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Surrey Designer Mixing Function and Style to Promote Inclusion

In the format of one word, with all caps, and a dot, TAYLORHART.DESIGNS is showcasing how design and fashion can be a powerful means of change and inclusion. Surrey citizen, and Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) Fashion and Technology Alumna, Taylor Byrom, was somewhat “destined” for the field of design. Growing up with her mother and grandmother as sewers, she remembers dressing in beautiful, handmade dresses, with matching hats as a child.

But it wasn’t until her high school Home Economics class where the interest and possibility of Fashion Design as a career path occurred. With the help of a teacher guiding her towards the KPU Fashion Design Program, she managed to build a substantial portfolio of sewing during her senior year prior to being accepted. The Wilson School of Design at KPU was an experience Byrom loved.

With the program itself, and the opportunity to gain practical experience through an internship with local Vancouver design company, Kensie, Byrom states that KPU gave her “the skills and confidence [she] needed to take the leap to start [her] business.” After the completion of her program she started a full-time job, prior to starting her own line. From there, the rest is history.

The concept behind TAYLORHART.DESIGNS (THD) first came about in Byrom’s final year at KPU, with the goal to design a line of clothing for a niche market. “Before entering my final year, I volunteered at BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Miracle Weekend, and saw these amazing kids with their IV poles & wheelchairs.” This, combined with her experience during a family illness discovering the difficulties in finding stylish and comfortable clothing for those requiring the use of different medical devices was the basis for THD.

“We have a mantra here – function-to meet the special medical needs of our children; style-mainstream, on trend designs that blend on the playground; and wellness clothing that increases a child’s self-esteem which can give a sense of freedom so kids, can just be kids.”

“I believe every child should feel comfortable and confident in their clothes, and some kids just need some added function to feel like everyone else,” says Byrom. With this in consideration, TAYLORHART.DESIGNS are functional clothing designs for children with feeding tubes, tracheostomy tubes, and wheelchair dependencies.

It is important to note, that these designs are not restricted to children with these needs, rather are for all children to wear – promoting inclusive and compassionate clothing design. The clothing is made with love locally in Vancouver, and includes special features such as: hidden welt openings for tubes, soft fabrics, functional plackets for easy tube access, ability to widen necklines, removable jacket backs, and soft tags for comfort.

The brand is continuing to evolve, and in the future, Byrom hopes to see THD expanding to have more sizing and styles that can meet more needs. “I’d like for it to remain a small, handmade, local business but I can already see how I may need help in the future!”

In terms of the evolution of technology in fashion, Byrom believes that technology has already begun to influence design and fashion – citing off examples such as plastic bottles being turned into fleece for hiking, to specially designed cell phone pockets in clothing. In terms of her specific brand, she is always considering technology as she is constantly needs to consider medical equipment used by children, and adapt designs based on the evolution of the medical devices themselves. Although the designs are cute and stylish as ever, function matters first and foremost.

When it comes to her own personal style, Byrom explains that she is a jeans, t-shirt, and pair of boots kind of girl. She loves the classic look of jeans and a blazer, or a leather jacket as her go-to’s.

Asking her for her thoughts on Surrey design and fashion, she expresses her love for the diversity individuals bring, and how we live in a society where everyone can express themselves through the clothes they choose to wear. As for advice for up-and-coming fashion designers? “Do what you love,” says Byrom, and “find an area in the field you are passionate about and [just] go for it!”

To learn more about TAYLORHART.DESIGNS check out their website here or find them on their social media channels seen below:

Facebook: @TaylorHartDesigns | Instagram: @taylorhartdesigns

And to learn about Kwantlen Polytechnic University and its many program offerings and campuses – such as the Wilson School of Design, follow the hyperlinks.

Robyn Freiheit

Robyn Freiheit

Robyn is a status-quo disruptor, an old-soul, and has a serious passion towards continuous learning driven by a curiosity for the unknown. A creative and equally analytical thinker with experience in leadership, project management and marketing strategy. When she’s not working you can find her in the kitchen, searching for new music, or meandering local thrift stores, antique stores, or flea markets for a unique find.