an amazing experience seeing all the different gowns during the presentation.


FASHION STUDIO: Do you have a favourite head piece?

MARIE: I do look back at some older pieces I like and I am thinking to myself, boy this one was a very complicated piece to make. Some of them took 50+ hours to make. I think I don’t have this type of patience any more. I am slowly transforming into a different creative direction.




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