Derek Jagodzinsky: I am an artist – curious arts

UAlberta Arts grad, LUXX designer and Western Canada Fashion Week staple Derek Jagodzinsky lays claim to artist status

Derek Jagodzinsky

Derek Jagodzinsky

Aboriginal fashion designer Derek Jagodzinsky (’10 BDes) says the only difference between a painter and a fashion designer is simply that one of those art forms can be worn.

A controversial topic, there’s no denying the line that once separated fashion and art has become increasingly blurred.

But Derek, creator of LUXX ready-to-wear, is less than concerned with ending the “fashion as a true art form” debate. He’s more interested in how his self-identification as an artist shapes his work.

“Music, film, makeup, painting, sculpting, fashion, hair – it’s all art in a way,” says the Edmonton-born designer and member of the Whitefish First Nation. “At the end of the day, I am an artist and clothing is my canvas.”

He says the art-centric focus of his design education in the Faculty of Arts lent itself to a level of creative exploration he’s not sure can be matched by many design programs.

“U of A’s BDes program is really interesting, it gives you Art and Design at the same time so that you’re looking at your design work through an artist’s eye,” says Derek, who took painting, drawing and sculpture classes throughout his design undergraduate degree and even went up to the 500-level in sculpture courses. “The art aspect has really helped me in my fashion design.”



In fact, it’s the artist in him that led him back to the U of A, where he’s currently taking a masters degree in industrial design.

“I’m just interested in design in all aspects. I want to expand LUXX to jewelry, furniture, watches, cosmetics..,” he explains.  “Kind of like Armani has Armani Home – that would be my dream: a full-fledged fashion brand.”

Derek says he’s not afraid of branching out, because an Arts degree prepares you for a multi-faceted career.

“With my Bachelor of Design – I already make my own business cards, ads, logos. I do my own social media branding,” he explained.  “At the end of my grad studies, I’ll come out with products and the key will be to narrow down to what I’m good at.”

With graduation a long way off, he’s happy to focus on his studies and his current collection: “A Northern Evening”, set to debut tonight at Western Canada Fashion Week. Inspired by Native culture, Derek calls this season of LUXX clothing “ready-to-wear chic with a modern indigenous twist”.

All photos courtesy Derek Jagodzinsky.

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For more information about Western Canada Fashion Week, see

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