If I were to ask you to describe a “creative” on campus, what would you say? What would they look like? What program would they be in? What clubs would they join?

When asked these questions, many immediately refer to Vogue Charity Fashion Show as a leader in student artistry. They are known for being one of the largest and innovative clubs on campus, and rightfully so – with their major show every spring, in addition to numerous events leading up to the big affair, VCFS attracts the most dedicated, energetic and, yes, creative students on campus. What may surprise many is that the executive and cast are not the art school archetypes that you’d imagine.

For MUSE’s very first online-exclusive editorial, we collaborated with Vogue to discover the individuals who hold artistically oriented positions, but do not match the stereotypes we immediately visualize. We found seven individuals who we deem “Unlikely Creatives,” or STEM-related students who hold the most artistic roles within the club. We sat down to learn more about why they joined VCFS, who their muses are, and their thoughts on creativity.

Moriah Chiang, Designer
3rd Year, Commerce

“Since first year I fell in love with the Vogue community. I have a strong passion for the fashion and design industries. I started my own sewing business when I was 16 years and wanted to continue my sewing skills and work alongside other very talented people. Most importantly, I wanted to use my skills to help make a difference in the community and Vogue was the perfect fit. The experience so far has been phenomenal. I love being surrounded by other very creative and passionate individuals – it’s infectious. It has been a nice outlet to get outside the commerce bubble and meet students from all years and faculties.”

Moriah Chiang

why do students need a creative outlet? I think it is important to have a creative outlet to help train your brain to challenge current trends and learn how creative ideas can fill gaps within our local and global community. Personally, a creative outlet is also important for me to support good mental health and use a creative outlet to relax, destress, and re-charge.

what is your muse?  I love taking inspiration from various places (people, books, past and current art, interior design etc.) however if I had to pinpoint one specific person I would say, Katie Rodgers, a New York City fashion illustrator for Paper Fashion. Her whimsical and effortless art style brings you to a whole other world of imagination and beauty. I highly recommend checking out her website:   https://paperfashion.net/ or Instagram @paperfashion. Not to mention her Instagram stories in her art studio are absolutely incredible.

When did you start music/designing/dance? When did it become a passion for you?  I started designing around the age of 12 years. I have been a competitive figure skater since I was 5 years old and my skating costumes ignited my passion for design. Meeting with various seamstresses over the years was my all time favorite part of being a competitive figure skater. You could say I studied figure skating costumes day and night and loved to collaborate on creating beautiful designs that empowered figure skaters to perform at their best.

Katie Pennockhead of dance
4th year, Mathematics + Business Certificate

“I wish I had done [VCFS] in my first year! I knew someone from my high school that worked with Vogue, so in second year I just decided to go for it. It’s definitely changed my university experience, for sure, for so many reasons and in so many ways. I mean for one just being able to dance again, and to be surrounded by creative people all the time allows you to step outside the world of university for a second and just do something you really love.”

Katie Pennock

when did you start dancing? when did it become a passion for you? I started dancing at 3, in ballet. I think it was probably when I was super young, like 6, that I fell in love with ballet. It became my life: all through my schooling, right to the end of high school. Most of my friends actually ended up pursuing it professionally, but I decided to do something different. It’s always been my first love though.

why is it important for students to have a creative outlet? Everyone’s creative outlet is different, but for me it allows me to compartmentalize my day to day life, to escape any stresses or problems that are going on. When I get into the studio and start to dance, I’m in another world. I’m allowed to live in that different world for a while.

what is something that most people don’t know about you?My love of stand-up comedy. I love it. It’s one of my guilty pleasures, to just go out and watch it. This summer I would go to Second City shows with my co-workers all the time.

Alex Smith, Musician
4th Year, Chemical Engineering

“I wanted to actually play guitar, to do something with it. My housemate was in Vogue last year, and I wanted to be a part of that team.”

Alex Smith

what makes someone a creative? I think that someone needs to be original to be creative. Not unique, they’re different. People can have similar ideas, similar concepts, but the way that they approach or complete something can be completely their own.

what is the weirdest thing you’ve done?When I was little, I used to be scared of my basement, so I used to make our dog Goofy, this little pug, come down with me. Everytime. I’d be like “yo Goofy, you’re coming with me”.

how did you start playing guitar?  I started playing guitar when I was 9, but I got back into it when I was like 16. It was because of the Arctic Monkeys. After they released AM, I was like I want to do that, more.

Alex Van Der Heyden, Musician
4th Year, Chemistry

“I’ve been on Vogue for three years now. I honestly just joined because a friend of mine needed someone to accompany her for the audition. With no idea of what I was auditioning for, it was an opportunity to play guitar so I had to. I soon learned that vogue is absolutely incredible. Witnessing the whole production come together by the work of the most creative and driven people I had ever met motivated me to do more with my music. It might not look like it but every scene in that show is forged from passion, blood, sweat and 10 o’clock rehearsals.”

Alex Van Der Heyden

what makes someone a creative? why is it important? I think it’s anyone with an outlet. Someone that turns the bullshit stress of their week into something they can call their own, just for the sake of getting out. It’s important because, hopefully, someone can come along and acknowledge/ relate to the bullshit that someone went through that led them to make whatever it is they made and realize that other people go through bullshit too.

what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done? In first year, I stayed up all night with some floormates, probably on a Wednesday. At around 4 am, we arranged our common room to have a “throne”. This was accomplished by placing a chair on top of a table and placing a sign that read “chown of thrones” on it. Sleep deprivation is a hell of a drug.

who is your muse? where do you take inspiration from? Kevin Parker. This guy single handily writes and records all the music for Tame Impala. His music is beautifully introspective and emotional but still so damn catchy.

