Home > An Exclusive Interview With Cool Girl Designer Rebecca Rowe | Rowes Fashion

An Exclusive Interview With Cool Girl Designer Rebecca Rowe | Rowes Fashion

When I hosted the University of Ottawa’s Capital Catwalk Fashion Show in January, I had the pleasure of meeting local Ottawa designer, Rebecca Rowe of Rowes Fashion.

Rowes Fashion Blue and Black Outfit

I immediately gravitated to this young designer because frankly, she was awesome. Quick-witted, she kept us laughing throughout the night when she wasn’t dazzling us with her collection of edgy, ready-to-wear designs.

Thoroughly impressed with the quality of her clothing, I took it upon myself to learn a little bit more about her design process. Rebecca is truly an interesting individual and this young, well-travelled lady has built a devoted following. Rowes Fashion will be presenting at Fashion Art Toronto next Thursday, April 20th, so what better time to snag her for a quick interview.

Fashion Art Toronto 2017
This year’s Fashion Art Toronto theme is “Fashion Evolution

How did you get your start?

After coming home to Ottawa from studying design in Paris, I began working at a restaurant to pay off my student debt. I was talking to my mum one day and she told me enough was enough. Time for me to move home, save the rent and start my collection. I can’t thank her enough for that. My mum allowing me to take over her basement (and now most of her house) gave me the financial means to be able to start my brand.

What made you get into clothing design?

Nothing really got me in to clothing design. It was just something I always did. I used to draw as a kid, and I still have sketch books from my pre-teen era featuring some “interesting” designs.

Rowes Fashion Black Skirt

Which designers inspire you?

I’m very inspired by Alexander McQueen. How can you not be?! I’m always inspired by designers that put on a real show. My clothes are very wearable though. I make clothes that can be thrown in a washing machine and then ready to wear. I love what I do but seeing spectacles on the runway? That blows my mind.

What is your vision?

My vision changes all the time. I want to see women walking down the street in my clothes. I want women to wear and love my clothes.

How do you want women to feel in your clothing?

Beautiful and comfortable. You never put on a boring, oversized hoodie and feel truly beautiful when you look in the mirror. I love it when women put on one of my garments (just as comfortable as that oversized hoodie) but they look at themselves in the mirror and smile before leaving the house.

Rowes Fashion Burgundy and Black Outfit

Where did you learn design?

My design education started at Canterbury High School where I studied Visual Arts, beginning with the fundamentals of shape and design. From there, I attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. I left New York City after only one year due to the loss of my father. A year later, I applied to the accelerated fashion program at ESMOD Paris. I attended ESMOD for a little over a year and since then I’ve been continuing my design education by reading books, magazines and watching Youtube.

Do you have a favourite designer?

I have a few. I love Alexander McQueen. I love the fact that when you watch his shows, it’s truly a “show”. There is a story behind his runway presentations and they were always unique. He is sorely missed.

For theatrical designers, I love Kate Mior. She creates the most amazing corsets and big pieces. I wish I could live in her brain for a day and see how she sees the world.

For local designers, if I name only one, I’ll get in trouble! I’ll just go ahead and say the local talent in Ottawa blows my mind every time I attend an Ottawa fashion show.

What kind of woman do you want to dress?

I generally see a creative woman wearing my pieces, or the woman who looks for quality clothing. Someone who gets up in the morning to take over the world.

Fashion Art Toronto 2016
Fashion Art Toronto 2016

What are your thoughts on current fast fashion trends?

There are a lot a trends right now that I’m not a fan of, but I can see how they are popular. I fully believe that if you’re wearing something you feel confident in, it doesn’t matter if it’s on trend or not, you’ll look great. I also don’t believe you need to show a lot of skin to be considered sexy, which is probably one of my biggest pet peeves with fast fashion of today.

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

I genuinely see myself in a little studio, set up much like the European ones I’ve interned for, with a little boutique shop in the front and a studio in the back. I would ideally have the boutique as a showroom/small batch production where my studio would be busy fulfilling wholesale orders.

I want to keep my business local, hire local talent and have interns so that I can give them the same opportunities I was given. It would also mean that I would have full control over the quality and craftsmanship coming out of my studio. Which, to me, is one of the most important things.

Tell us about your duct tape designs when you were starting out.

It’s become a running joke that my sewing skills are terrible. They are pretty terrible! I know how to sew and if I were to truly put my mind to it, I can sew quite well but I don’t have the appreciation for it that some others have. I’ve always been like this. When I was in my preteens, I would get so frustrated with the needle and thread that I would grab my grandmother’s duct tape and use that to attach my seams. They would hold quite well, actually. Tape was the easiest way to realize my design vision as quickly as possible, so it soon became my medium of choice.

Rowes Fashion will be taking the catwalk at Fashion Art Toronto on April 20, 2017 at 9:50pm. Rowes Fashion can be found online at www.rowesfashion.com, on Facebook and Instagram.

Dominique Baker
Dominique Baker

Dominique is a Canadian-based fashion and beauty influencer with a strong voice in Ottawa’s black community. Since launching her blog Style Domination in 2015, she has amassed a global fanbase. Dominique shares her life through beautiful imagery and compelling story-telling that speaks to her fans on a personal level. She’s been featured in The Guardian, Flare, The Kit and Cityline. She also hosts events for Dress for Success, the Gem Conference, and has been named a United Way Person 2 Know for the past three years.

Find me on: Web | Instagram


  1. April 13, 2017 / 12:01 pm

    This is such a cool post!! I love reading interviews with fashion designers. Her story is so amazing!

    • Dominique
      April 13, 2017 / 12:59 pm

      She’s a total go-getter!

  2. April 13, 2017 / 12:41 pm

    What a great interview! I love how Rebecca has been drawing since a kid – it’s always fun to read about how childhood hobbies turn into adult careers!

    – Kaitlin

    • Dominique
      April 13, 2017 / 12:59 pm

      I agree wholeheartedly! Rebecca is an incredible lady!

  3. April 14, 2017 / 12:56 am

    Rebecca you are so artistic!!! wish you all the best on your journey!

  4. October 28, 2019 / 7:49 pm

    I really am happy to know u Rebecca as my sketching teacher at Richard Robinson school!hopefully next year as my marketing teacher!i wish u all the best !i am really impressed with what u did so far !i read and heard your interviews looking forward to contact u me and partner to help us in our fashion career that we have just started !

    • Dominique
      October 29, 2019 / 4:08 pm

      Awwww Sarah!! So happy for you!

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