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A runway takeoff for student

Kwantlen learner lands Canada's Breakthrough Designer designation.
Kwantlen fashion design and technology student Earl Mabaquaio walks with a runway model at the 2011 TÉLIO Design Competition in Montreal. Mabaquaio was awarded Canada’s Breakthrough Designer.

Third-year Kwantlen Polytechnic University student Earl Mabaquaio’s passion for fashion awarded him Canada’s Breakthrough Designer during Montreal Fashion Week on Feb. 10.The 2011 TÉLIO Design Competition brought together fashion design schools from across Canada and challenged aspiring designers to compete for one of five scholarships totalling $10,000. Mabaquaio’s design demonstrated outstanding creativity, the best technical skills and respect of the theme.For the last five years, Quebec-based textile company TÉLIO has been a supporter of the growth and development of Canadian designers and their annual design competition is always a significant event in the fashion industry.This year, design students were asked to create a garment based on the theme “Great Canadian North” – the win went to the student who most successfully applied the theme to a fall/winter garment designed for the sophisticated, avant-garde woman. The aspiring designers were asked to design a unique and authentic creation that would identify their garment as the new “must have” item for a high-end retail company while using intricate techniques to incorporate art in fashion. “I’m very proud to represent Vancouver and show the rest of Canada what we are all about,” said Mabaquaio. “Fashion design must always be innovative and balance creativity, technical skills and overall understanding of the fashion business. I see a bright future in Canadian fashion.”Mabaquaio and fellow Kwantlen students Laura Nickel and Kristin Yip were among the 25 finalists who competed for the title of “Canada’s Breakthrough Designer”.The only program of its kind in Western Canada, Kwantlen’s Bachelor of Design, Fashion and Technology program prepares students for careers in the global apparel economy in fashion design, production, marketing, and computer technology. The program features comprehensive industry-based education and training using leading-edge technology and extensive internships that result in employment. For more information about the fashion program, visit