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Sitting only blocks away from the heart of Montreal’s downtown shopping district on busy Rue St Catherine lies LaSalle College. An institution whose Fashion school has been ranked among the world’s top schools and from where many Montreal bred fashion icons have emerged. It’s here that The Montreal Fashion Society got the chance to attend a much celebrated homecoming when one of Montreal’s fashion prominent names: Azamit returned to her alma mater to inspire and educate the next generation of upcoming fashionistas.  This was part of LaSalle College’s ongoing Industry Icon Series that exposes students and the public to today’s industry thought leaders.

These series and in particular this conference session showcased the college’s commitment to staying at the forefront of industry discussion and opinion. Bringing together both students and instructors we got a good opportunity to understand the future of the industry as well as current trends in opportunity for new graduates.

The hour long discussion moderated by none other than Montreal’s own Stephan Leduc’s Dress To Kill editor gave the audience, comprised mostly of LaSalle students, prudent and inspirational advice and allowed us to hear some of Azamit’s opinions on the relevant issues in the industry.

If there was one overwhelming takeaway we heard from the conference, it was ‘”Believe in yourself”. In an honest self-assessment Azamit spoke about her good fortune, beginning as a model and being lucky enough to be showcased on Elle magazine. Her message to students looking to start as stylists was one of ambitious, and opportunistic perseverance. She advised aspiring young designers and stylists to be ready to work as an assistant to leading professionals, a path that greatly benefited her.

Responding to an audience member she observed that the fashion industry was both competitive and collaborative and that to be successful one needed to be comfortable competing and executing through a plan in the face of obstacles. She explained how her own success came through being able to define her own style in a way that clients could recognize themselves in her work. Moreover, it was extremely important she added, to leverage new media to showcase what makes you unique in a way that clearly allows your customers to identify you as the stylist they would want to collaborate with.

Azamit reflected on the changing landscape of fashion education, remarking on the fact that why different colleges might teach different courses preparing students for careers in fashion, what ultimately would be important was the willingness of new hires to work hard. Established designers and stylists would always be on the lookout for people who demonstrated self-motivation and dedication to their craft over merely the classes they may have taken.

Her resounding message was simply one of perseverance. As an entrepreneur or starting professional in fashion, one will have to change directions and adjust to obstacles in the way. Success belongs to those who are prepared to never give up and who when faced with roadblocks can respond by just “pushing more in a different direction”.

She ended with her outlook and vision for her next 10 years: “I think I will continue to inspire and to be more passionate and motivated.” She hopes to create a platform for new artists to showcase their talents and to express themselves.

She also apparently aims to travel more, so we are definitely looking forward to having this particular fashion leader become an even more recognized figure. Check out our interview with her here.

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