Designer Spotlight: Computer Science Whiz Jana Hanzel

by Sabrina Maddeaux on Oct 13th, 2010 in Designers

Jana’s design secret? Mad math skills.

Not only does this emerging Canadian designer have HOT style, she has a Masters Degree in Computer Science! Jana Hanzel is smart, dedicated, and beyond talented when it comes to working with fabrics to create beautiful works of art. She uses her math background and understanding of spacial geometry to develop flawless figure-flattering patterns.

Jana began designing for her first clients at a young age 16. After immigrating to Canada from Europe, she completed her formal fashion design education at Richard Robinson’s Academy of Fashion Design (Ottawa, ON)  in 2008.  During her study there, she was nominated as 2007′s Most Promising Designer. Since graduating, Jana has returned to Richard Robinson as a teacher of Pattern Making and Haute Couture Sewing.

Jana’s love for art and drama led her to design for many stage performances. She collaborated with the Kanata Ballet School for three years, and also with the Ron Maslin Theater for the Chekhov play “Seagull.” Outside of costuming, Jana’s passion is creating one-of-a-kind pieces for clients using the haute couture method of sewing. She creates wearable garments “with a twist.”  This results in her designs looking glamorous, yet sexy all at the same time… and what woman doesn’t want that? Her looks are often topped off with vintage-inspired hats that turn heads and make a statement. With brains and skill, Jana is definitely one to watch!

Here’s my interview with the brilliant Jana:

1.What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion is a way how we communicate with the outside world – without words. We express our relationship with the society through what we are wearing and we can also show how we want to be seen by other people. It’s a communication tool, indeed.

2.What drew you to fashion, and specifically to starting your own line?

It just happened. When something is strong enough, it comes out whether we expect it or not (originally I’ve got Master’s in Computer Design).

3.Who or what inspires your designs?

Women around me, on streets, inspire me. I think what style/design would be the most flattering to the particular person – I’d like to make them all look their best! Then they’d feel good, pretty and appreciated!

4.Use three words to describe your designs.

On-of-a-kind, feminine, sophisticated.

5.What is the most challenging part of being a designer?

Staying on budget when designing a collection. I have some many beautiful ideas and there are so many beautiful fabrics everywhere!

6.What was the first article of clothing you ever designed?

It was the entire collection for Barbie when I was 7. Imagine, I had no Barbie during my childhood so I asked my girlfriend to lend me one for a week and I’ve made those luxurious clothes for her. And the first design that I’ve actually made for an adult person was a haute couture kitchen apron! I was 11 years old, I guess.

7.Describe your personal style.

I like effortless elegance, with a little twist.

8.What is your favorite fashion trend of all time?

A feminine dress worn with high heels. It really works!

9. In your opinion, what is the biggest fashion faux-pas?

When people wear things that aren’t becoming to them. Very tragic are low-waist jeans combined with a muffin-top belly. Or wearing crocs when we are older than 6 (gardening is an exception). Always confront with a mirror and use your best judgment when leaving the safety of your house.

10.What do you think is the most underrated item of clothing or accessory?

A well-fitted bra.

11.Where do you see yourself as a designer in five years?

I’m learning continuously and I’d like becoming an expert that people could trust anytime – as a skilled designer and stylist as well.

12.What advice would you give to aspiring designers?

It will be difficult on the way – success doesn’t come easy and they have to have a strong belief into their dream. If they have doubts then don’t bother being a designer.

13.Where can readers buy your clothing?

I work exclusively with clients in my studio. I help them to shape their vision about the clothes that would reflect their personality and life style. Anybody can approach me through my web site and schedule an appointment. It will be fun, let’s celebrate that we are women and let’s not take fashion too seriously! We should be happy in our life and fashion could help in it!

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