Vincent Briggs was once known by a different name. In high school he kept to himself, spending more time in the library than with other students. He “tried to be invisible, and did a reasonably good job of it.”
Fast forward to today. Vincent is a presence in any room, wearing spectacular handmade garments that are sure to draw the eye. He still struggles with anxiety, but there have been profound changes in his way of approaching the world.
You may remember Vincent as the maker of fantastic men’s garments in the 2015 NBCCD Fashion Show. Now a graduate of the Fashion Design program, Vince has returned to study Textile Design – a studio where his mother, Jackie Bourque, has been inspiring students since 2001. His surface design skills are top notch in any area, from his long-time love of embroidery to new techniques like fabric painting and block printing. Textile Design is a special program that allows you to choose from three immersive majors – Knit, Print, and Weave. Vincent has focused his efforts on Print, a broad option that will refine your illustration and design skills.
With an unwavering devotion to late 18th century fashion, Vincent humbly creates garments of impeccable quality. Despite the historical swing, his designs have bold hints of the present day. He has been known to make both a waistcoat lined with hand-painted dinosaurs and a dressing gown with block-printed fish cuffs. His repeat patterns have a fine modern aesthetic, especially his recent geology collection, which is a sharp and dreamy sojourn with crystals.
Changing studios is not the only thing Vincent has changed – he started transitioning from female to male about a year ago. He says he felt comfortable doing this here at NBCCD, and with local support like the Fredericton Gender Minorities group. The only thing that surprised him was that staff and students at the College took the change pretty much without comment: “People seem not to mention it at all. My voice has changed a lot and barely anyone has mentioned it.” Though transgender individuals are more accepted now than ever, we are sometimes unsure when it is appropriate to offer our congratulations.
We all know that developing skills can increase confidence, but in Vincent’s case, it goes a step further: “I couldn’t really wear the clothes I wanted to wear until I learned how to sew. I think it was around the second year of fashion when I was able to start dressing the way I want. Coming out and transitioning has also made me a lot less shy.”
It’s never too late to take your place as the person you want to be. Congratulations Vincent.
- Allison Green, NBCCD Alumna and Textile Artist