Brie Miklaucic, Head of Independent Design
3rd Year, Engineering

“I sewed a lot throughout my life and VCFS gave me the opportunity for people to see some of my weirder designs that are more art than they are day-to-day fashion. It has been my favourite experience at Queen’s so far.”

Brie Miklaucic

what stifles your creativity? what do you do to prevent it?  Working on the same problems for a long time stifles my creativity; I end up working in a pattern instead of thinking about the problem. To prevent this I try and switch up what I’m working whether it be homework or a hobby.

who is your muse?  Creativity is like any other skill; you need to practice it and exercise it. If students don’t have a creative outlet, they endless creative, which greatly impacts other aspects of their life, like academics. Clubs like MUSE and VCFS are a great way to continue to support creativity in our community, but we could also see more projects and assignments that involve creativity in the classroom.

who is your muse? My muse is my mother. She taught me how to sew and how to be a strong individual. A lot of my inspiration for design I get from friends and family as well as different art forms like painting as well as different mediums. I started sewing by hand when I was 5 and learned how to use a machine around the age of 9. It became more of a passion for me when I started becoming curvier and a lot of fashion trends didn’t fit me. I started getting clothing from thrift stores and altering them to fit me when clothing brands weren’t making clothes for my body type.

Ben Evans-Durán, Model & Dancer
2nd Year, Psychology

“I joined Vogue this year because I saw what an amazing opportunity it was to engage with the arts on campus, in such a multimodal way. It seemed like such an amazing group of people, who were all driven by the same force, to create such a huge performance that celebrates so many different kinds of creatives. The collaboration of the executive team, dancers, models, and designers is really amazing to watch the whole process. I was so impressed with how big of a space that Vogue has created for artistic expression at Queen’s, so I was really excited to be included in that this year. Every part of the experience so far has been really great, and everyone that I’ve met through it, has been so open and kind. The rehearsals are such a free space, where we’re not only being directed by our choreographers but also able to engage with the content of the show and give our input and ideas for the scenes. The photoshoots have also been a really fun part of the process so far, and a really great way to be involved with how the show is presented to Queen’s students.”

Ben Evans-Durán

why is it important for students to have a creative outlet? I think having a creative outlet is important for anyone, at any point in their life for so many reasons, but we are going through so many new experiences during these four years, that it may be especially important to have these outlets. Because there are inherently so many stressors, and so much pressure placed upon us as students, because we go to such a prestigious school, it’s really easy to lose ourselves and what is important to ourselves. We need creative outlets to pull ourselves away from this stress and pressure; even if it is just an hour-long dance class.

What’s your most played song? Wire – Amalou

when did you start dancing? when did it become a passion? I started dance at the age of seven, after seeing a performance of the Nutcracker. My mom took me to see the show, and I asked her if I could sign up for classes at that studio. I’ve been dancing since, starting in ballet, and then doing modern, jazz, hip hop, breakdance and contemporary. I’ve always enjoyed dancing, but I was never really passionate about it until high school. I went to Etobicoke School of the Arts, in Toronto, as a dance major, and it completely changed my relationship to dance, for the better. Being surrounded by hundreds of students, all sharing the same passion for the arts, was so inspiring and really fostered my love for dance, and the arts. The teachers and classes, exposed me to so many different aspects of dance, from history to influential figures and theories. Being at the school in some of the most significant years of my life, was completely transformative of how I view the world around me, and how the arts can exist in even the most obscure places. Coming to Queen’s, I was nervous that I wouldn’t have the same amount of creativity around me, but I soon realized that there is many a creative around campus, and so many ways in which to get involved with the arts in Kingston.

Lucy Walsh, dancer
4th year, Environmental Studies

“My cousin went to Queen’s and she was involved in Vogue first. I wasn’t involved in first or second year but in third year I decided to go for it, and it was such a great decision. It was probably the highlight of my year.”

Lucy Walsh

to you, what makes some a creative?I think that someone who is creative is someone who really doesn’t hold back their imaginative side, they think of something and they want to make it come to life, in whatever way they want, without holding back.

what advice would you give to your younger self? I would tell myself to work harder in everything I do: school work, but also on the creative side. If you want to do something, try your best and do it well. Don’t half-ass it.

why is important for students to have a creative outlet? I think that having a creative outlet is important because normal, everyday school life can get pretty dull. Having something to take your mind off of the everyday and the harder, stressful parts of life is a good way to cleanse yourself, to let yourself escape.

Photography: Noelle Ochocinski
Styling & Creative Direction: Donavan Williams & Jane Bradshaw
Production Assistant: Trish Rooney
Hair & Make-Up: Maya Shapira
ModelsAlex Smith, Alex Van Der Heyden, Ben Evans-Durán, Brie Miklaucic, Katie Pennock, Lucy Welsh, Moriah Chiang
TextJane Bradshaw & Trish Rooney

ABOUT VOGUE CHARITY FASHION SHOW

Highly anticipated by both Queen’s University students and the Kingston community, Vogue Charity Fashion Show is an annual performing arts show produced and executed entirely by students at Queen’s University. 22 years in the making, VCFS is one of the largest student-run fashion shows in all of Canada and has become the largest student-run club on campus. Along with donating over $500,000 to over a dozen charities since its inception, VCFS has developed a tight-knit community of club members, alumni, and supporters, all of whom are instrumental in helping us achieve our fundraising goals.

www.voguecharityfashionshow.com
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