Art Outright: Meet Conni Zafiris

Conni Zafiris is a fashion designer from Halifax, NS, now living and working in Toronto. Her brand is called Shop Zafira, a perfect blend of modern, trend-inspired pieces that are 100% wearable and comfortable. Conni studied at LaSalle in Montreal, and is a self-taught, hands-on kinda gal showcasing her skill throughout Canada.

#NuvangoGallery #artOutright ConniZarifis
Nuvango: How does your studio space help shape your practice? Does it have any sentimental or symbolic meaning to you? If you don't use one space consistently, have you found any changes in your work based on where (physically) you make it?

Conni: My studio space is VITAL! I need to have a creative and positive area to work in in order to help my imagination flow and to keep focus. I am very much about a productive space. In the past year, I moved from Halifax to Toronto so my studio situation has changed up a bit. From home, I now have a small sewing area, with my rolling rack of prototypes and samples. I also have a small drafting table for pattern making where I have sketches on the wall to keep track of what collection/pieces I am currently working on. I keep most of the furniture/decor/accessories in the room white/neutral so that the sketches and clothing are still the points of interest. I also often use my mentor's studio because she has a larger space with more table room for drafting and cutting.

My work can definitely change in accordance to where I am physically doing the work. I try to keep my sketching and actual creative process to the daytime when there is lots of light and I can sit by my window where I feel focused and inspired, although ideas may come anywhere at anytime! I prefer to do pattern drafting and cutting outside of my home studio where there is more space (at my mentors studio). It is far more efficient than my apartment space and the distractions that come with working from home!#NuvangoGallery #artOutright Conni

Nuvango: How did you get here? Tell me a little bit about your journey so far.

Conni: I often think about how I actually got to where I am today. Zafira became organically because I needed money while going to fashion school in Montreal. I began selling skirts on Etsy from a skirt pattern I made in class. Things sort of snowballed from there. This whole fashion thing first occurred before I went to school, though. I love thrift shopping and so I would go to second hand stores and search out vintagepieces. I was finding a lot of pieces I loved but they were too big or needed fixing. I wasn't willing to take them all to a tailor and was convinced I could do the job myself. I bought a sewing machine at walmart and found a woman on kijiji who taught me to sew a long with my grandmother who was living with my family and I at the time. Soon I was altering garments and salving fabric, making new pieces. I started selling these pieces on Facebook to friends and friends of friends. Fashion school seemed to be the logical next step.

#NuvangoGallery #ArtOutright Conni

Nuvango: What do you plan on creating while at Nuvango gallery? Do you have a specific project in mind?

Conni:  I am going to develop 2-5 pieces from my Fall/Winter 16-17 collection from sketch to final sample, all while on display!

Stay tuned for our series of blog posts that will introduce you to each of Nuvango’s resident artists and what they plan to create during their stay as part of #ArtOutright.
Gallery & Store hours:
Monday - Wednesday, 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
Thursday - Saturday, 11:00 am - 8:00 pm
Sunday, 11:00 am - 6:00 pm

If you plan on visiting a particular artist, please call or email Gallery Manager Rachelle Sabourin ahead of time to confirm their schedule for the day 647.808.0032