Fashion Business Management Graduate Natalya Amres Remixing for Migos, Adidas and more!

“The one thing that has forever been ingrained in my brain is differentiation. Every day you challenge yourself — how do you stand out? How do you take out the competition? So much of what I do now, the success I have, it all started at Seneca.”

Natalya Amres was serving at a restaurant last fall when she got a text that changed the course of her career path. Migos, the American hip-hop trio, was wearing her clothes on stage in Philadelphia as part of Drake’s Aubrey & The Three Migos tour.

“I still can’t quite process that moment,” said the Seneca grad who until recently was working two serving jobs to support herself. “I knew there was a chance they’d wear them but it was not guaranteed.”

Amres graduated from the Fashion Business Management program. She describes herself as a cut-and-sew designer who reconstructs sportswear. Think Puma pants turned into a two-piece set of pants and a bralette.

“I trimmed off the excess fabric from the inseam of the legs and ended up with two triangle pieces. And I thought, ‘Bralette!’” she said.

That was just a little over a year ago. At the time, Amres was trying to sell some old sports-branded track pants that she didn’t wear anymore. She thought they’d sell faster if she reworked — remixed — them. And they did.

After posting her reconstructed Puma piece on Heroine, an online marketplace, the item was sold immediately. The same thing happened when Amres posted another remix the next day and again the day after that. Soon she started posting her work on Instagram and selling them on her website Remixed by Tal.

Then, as luck would have it, a musician friend of Amres wore her Kappa remix on stage in Toronto, not knowing that representatives from brands like Jordan and Kappa were in the audience. A few months later, she was approached by Jordan for her first big collaboration — remixing Jordan gear for the launch of the new Air Jordan AWOK sneakers at a Jumpman brunch.

“It was one of the most meaningful collabs because it broke me out of my shell,” Amres said. “It opened the doors to me doing live customizations.”

For example, when Migos requested custom Kappa tracksuits from the Italian sportswear brand, they commissioned Amres.

“I was given three days to work on the outfits,” she said. “It was so stressful, I didn’t sleep!”

And it wasn’t until several concerts and alterations later (they didn’t fit initially) that Migos finally wore them on stage.

Since then, Amres has gone from having to de-stitch Kappa bands for remixing to Kappa sending her rolls of their bands from Italy.

Not bad for someone who started a jewelry business out of high school, selling beaded bracelets on Facebook, and learned how to sew by watching YouTube videos after she graduated from Seneca.

“I never saw a sewing machine at Seneca,” Amres said, chuckling. “I never saw myself as a fashion designer. I wanted to become a fashion buyer.”

Seneca grad Natalya Amres is a cut-and-sew designer who reconstructs sportswear. She has worked with brands like Jordan, Kappa and Adidas.
In fact, the one class Amres failed and had to retake while studying at Seneca was garment construction.

“The professor was so good he would not let you get away with something mediocre,” she recalled. “He wouldn’t sugar-coat anything. Even though I felt like a misfit in the program back then, the one thing that has forever been ingrained in my brain is differentiation. Every day you challenge yourself — how do you stand out? How do you take out the competition? So much of what I do now, the success I have, it all started at Seneca.”

Whether it’s remixing a duffel bag into a jacket or a windbreaker into a pair of track pants, Amres has made no secret about her cut-and-sew process, often sharing photos online from start to finish.

Recently, she was invited by Nike and Jordan to attend the NBA All-Star weekend in Charlotte, N.C., where female business leaders and creatives gathered in celebration of female empowerment.

“I still don’t know why I was picked,” Amres said. “I’m so small — I just started doing this. Some of the other women who were invited have fully structured companies. But once I got there, I realized no one there was too good for anyone. We were all there to help support each other.”

Back in her home studio, a small condo in downtown Toronto, the Ajax native is a one-woman operation with four sewing machines, two of which take up counter space in her kitchen. Her latest projects include an Adidas campaign for Nite Jogger sneakers and custom Kappa pieces for Sofi Tukker, the Los Angeles-based musical duo that performed at this year’s Grammys.

“Everything’s happening so fast, but really, the remix was born out of me thrifting my whole life,” she said. “I source all my raw materials.”

And then there’s storytelling.

“You have to be relatable to your market audience,” Amres said. “People like to see the cut-and-sew photos and they like seeing me model my clothes. I do that as a way to simultaneously create a brand for myself. People want to see the person doing it live. It has to be authentic.”

Alumni Spotlight: Kate E. Kim, Esthetician and Owner of NAKEDFACE Skincare

Full name: Kate E. Kimthumbnail_Screen Shot 2019-03-26 at 9.25.56 AM.png

Program: Esthetician

Grad Year: 2011

Current Position: Founder at NAKEDFACE Skincare

What is your favourite Seneca memory?

Working at Evolutions Spa and watching the snow fall from building D!

If you could give one piece of advice to a student completing the same program as you, what would it be?

