Stephanie Moscall-Varey didn’t grow up wanting to draw patterns and drape fabrics; she wanted to be a genetic scientist. The 24-year-old designer from Port Dover, Ont., had her eureka moment when she was lying in a hospital bed recovering from meningitis during her last year of high school. “Instead of spending time in a lab, I knew I wanted to do something I was truly passionate about,” she says. True to her word, Moscall-Varey enrolled in Ryerson University’s Fashion Design program and graduated in 2015. In 2016, she was tapped by Vancouver Fashion Week to produce a collection while holding down a full-time job as a technical designer at the Abercrombie & Fitch HQ in Columbus, Ohio. “I worked all day and then went home and worked until one in the morning,” she recalls. “I calculated that I spent the same amount of time at Abercrombie that I did on my collection.” The result was a delicate womenswear collection featuring organic lines and botanical patterns rooted in the geography of Canada. Winging it wasn’t an option for Moscall-Varey, who brings a scientific rigour to her design process. In 2015, she created a dress for the Italian Contemporary Film Festival design competition that was inspired by the “La Colita” dance in the film The Great Beauty. Before creating the dress, whose silhouette was highlighted by the dance steps, she learned the dance and videotaped herself performing it so she understood how the dress needed to move. “I set goals that could be considered unrealistic,” she says with a laugh. “But I’m always determined to accomplish them.” Her next big goal: working for McQueen!