By Gloria Wooldridge, Alumni Engagement & Student Financial Aid
Meet Normand Bernard, Fashion Technique & Design, 1987
Sometimes opportunities work out better than one ever could have planned.
Normand Bernard grew up in Miscouche, P.E.I. and attended Three Oaks Senior High School in Summerside. With a natural ability to draw and a fascination with buildings and architectural design, Normand had planned on a career as an architect. However, thanks to several classmates, all that changed his senior year of high school.
As high school graduation neared, fellow classmates were disappointed with the selection of unique prom gowns available to them. Because Normand was one to appreciate fine details and was gifted with drawing skills, he began sketching fashion designs to the delight of his friends. At that time, Normand didn’t know how to sew, so his designs were created for his friends by local dressmakers. He bought his first sewing machine when he waS 17 and discovered that he loved fashion design, and this became his new career path. He started exploring design schools and sadly realized that a small-town, P.E.I. upbringing would hardly afford him the opportunity to live and study in London, England, or New York City.
Coincidentally, around that time, Holland College launched a brand-new program: Fashion Technique & Design. Normand enrolled and immersed himself in his studies, excelling at the hands-on learning under the direction of Aggie Rose Reddin. When his instructor was confronted with questions or new ideas outside the regular curriculum, the attitude was, “let’s jump in together and work it out.” Later, when he visited other schools, he realized that what he had learned at Holland College was far ahead of what was covered elsewhere. He had been doing things in his third month at Holland College that other students were only doing in the third year of their fashion programs.
While at Holland College, Normand was thrilled to learn that he was one of the first recipients of the Simon Chang/Phyllis Levine Foundation Award, an award given to promising up-and-coming fashion design students. This award not only helped him financially, but also gave him confidence that he was going to make it in the fashion industry. And he did.
Normand’s career designing and producing evening and bridalwear led him to directing operations and teams in various fashion companies. Living in Montreal for the past 30 years, his work also regularly took Normand to New York, Florence, Frankfurt, and even the Punjab region of India.
At the beginning of 2019, Normand came full circle, when he was given the opportunity to work on a special project with renowned fashion designer Simon Chang. Normand told Simon that his career in the fashion business was due, in part, to receiving that prestigious award all those years ago.
Normand joined the Simon Chang Group to archive the iconic Canadian designer’s vast and very successful fashion career. and now has a permanent position overseeing all business operations. He considers it an honour and a privilege to work with Simon directly, and expresses sincere gratitude for his education, for the award that contributed to his lifelong career, and for the path he has traveled since leaving Holland College.
For more information, please contact:
Sara Underwood, Media and Communications Officer
Date: February 24, 2021