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Bachelor of Fashion Design Alumna
It is a date Maria Hilario will always remember.
On April 5, 2017, she unveiled MUVMINT, her graduate collection for the Fashion Design and Technology program at KPU's Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design.
The debut was staged on the runaway in front of industry professionals, friends, family and classmates.
"It definitely was an unreal experience, those 30 seconds on the runway," says Maria. "You're the only one who knows how much you put into it, and it's really rewarding to see your work."
Inspired by Maria's experience as a hip-hop dancer, MUVMINT, is a technical streetwear brand. All garments are made with fabrics that have moisture-wicking, breathable, and anti-sweat properties to provide comfort for dancers.
"As a female hip-hop dancer, there's really nothing in the market that moves and breathes easily that also has the look we want," she explains.
Through the Fashion Design and Technology program, Maria learned all aspects of the design and production processes and, ultimately, how to take her vision to market.
KPU's proximity to a dynamic hub of apparel giants in Greater Vancouver offered her exciting opportunities to gain experience in the industry. Maria landed an internship at lululemon athletica, where she learned the ropes of the active wear industry, and was hired as a design assistant after graduating.
"It's the most amazing program," says Maria. "All the skills I learned got me comfortable working in the industry."
The Show 2017 was the culmination of four years of hard work for Maria and 27 of her classmates. Front and centre in the audience of 1,400 was Maria's biggest influence for getting into fashion—her mom.
Maria had an early education in the industry, watching her mother run a business making custom dresses from their home and later working for Canadian apparel brands Aritzia and Kit and Ace.
"I saw what she was doing and knew I wanted to do that," says Maria. "Design was the number one thing I wanted to do."
Maria is about to launch her third collection, expanding into menswear and offering made-to-order garments. She hopes to expand to new markets and is excited about the demand she's seeing for MUVMINT, even from people who aren't dancers, but enjoy streetwear and like how it looks.
"I want hip hop to be main inspiration, but I also want people to feel like they don't need to be a dancer to wear it."
Maria credits the Fashion Design and Technology program with giving her a strong understanding of all aspects of the industry so that she could turn her passion for design into a successful career.
"It's incredible how you can go from not knowing how to do anything, to coming out in your fourth year a lot more analytical," says Maria. "Now I'm confident in the industry and ready for the rest of my life."