Erin Dyan Holman was the girl who helped me get dressed before every infamous grade school dance. Back then, she taught me the ways of the waist cinching belt, and today, she’s showing the world how to do things right. An emerging menswear designer and freelance graphic designer, Erin is one of the most motivated people I know. With a two-page spread in Flare Magazine and a collaboration with Adrian Wu on her resumé, Holman is set out to change the way we look at menswear. Naturally, I approached her for an interview to learn more about her recent projects, her inspiration, and her career.
THEREGION: I really liked your collaboration with Adrian Wu and Christos Marcopoulos on the Hu-mannequin. How did this collaboration come about, and how did you find the process of working with another talented fashion designer, and an acclaimed architect/artist?
ERINDYANHOLMAN: Adrian Wu and I were good friends, and met Christos, who came to Adrian with a concept for The Hu-mannequin. I sat in on the meeting and asked many questions and contributed ideas. They became curious about me so I showed them my portfolio and they included me in the project. Working with Adrian and Christos was a pleasure. Adrian and I worked late nights in the studio and would bounce ideas off of each other. The process was inspiring and fun! Christos was amazing to work with because of his expertise, experience, and great sense of humour! I am so fortunate to have had that experience.
REGION: You were featured in a two-page student promotional spread in Flare Magazine. What was that experience like?
ERIN: Flare was fantastic. My best friend Brianne Burnell and I teamed up for a contest for communications students (Brianne was in Communications for Fashion at Ryerson). We broke all the rules: gender wise (they said menswear would never win the contest), graphically, layout wise. We were shocked when we found out that we had won. I guess they were looking for something different, because all the other entries looked very similar to each other and none of the others had any menswear or unisex wear included, which is the current trend. Always do what you’re passionate about. You get the best work and have the most fun while in the process of trying to finish it.
REGION: Many of your menswear collections seem unisex. As a designer, is it important to you that your pieces be worn by both genders? Why?
ERIN: Many people have noticed that my menswear seems unisex. I even wear it. I think that any piece of clothing, if done well, should have the ability to be coveted and worn by either gender. It’s a “new age”. We have gender neutral washrooms, countless sexualities. It just seems practical to design trendy unisex clothing to appease the new generation.
REGION: I also loved your idea of having your menswear collection photographed in mid-air. What was the thought process behind the shoot?
ERIN: I scouted out of locations and wanted to do something a bit different. I had seen it done many times in womenswear and wanted to incorporate the high-end womenswear photography trend into my lookbook!
REGION: You mainly do menswear, but I still have a soft spot for your past women’s designs. Do you think you’ll be returning to women’s wear any time soon?
ERIN: I wouldn’t be upset to get back into the womenswear game. I do miss it, and I feel that I would come back into it with and edge, Donna Karan style.
REGION: Throughout your career you’ve done quite a few internships. How did these opportunities help shape your career? Would you advise other aspiring fashion designers/fashion students to seek internships?
ERIN: I’ve interned with Le Chateau for design, Joe Mimran and Associates for surface design, Karamea for womenswear, and FADED Lifestyle for menswear. I strongly recommend internships (paid) because they add to your experience, teach you about the industry, and help you find out which niche is yours for the taking.
REGION: What are you working on right now?
ERIN: I have to style a photo shoot for an upcoming Toronto based rap artist. I’m using all local designers from the downtown area. I find styling fun because it’s like problem solving. What looks good on this body type? What can I get away with? What colours can I put together? It is all very strategic. I love the chaos of photo shoots and having to MacGyver things last-minute. I find working under stress very enjoyable; perhaps that makes me strange.
REGION: Where do you see yourself as a designer in the next five-ten years?
ERIN: In five years—working at a large, well-known or high-end company. Building myself up to becoming an entrepreneur. I’d rather get paid to learn than be a young kid, starting a company with someone else’s money only to crash and burn. In ten years—be my own boss with my own company…with interns! If you’re eleven now, fashion savvy, and reading this…look me up in a decade.
Visit Holman’s site to learn more.
Feature Image sourced by Jennifer Yuen. Included images provided by Erin Dyan Holman.