From Rink to Ramp - Michael Eardley

Up & Coming - Future Stars
Montreal is home to most of Canada's finest designers, many still waiting to be discovered. At MontrealfashionBizvie, we aim to give them a platform to showcase their talent and receive the appreciation they so deserve. Here now is one such designer - Michael Eardley, describing in his own words the journey fashion has brought him through - from hockey rink to fashion runway - Shilpa Varghese | Editor

I had been a hockey player my whole life when some major head injuries put an end to any immediate chance of playing hockey at a high level. I was forced to put 100 percent of my focus on my studies once I recovered. I began studying psychology at John Abbott College after high school, a field that always interested me. In the summer of 2006 I was hired as an Inside Sales Rep for high-end golf clothing company, and that gave me my first look inside the fashion industry. I was re-hired the following summer in 2007. The year following that proved to very challenging...major headaches meant my ongoing attempts to get back and play hockey had to be cut short and as well as I had to leave school for a semester to recover.

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An August evening drive in 2007 would prove to be life changing. An open house announcement for Lasalle College came on the radio and it was then that I learned about the fashion school that was right here in Montreal. I decided to attend the open house and go on a tour of the school. I brought the idea forward to my family who at first were a little surprised to say the least, but anyway supported me wanting to try something different. And so I decided to apply to the school to start in January of 2008. I remember the first day like it was yesterday...walking into the school not knowing what to expect, and going to my first class at 8 in the morning, which happened to be a pattern making class. Walking in, I grabbed a seat on a stool next to a worktable which the class was full of, along with 20 or so mannequins, with one side of the workroom full of sewing machines. We sat around for the first part of class and as people began to share their life stories, I realized that mine would not be in the same genre as theirs. I heard about people who had done fine arts degrees and realized they wanted to go into fashion as another way to express their creativity, I heard from someone who had completed a year of architecture school in New York and changed their mind, then I heard from a few people who had been dreaming about becoming fashion designers their whole life. A hockey player turned fashion designer was a story that no one was expecting to hear, and with a drop out rate of over 70% after the first year in the program I'm sure quite a few people were not expecting the hockey player to last more than a few months.

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It is now 2 and half years later and I have just taken part in the biggest fashion show in North America, Lasalle College’s Signature 2010 where I had garments from my final year of the program on the runway. I've been through ups and downs since I started, but in the last year and half I have excelled...yet I  also feel I have not anywhere near peaked. I have learned a lot since beginning this amazing journey, one which has only just begun, and my creativity grows each day. I have now begun focusing on my own line, live. now. By Michael Eardley in which I hope to debut a club wear inspired street wear collection for the spring 2011 season.

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Credits
Model: Alina Smirnova
Photography: Michael Eardley
Hair and make up: Alina Smirnova

michael can be reached at m.eardley@live.com

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