The Cut’s Founder Liza Deyrmenjian Brings Fashion & Design Education into 21st Century

The Cut’s Founder Liza Deyrmenjian Brings Fashion & Design Education into 21st Century

If you ask garment industry veteran Liza Deyrmenjian what is wrong with the traditional education model or fast fashion – be prepared for hard-hitting honest answers! With 3-decades of experience, she sought to upend this status quo by launching The Cut Fashion Design Academy with an à la carte model that will provide the technical skills needed to fast-track students into rewarding careers.

the cut, liza deyrmenjian, helen siwak, disruptive women in business, fashion design, vancouver, bc, vancity, yvr
Liza Deyrmenjian’s The Cut is disrupting the traditional career route for fashion and technical garment designers / Image by Helen Siwak

“The traditional model fails students who are looking to learn a skill or to build a career, by tying their education to an outdated model that pushes a multi-year pre-packaged course load as being ideal. Our world moves too fast to insist on a design student take a 3-year course to learn 3D pattern-making. What I have developed is an experiential educational model that is an ideal pairing of choice and pricing,” says Deyrmenjian.

The Motivation Behind The Cut

After 20-years in the garment, textile, and manufacturing businesses, founder and dean Deyrmenjian was ready to put all her knowledge and expertise into a new business that would change how fashion/design students learned. A way that broke with the traditional methods of 1-year certificates and 3-year diplomas which consist of what she considered ‘filler classes’ to keep the institutions thriving but keep students indebted to students loans and potentially uninspired by the time they received their cap and gown.

“Our model is sleek by design with no ‘filler’ classes as the goal is not to hold students hostage for years, but to bestow upon them an education, taught by industry experts, that sets them up with an expert-level set of skills that will have them following their dreams in a shorter period of time.”

As an educator and Dean of The Cut Fashion Design Academy, and founder of The Cutting Room, a work-learn manufacturing studio that specializes in pattern development, sampling, and production for brands including Herschel, Park and Fifth, Lija, and Dish & Duer, Deyrmenjian has established a unique environment to foster fashion industry talent.

The Cut is bold, innovative, and current and speaks to the philosophy of now – creating sustainability, zero-waste, equity, transparency, and authenticity in the garment industry. The Academy boasts diverse, professional instructors, with classes that focus on fashion design and production skills, as well as marketing, sales, networking, and business skills. Students become creative and adaptable industry professionals with tools to build their own brands and careers in the industry.

The Cut Culture

The academy is home to The Cut team and to keep everyone focused, the space is kept as free as possible from outside distractions with more than 50% of team members – contractors and freelancers – working remotely. “Our focus is on the students and then the students again. With the small class ratio (8 students to 1 instructor), every student spends one-on-one time with their instructor every class and this undivided attention is crucial to learning.”

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Keeping class size small is just one way The Cut is rewriting how students learn / Image by Helen Siwak

Faculty have included industry experts like international respected Canadian designers Jason Matlo & Wen-Chee Liu, acclaimed photographer Matthew Burditt, and film/tv wardrobe guru Shanna Mair. The academy hires exceptional talent from its graduating classes to ensure that the up-and-coming generations have a voice in how to tailor the learning experience to reach students of all ages.

Who is Liza Deyrmenjian?

Deyrmenjian continues to build upon a distinguished international career in the fashion industry for over thirty years now. She is renowned as an innovator, creator, entrepreneur, and is a preeminent fashion consultant and business coach.

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Shooting Lifestyle content for Toronto’s Marc & Mandy Show / Image by Helen Siwak

In 1989 in Vancouver, she founded Arteenelle Designs Inc., and then, Noccoma Manufacturing, which within four years of its inception grew to a 9,000-square-foot factory that made clothes for labels such as London Fog, Umbro, and Marmot.

Liza later moved to New York City, and created a manufacturing firm that sold to major national retailers. After 12 years in NYC, she returned to Vancouver and founded The Cut, followed by the launch of The Cutting Room, a work-learn manufacturing studio that specializes in pattern development, sampling, and production for brands including Herschel, Park and Fifth, Lija, and Dish & Duer.

One of her specialties is working with emerging designers and brands. Her clients have been featured in WWD, InStyle, Glamour, and Harper’s Bazaar, and she has coached winners on Project Runway. Liza has a visionary eye and a talent for mentorship. She has ushered many young designers to success, even leading a 13-year-old protegee’s fashion line to racks in Nordstrom department stores.

FOX Business, Fast Company, Authority Magazine, the Vancouver Sun, and others have featured interviews with Liza about her business acumen, and she has written about her business insights for Forbes magazine.

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Checking in with students is part of Liza’s daily routine / Image: Helen Siwak

Liza D Answers the Tough Questions!

Every day, fashion lovers are bombarded on social media with the good, bad, and downright ugly happenings in the world of fashion. If you are seriously looking to start a new career or veer your journey towards fashion so as to follow your creative heart, we asked Liza D. for some advice for you.

How will the fashion industry become more accessible and inclusive?

By promoting women into C Suite positions, to support women-owned and led brands, and letting them lead media empires! We need to be able to trust who is telling us what to wear day after day.

Why do you feel there is no accountability in the fashion industry?

Greed. Once large corporations figured out how to exploit the withdrawal of textile industry quotas and flood the market with the cheapest and most exploitive garments ever, the nail was in the earth’s coffin.

Are there a lot of fashion design jobs out there for new graduates?

Within the fashion industry, there are 1000s of interesting jobs! So many within Sales, Design, Marketing, Production, and Development. You don’t always have to start your own business just because you love fashion!

But what if you wanted to start your own business as a fashion designer?

That path always comes down to money! First, you need to know exactly how much it will cost you to launch your own line, then you must know exactly how many units you need to sell cover that cost, and finally, knowing what selling strategy you will employ to get you there.

As a seasoned businesswoman and entrepreneur – how do you handle criticism?

As with any criticism, always look to who is issuing it! If the words are coming from someone I respect, then it is worth my while to listen. If it comes from gossip or some anonymous account on social media, it gets the respect it deserves – absolutely none!

Do you have any tips for how to be successful in your career?

Be nice. Complete the job asked of you and go the distance. Do your best. Learn to communicate effectively. Have integrity.

Why is the motto ‘Buy Less, Buy Well’ so important to you?

Because it is the only way to be truly sustainable. Don’t fall under the thrall of greenwashing. Being truly sustainable is simple – Buy Less. Buy Well – two little sentences to guide you.

Why You Should Consider The Cut

Liza has been devoted to doing what is right for the students from day one. The traditional academic teaching model was never been a good fit for creatives and with The Cut’s flexibility, students can learn quicker and more intensely, and interviewing for a well-paying position at respected and stable fashion and manufacturing companies faster than their counterparts.

the cut, liza deyrmenjian, helen siwak, disruptive women in business, fashion design, vancouver, bc, vancity, yvr
The Cut & The Cutting Room in Kitsilano, Vancouver, BC

The Lower Mainland is a hotbed of fashion and design opportunities, and with the academy’s relationship with HR from the top companies, graduating students are able to achieve gainful employment in their communities and launch their careers with the skills needed to succeed.

Whether you are seeking a career in fashion or want to start your own business in pattern-making, sewing, or marketing, take The Cut ‘Fashion and Design Career Training Readiness Quiz.’

We thank Liza Deyrmenjian for sharing her valuable time with us and for being a Disruptive Woman in Business!

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