Clarissa Gallaccio Student Profile

Advice from Clarissa Gallaccio on Balancing Fashion School with a Full-time Job

If you’ve ever wondered whether working full-time and going to fashion school could be a reality, Clarissa Gallaccio is here to tell you it’s possible.

By day, Clarissa is the Production Coordinator for Smash + Tess, one of the top Vancouver fashion brands. By night, she’s a student at The Cut Fashion Design Academy in the Pattern Making and Assembling Techniques and Gerber Pattern Making & Grading courses.

She came to The Cut initially as a part-time student to explore her interest in fashion. “I was working as an engineer before, but I realized it wasn’t as creative as I wanted it to be.” says Clarissa. “After hopping around to other jobs, I kept getting to a point where the subject matter wasn’t holding my interest. But fashion—that was something I was always interested in.”

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The dream job that allowed her to continue learning

After testing out the waters in the world of fashion, Clarissa quickly landed her current position at Smash + Tess. She wanted to keep learning and advancing her skillset, both for herself and the company.

The Cut offered Clarissa the space she needed to pursue her love of fashion full force and build up her technique, while still working a full-time job. “The Cut was able to accommodate my schedule, which was so great for me,” says Clarissa. “I could come in at midnight and work here if I needed to.”

Future plans for her career at Smash + Tess

It’s important to Clarissa to be a self-starter, and she uses her passion for learning new skills and conquering big goals in both her classes and her career. “Smash + Tess was getting really backlogged with patterns—we needed an in-house pattern maker, so we could do things faster without anything getting lost in translation,” Clarissa explains. “It allows the brand to have more control.”

Clarissa plans to grow the pattern making team at Smash + Tess and make the experience more collaborative. “I want to work on gaining more experience and confidence in the role I’m in right now, and we’ll go from there,” she says.

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Within the fashion industry, Clarissa sees first-hand how brands like Smash + Tess are adapting to the changing desires of consumers. Body image plays a big role, and continues to be an important aspect of the business. “Opposed to just designing what they think looks good on paper, Smash + Tess designs towards an everyday body—a regular woman’s body. I think other brands will have to do more of this.”

Wise words for other fashion students working full time

For other students wishing to dive into fashion courses while still maintaining a full-time job, Clarissa has a few words of wisdom.

“It’s a lot of self-learning. Read as much as you can, and make as much use out of your teacher’s time. I spent so many hours by myself trying to power through something I didn’t understand, which in the end cost me time. Plan your time and use the instructor's strengths to your benefit.The one on one attention at The Cut was beyond beneficial for me as a student”