Catch the opportunity where it falls! Once you gain experience, then go ahead and make an adventure of your career.

“You will like your client before they like you” – this means they feel if you care your client will like you no matter what. As estheticians, we provide service and it is all about the experience for the client. If you are confident and friendly people will trust you no matter how good you are.

How has your career evolved?

I always dreamed about launching a product line which was clean and natural yet premium quality. While I was working in the spa at Seneca, I researched in my spare time and started my company, NAKEDFACE Skincare.

How did your Seneca program help you get to where you are now/your current career?

The owner at the first job I got hired for knew my professor! They also knew that Seneca offers a great, well-structured program that covers a lot of knowledge around business management. I am happy to get ongoing support and networking opportunities from professors event 8 years after graduating from the program!

Do you have any other thoughts or memories you would like to share?

I gained a lot of great memories with my teachers and classmates. The best part about the program is the practical class where we worked on one other to practice facials, makeup, and nails. I mean, who doesn’t love being pampered! This experiential learning aspect allowed us to test the latest skincare and makeup products from the Colleges very own, Evolutions spa. This is one of the many things I miss!

Alumni Spotlight: Sadie Jonker

21686138_1472730009447136_7309290509414707708_nFull name: Sadie Jonker

 

Program: Fashion Business Management

 

Grad Year: 2016

 

Current Position: Brand Coordinator, Town Shoes

 

What is your favourite Seneca memory?

FIELD night is by far my favourite memory from my 3 years at Seneca. It was so satisfying to see how 3-years worth of knowledge and 1 full year’s worth of work came together in my group’s final project. Being announced as the FIELD winning team provided a sense of accomplishment I won’t ever forget!

If you could give one piece of advice to a student completing the same program as you, what would it be?

Work your butt off! In class, during your internship, at your part-time retail job… No matter what you’re doing, do your best work. If you are passionate about what you do and work really hard, it won’t go unnoticed in the workplace.

How has your career evolved?

I’m continuously learning about marketing and the retail industry. With the more experience I get and the more that I learn, I feel more confident in myself and my creative ideas.  The company I work for is always willing to try new things and take risks with some of their marketing approaches- it only evolves me more as a marketing professional.

How did your Seneca program help you get to where you are now/your current career?

The Fashion Business Management program taught me about many different aspects of the fashion industry and how they work together. I had a thorough understanding of buying, product development, and store operations all of which has benefited me in the workplace. The Boutique and the FIELD project were both fantastic real-world experience that I spoke a lot about during my first interview after graduation.

Do you have any other thoughts or memories you would like to share?

The Fashion Business Management program and professors are absolutely amazing. I can connect so many tasks in my day-to-day work to projects I completed at Seneca. I am so thankful for the professors I had, I’m lucky to keep in touch with them for advice and guidance as I advance through my career.

 

Alumni Spotlight: Jenna Strano

 

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Full name:  Jenna Strano

 

Program: Fashion Business Management

 

Grad Year: 2018

 

Current Position: Undergraduate Student, Fashion Marketing and Retail Design at the University of South Wales

 

What is your favourite Seneca memory?

My favourite Seneca memory is when I realized that I had chosen the right program for myself, and that made me feel confident in my future after graduation. A big part of realizing I had chosen the right program came down to my second year of studies. My most fond memories of the second year are the teamwork assignments that helped me grow as a person, studying with my friends and realizing that I’m not the only one struggling and lastly still being able to have fun even when it feels like your drowning in school and work.

What was your favourite campus hang out spot?

My favourite campus hang out spots were the booths near Starbucks because they were comfortable, quiet and most importantly you could get in line for your coffee first.

If you could give one piece of advice to a student completing the same degree as you, what would it be?

My advice would be to always remain positive and don’t forget to have fun. You won’t always love each class you’re taking but it is teaching you something valuable and there will be classes that you excel at and absolutely love!

How has your career evolved?

I am about to begin the Fashion Marketing and Retail Design course (Year 3) at the University of South Wales. This is an opportunity that was presented to me by a fellow classmate, and it’s something I never considered. I was eager to start my career, but I realized I wanted to learn more about the marketing side of the fashion industry and I’m keen that the program is in Cardiff, Wales.

How did your Seneca, Fashion Business Management diploma help you get to where you are now/your current career?

Without my advanced diploma from Seneca, I would not be able to study at the University of South Wales, because the credits that I took at Seneca transferred over to the university and now I am fortunate enough to jump right into the third year and get my BA, after one more year of studying fashion.

Do you have any other thoughts or memories you would like to share?

Without the help of my many caring professors, I would not have had the confidence or dedication to be studying in Wales and I would like to thank all of them for always making me feel welcome to share and ask anything. My positivity in the program and the courses comes from the very dedicated professors and I am so glad I chose Seneca as the school to start my studies.

