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In the heart of Parris

Parris Gordon projects an air of professional calmness. Sitting cross-legged in her chair, she’s definitely tired, but somehow still zen-like in her composure. Her jewelry pieces are carefully laid out behind her, gleaming or purposefully rusted with touches of leather and stone.

Don’t ask Parris Gordon about preparations for her collection’s big debut at the prestigious Toronto Fashion Week.
“Oh God, I don’t even want to think about it!” she groans, scrunching bits of blonde hair between her fingers. It’s the first time in at least four days that she’s had a minute to relax.
Nevertheless, where most university students would be daunted by academic deadlines, much less putting together an entire jewelry collection, NSCAD student Gordon projects an air of professional calmness. Sitting cross-legged in her chair, she’s definitely tired, but somehow still zen-like in her composure. Her jewelry pieces are carefully laid out behind her, gleaming or purposefully rusted with touches of leather and stone.
Already featured in Off the Map, the Globe and Mail, and garnering favourable reviews in FASHION magazine, she’s not phased by the attention her line is getting. Although at the moment, she’s trying not to think about it.
“Everything was so last minute… we weren’t even going to show at Toronto Fashion Week… and now it’s like I have to make multiples of things!”
Gordon works alongside her sister, Chloe, who designs clothing for the Chloé comme Parris line.
Parris herself embodies the style of the line–a carefully cultivated bedhead-chic that combines all the comfort and ease of deconstructed menswear-inspired pieces with a downtown grittiness tempered by girlish whimsy.
“I know it gets said a lot, but [my aesthetic] is tough but romantic… drawing out the romance in the grime, and finding the hardness in romance.”
Two of her brushed silver ruffle cuffs capture the delicateness of lace, but are anchored by a dagger-like femininity. Where fabrics would caress, Gordon’s thorny creations cut.
“I’m interested in how humans have transformed the earth, those forgotten, not really thought about things–the industrial. It’s a concept I want to explore my entire career.”
As a designer, Gordon loves to skirt certain dualities. While her interest lies in the technological, her sister loves everything natural. Yet for all their differences, her jewelry counterpoints Chloe’s flowing, diaphanous designs to make for an uncanny synergy in the sisters’ work.
How do they pull it off?
“Honestly, they just work out,” she says pensively. “We don’t sit down and design together. Chloe does her clothing and I do my jewelry. Maybe blame it on the fact that we’re sisters, but it’s just how it comes together.”
For the moment, she’s nervous about what will happen after her and her sister take their bow on Toronto Fashion Week’s brightly lit runway.
“If something big happens, like if more buyers want us, I’m going to have to drop out of school!”
Gordon has been designing jewelry for just over a year now, and is speeding through her program at NSCAD. Though the Chloé comme Parris line takes up a lot of time, Gordon feels that, as a young designer, she still has a lot to learn to take her work to the next level.
“I can’t fully be there [and establish myself the industry] yet but I can’t be there yet until I’ve learned everything in my field, and in my major. I guess the hardest part is trying to be ahead of the game, when I still don’t have all the tools yet.”
If her upcoming debut is any indication, though, she’s very much in the game.

By David J. Shuman

David is a second-year journalism student at King's, is engagement/news editor of The Watch, and a copy editor of The Pigeon. He writes on student politics, campus happenings, and school news. 

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