“Designs on Teaching”: Alfred Sung at the Ryerson School of Fashion

Did you know……Iconic Canadian fashion designer Alfred Sung was once an instructor in the Ryerson School of Fashion?

Alfred Sung, 1986. The Ryersonian, November 14, 1986. Photographer: Tony Wong. From Ryerson Archives Clippings/Document File: School of Fashion--Faculty/Staff.

Alfred Sung, 1986. The Ryersonian Newspaper, November 14, 1986. Photographer: Tony Wong. From Ryerson Archives Clippings/Document File: School of Fashion–Faculty/Staff.

Now one of the most established Canadian fashion designers on the international scene, Sung began his career as a fashion entrepreneur in the 1970s when he opened retail clothing store, Moon, in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood. In 1979, he and fellow fashion entrepreneurs, Joseph and Saul Mimran, established the Monaco Group Inc. and began designing and distributing ready-to-wear clothing to fashion retailers throughout North America under the Alfred Sung label. Five years later, the group opened a series of free-standing retail stores under the now-well-known name Club Monaco.[1]

“Ryerson Report: Sung teaches course for School of Fashion,” The Ryerson Rambler, Winter 1986. From Ryerson Archives Clippings/Document File: School of Fashion--Faculty/Staff.

“Ryerson Report: Sung teaches course for School of Fashion,” The Ryerson Rambler, Winter 1986. From Ryerson Archives Clippings/Document File: School of Fashion–Faculty/Staff.

In 1986, Sung signed on with Ryerson for a one-year term to teach Apparel IV, a fourth-year course in tailoring and sportswear design. The course was meant to give students practical experience creating a comprehensive collection[2] and to teach burgeoning designers the business side of the industry[3]. Sung knew this side all too well: the year he joined Ryerson, his company had just branched out into sportswear with Sung Sport, was launching its first perfume line, and was the first Canadian designer brand to be traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.[4]

As described in The Ryersonian, Sung agreed to take on the teaching post because he wanted to give back to an industry that had been so kind to him. He even donated his salary to the School, creating two scholarships in Apparel Management and Design, each equal to a year’s tuition [5]. His hiring kicked off the School of Fashion’s practice of recruiting leading contemporary fashion designers to teach Ryerson students. This hiring trend, not yet common in Canadian fashion programs at the time Sung signed on, continues to benefit students in the School today.

To learn more about the history of Ryerson’s School of Fashion and about other notable Ryersonians past and present, or simply to peruse back issues of The Ryersonian, The Ryerson Rambler, and The Eyeopener, visit the Ryerson Archives on the 3rd floor of the library.

References

1. “Alfred Sung: Biography.” Alfred Sung. Accessed March 31, 2015. www.alfredsung.com

2. McDowell, Carol. “Sung has designs on teaching.” The Eyeopener, November 13, 1986.

3. “Ryerson Report: Sung teaches course for School of Fashion.” The Ryerson Rambler, Winter 1986.

4. Economou, Alexia and Ryan Cheung. “Alfred Sung.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2010,  http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/alfred-sung/

5. King, Dawn. “Designer is not an un-Sung hero.” The Ryersonian, November 14, 1986.

 

 

 

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