Fanshawe grad receives CAFA nomination

A photo of Jacqueline Bradica at the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards. CREDIT: COURTESY OF JACQUELINE BRADICA
Jacqueline Bradica was one of the six nominees for the Fashion Design Student Award at the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards (CAFA).

On Oct. 14, the annual Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards (CAFA) gala was held at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto. Brooke Lynn Hytes, the first Canadian competitor on RuPaul’s Drag Race hosted the event.

Jacqueline Bradica, a 30-year-old recent graduate of Fanshawe College’s fashion design program, was among the nominees for the Fashion Design Student Award category. Although they did not win the contest, Bradica was very happy to have been one of the six nominated students and to have been able to attend such an exclusive contest.

“It was amazing to be there, to attend this event, and it makes me feel like a winner, even if I didn't receive the award itself,” Bradica said. “It felt amazing to know that other industry professionals recognized my work.”

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To participate in the Fashion Design Student category, academic institutions across Canada must nominate candidates, so in the case of Fanshawe College, two fashion design students were chosen who met the requirements to participate in the competition.

Bradica submitted their portfolio in June, and two months later, when Bradica was visiting their family, they received news of the nomination.

“I opened Instagram, and I saw that they started announcing all the nominees for all the categories. And I was like, ‘Okay, like, let’s see it.’ And they posted the student one, and my name was there, and it was a bit surreal to see my name there,” Bradica explained.

However, they said, it has been a long journey to get here.

“I lived in northern Ontario, and it was challenging. There are no schools up there that teach anything like that. And when it came time for me to go to university, I couldn’t afford to go away for university or college. And I went into a different field for a while,” Bradica said.

During the pandemic, Bradica decided to pursue their true calling, fashion.

“I moved to southern Ontario after making some money and stuff, and I decided to sign up for the fashion design program here. So, I came back as a mature student, which is hard enough.”

After their nomination, Bradica feels they made the right decision and is now excited to begin their career in fashion, where they are committed to sustainable creations that everyone can wear.

“I do gender-inclusive clothing that has explicitly sustainability in mind. So, I dabble a lot with zerowaste pattern-cutting techniques. And I do a lot of like sourcing dead stock fabrics and that thing. But I like the challenge of working with zero waste,” Bradica said.

Bradica said they’re grateful for how CAFA has helped them to make their work known as a designer.

“I did meet people there, and I’m now linked up with them in different ways, like through social media, LinkedIn, and many things. So, it’s expanded my network a lot. I met a lot of other designers, and I met some models. Those connections can go a long way over time.”