by Glen Herbert
Earlier this month British Airways unveiled new uniforms, the first revamp in twenty years. The line includes bespoke designs, ethical fabrics, and choice—everything from a three-piece suit to a one-piece jumpsuit. Angelica Colucci '08 managed the team that made the Savile Row designer's ideas possible.
Glen Herbert: You are head of design and production. For anyone unfamiliar, what is included in that? And what brought you to that role?
Angelica Colucci: For the past decade, I have been working in the luxury fashion industry with a focus on men's tailoring. After working at Canada's leading bespoke tailoring company, Garrison bespoke, I moved to London UK to work on the world-renowned Savile Row. I am currently the Head of Design & Production at Ozwald Boateng which is a wonderful position that offers me many exciting projects, from fashion shows to our most recent launch of the new British Airways uniforms. It was a project that we started in 2018 and involved redesigning all the uniforms for 32000 staff from pilots to engineers. It was interesting to design a collection that required so many elements of safety and functionality while respecting the tight brand guidelines.
Since the start of my path into fashion, I always wanted to have my own brand but I also knew that it was important to learn from experience. And, as a university professor once told me, to "make mistakes on someone else's dime." With 10 years of a successful career under my belt, I still have lots to learn, but it is time for me to start on my own. So this year I launched COLUCCI - A design house that specialises in high-quality, made-to-order clothing for men and women.
GH: When did you first have a sense that fashion design was the thing you really wanted to pursue in life?
AC: I grew up in a creative household with early exposure to art, theatre, and fashion which help to shape who I am today. From the age of 10, I was going to fashion shows with my mother and I have been in love with the industry ever since. So, when it came time to apply for university fashion was a natural path for me.
GH: What brought you to RLC?
AC: I heard about RLC through a classmate in middle school. I thought it would be fun to live with friends, so I told my parents about the school, not thinking it would be taken seriously. It wasn't until we went for an interview and learned about the outdoor education that the school was centred around that they thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for me. And it was. I loved learning in nature. RLC is such a unique school for that, and I think it has a method of teaching that really needs to be championed, especially now when we are spending less time outdoors than ever. As a boarding student, I learned a lot of discipline, from maintaining a clean room to showing up to breakfast on time. All valuable life skills that have stuck with me. An impactful trip that has also formed who I am today was going to Everest Base Camp with Peggy Foster. It is wonderful that the school offers such life-changing experiences for their students.
GH: But, at least on the face of it, it seems like a big jump from Lake Rosseau to Savile Row. What do you think the school gave you that lead to where you are today?
AC: RLC gave me a supportive community. ... The most impactful experience that set me up for what was to come was an introduction to legendary Canadian fashion designer Marilyn Brooks. She taught me how to illustrate, how to create a personal style, and how to grow a thick skin.
GH: You mentioned that Mrs Bissonette’s support means a lot to you, then and now.
AC: Cheryl Bissonette was a really supportive staff member that I remember fondly. I was one of the first students at RLC to be applying to a fashion university and she did everything she could to help me get into the Fashion Design program at Ryerson University. I can still remember the day she pulled me out of class to tell me I got accepted into the highly competitive program.