The Art Institute of Vancouver
Be passionate about what you do. Shainin Hudda , Fashion Instructor , The Art Institute of Vancouver
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
I was about 11 years old when my mom got a new sewing machine. I was told not to touch it. So naturally, when no one was looking, I did. I made a mess out of the machine and my mom was livid, but that was the start of my creative journey to becoming a fashion designer. I was determined to master the machine so I could make my ideas come to life. And slowly but surely, I did.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
I relate my industry experiences with relevant examples and stories about what I’ve gone through, in the hopes that students will learn from my successes and, more importantly, my challenges and how I have handled them. I also enforce strict deadlines— students learn that the fashion industry is deadline-driven and they must keep pace and manage various priorities.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
In Design Studio: Womenswear, I divide students into design teams based on skill sets, not who they want to work with in order to simulate a real work environment. We focus on using the strengths of each team member to create the best final product or collection. We end with a roundtable discussion where students share how each classmate has contributed to the project. This epitomizes my approach with students: work hard, recognize your own strengths, and partner with others to everyone’s benefit.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
My Master’s Degree is in Cross-Disciplinary Art and Design. So I see collaboration with students from Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing & Management program areas, and across various disciplines as vital to creating anything new. Working with people in other fields is a great way of expanding your knowledge and networks. In the Fashion area of study, we’ve had great success in creating fashion films with students from the Digital Filmmaking & Video Production program area and photos shoots with students from the Digital Photography program area. Our Fashion students have even inspired students from the Culinary area of study to create food.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
Be passionate about what you do. It sounds corny, but it’s absolutely true. Do what you love and love what you do. I’ve seen fashion students who can’t sew or draw, and they leave the program at the top of their class with strong graduation collections and career-ready portfolios. It’s because they have a passion, a great attitude, flexibility, and a strong work ethic.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I love teaching as much as I love designing. It’s a great honor to work with students who are creative and passionate about fashion as I am.