Alumni Spotlight: Nicole Birch

Nicole Birch_Studio Eleven imageFull name: Nicole Birch

Program: Fashion Business Management

Grad Year: 2009

Current Position: Store Owner – Studio Eleven in Orillia

What is your favourite Seneca memory?

One of my favourite memories from Seneca would be running the Seneca boutique with my classmates. I found it so fun, very hands-on, this class gave each individual different responsibility. I also always hoped to own my own store so I enjoyed this very much!

If you could give one piece of advice to a student completing the same program as you, what would it be?

To be patient when it comes to finding a position after you’ve finished the program. The retail industry can be tough, but amazing! You will always have to start off small in an entry-level position, but do everything you can to gain any experience.

How has your career evolved?

After I graduated from Seneca, I started working in the buying industry first as an assistant then as a buyer. I have worked for a few different major retailers like Zellers, Joe Fresh and Jones of New York.

After a company closure, I re-evaluated what I wanted to do next which was owning a clothing store.  One thing that really attracted me to the Fashion Business Management program is the entrepreneurial aspect along with fashion. Since April 2017 I have been a store owner!

How did your Seneca program help you get to where you are now/your current career?

This program has helped me immensely! I knew from day one I was going to be in the retail industry if it was either in a head office or on my own. This program has shown & helped with everything from buying, visual merchandising, entrepreneurship to business plans.

 

Alumni Spotlight: Marysol Kim

Full name: Marysol KimMKim_QA_Headshot

Program: Fashion Arts

Grad Year: 2018

Current Position:

Junior Designer, Creative Matters Inc (*from September 2018)

What is your favourite Seneca memory?

I have too many fond memories during my time at Seneca but one of my favourites is being mesmerized by the garments and costumes at the Fashion Resource Centre. It is truly a fashion treasure trove archiving the zeitgeist: the spirit of the times through the different ages, available to students for learning and research. I am still trying to figure out the pleats on a gorgeous 1980s Issey Miyake outfit I last saw at the centre!

If you could give one piece of advice to a student completing the same program as you, what would it be?

Experiment and challenge yourself. Being at school is a great time to learn and try different designs and ideas. Also, take advantage of the numerous design events and competitions available; it’s a great opportunity to keep you creatively challenged and meet/network with industry professionals.

How has your career evolved?

Upon graduation, I started my career in Warranty Repair at Canada Goose. After an exciting summer of learning and working in Quality Control, I was referred by faculty, to a luxury floor and wall-covering design company. I accepted a position with them and look forward to continuously grow and evolve creatively.

How did your Seneca program help you get to where you are now/your current career?

I am fortunate to have graduated from two programs at Seneca. The Fashion Studies program aligned perfectly with my background in fine arts and pinpointed me to Fashion Arts. With its varied courses and wonderful faculty, I was fully able to develop and explore my skills and ideas, while starting to shape my visions as a designer.

Do you have any other thoughts or memories you would like to share?

Be curious: from the construction of a seam on a garment to the person sitting next to you in design class; the silly show on Netflix and what is happening in Toronto and the world today. I think being curious not only keep you inspired creatively but also helps you problem-solve challenges, understand the interesting relationship between fashion and people, and find your own voice in the industry.

 

Alumni Spotlight: Krizia Testani

 

Krizia TestaniFull name: Krizia Testani

Program: Fashion Studies

Grad Year: 2013

Current Position: CRM/E-Retail Media Assistant at CHANEL

What is your favourite Seneca memory?

There have been so many amazing Seneca memories! My favourite part of the program was having the opportunity to work on several creative projects utilizing different mediums. I found this experience very rewarding and fulfilling.

If you could give one piece of advice to a student completing the same program as you, what would it be?

Be explorative! The Fashion Studies program is a wonderful opportunity to explore different avenues within the fashion industry. From Sustainable Fashion to Concepts & Design to Colour & Trend Forecasting, each course provides a great insight into an area of fashion that you might want to further discover. Find your passion!

How did your Seneca education help you get to where you are now/your current career?

My Seneca education has played a significant role in my current career. The fashion experience gained from the program provided me with the knowledge to better understand the fashion industry. The Colour & Trend Forecasting and Concepts & Design courses both took a deeper dive into the behaviours of consumers and the fashion industry which have proved fundamental and beneficial to my current career.

What is it in your day to day tasks that you enjoy the most?

My day-to-day tasks vary between my primary function areas which include: Customer Relationship Management, E-Retail, Digital and Media. Each function of my role has its own unique attributes which make every day very interesting and exciting! My favourite task is working with CHANEL Global contacts on upcoming product launches and ensuring the launches run smoothly on our e-retailer websites.

Do you have any other thoughts or memories you would like to share?

Seneca provided ample opportunity for me to learn more about myself! The Fashion Studies program was a wonderful learning experience for me to explore the different career paths within the fashion/retail industry and ultimately find a career that best aligned with me.