Alycia Barker’s Story: From Cosplay to Classes

KPU student and designer hopes to break into the fashion industry at the Wilson School of Design

Alycia Barker, attending Wilson School of Design. (Sarah Sidhu)

In the world of fashion, finding a creative edge is not easy. While many designers can get lost in the latest trends, Alycia Barker—who is currently enrolled in Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Wilson School of Design—is more interested in working with clothing that “tells a story.”

Barker heard about the program from a graduate who is now “working in the industry successfully.” The program appealed to her because it offers business and marketing training, along with an education on the foundations of fashion design.

She hopes that what she learns at KPU will help get her into the theatre or film business, an industry that bother her mother, and actress, and father, a lighting designer, work in. She already has a background in costume design and previously organized her own cosplay festival in Canmore, Alberta, where she is from.

“I grew up on the sets of films and theatre productions,” says Barker, about her inspiration to explore a career in fashion. “My mum would bring me to work because there was nobody else to take care of me … so I think the seed was planted at that moment.”

Barker’s interest in cosplay fashion only grew over the years. She is inspired by popular costume designers such as Yaya Han and Jessica Nigri, who she admires for creating their own characters and costumes, rather than paying homage to characters who already exist.

Nature is also an inspiration for Barker, along with pop culture trends such as steam punk and cybergoth designs. Silks, satins, and laces are some of her favourite fabrics to work with, and she now uses them to design evening wear, dresses, and couture fashion.

Alycia Barker’s mythological cosplay inspired by nature. (Photo: Graham Twomey)

In the future, Barker says she would like to expand her knowledge by learning more about the business side of fashion and perfecting her pattern drafting and sewing skills.

“Working for companies such as Vera Wang or Chanel would also be attractive to me,” she says.

Barker grew up with a single mother, and has been paying her way through university on her own.

“I think everybody, especially artists, have their self-doubts at some point. And it’s always [a] battle to overcome that, and to just focus on the end goal,” she says.

In regards to going to school at KPU, Barker says that she is “really excited to be here” and “open to what the future has in store.” A project she is currently working on and excited about is refurbishing a coat from the 1940’s.

To see more of Alycia Barker’s designs and creations, you can like or follow her Facebook page.

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