If you’d told Christopher Winter that upon graduating from Capilano University’s IDEA School of Design, he’d be headed for a 10-month North American tour in an Airstream trailer promoting Vancouver’s Kit and Ace as a photographer, brand ambassador and graphic designer, he would have thought you crazy.

But that’s exactly what happened.

Like any good story, it starts at the beginning.

Christopher always had that elusive photographic eye—the one many try to master, but very few attain. Photography was originally a hobby—calling up friends for a shoot or pulling out his SLR when the moment was right. Eventually, his hobby became a part-time gig, and Chris found himself shooting for international magazines and local modeling agencies.

But whenever he saw his work in print, it never looked 100 per cent right.

“I noticed that maybe the design wasn’t on point all the time, or I felt my photo should have been displayed a different way,” he recalls.

That’s when a light bulb went off. He realized he wanted a career that somehow was a “hybrid” of photography and graphic design—one where he could wear many hats.

After graduating from Capilano’s IDEA program in 2014, he was immediately scooped up by Kit and Ace, a newly-formed luxury clothing store for men and women. At this point, the company hadn’t even produced its first item of clothing.

“They kind of plucked me right out of my grad show,” says the graphic designer. “Ever since, my role has just evolved into this crazy experience.”

After starting off small with things like the company’s business cards, website design and identifying the brand, a bigger project came along. He was tapped as photojournalist for The Copper Studio, a custom copper-clad Airstream trailer that would be driven by a small crew across the United States and parts of Canada for 10 months. That role quickly morphed into on-the-ground manager.

“The intention is to bring the studio to places where we don’t have a presence yet. We invite influencers and innovators to come talk to us and get to know the brand more,” he says. To date, more than 60 Kit and Ace locations have been put on the map. “At each stop we make, we conduct interviews with creative people, restaurants, bars and all that kind of stuff, to get a feel for the neighbourhood and obtain valuable feedback.”

In addition to owning the ground management duties for the studio, there was always tight collaboration with Anna Cordon, The Copper Studio manager back at Kit and Ace HQ.

“We were kind of like Pinky and the Brain,” Christopher jokes. “She’s the Brain obviously, but I have most of the fun.”

A huge part of the job involved working with a team of Vancouver copywriters who flew out every two weeks to meet Chris in whatever city he was at the time. They would research, conduct and compile interviews, photos and experiences from the tour into Kit and Ace’s online magazine, The Brief. In the middle of that, social media channels had to be updated to keep interested folk in the know at every moment of the journey.

Constantly being on the road was exhausting, Christopher admits, with each jam-packed day starting relatively early. Moving from one city to another could take up to eight hours.

Despite the “craziness” of the pace, he says the people he met along the way “made it what it was—amazing.”

Although his ride with Kit and Ace is now over, Chris is currently freelancing and getting ready for fashion month—which will see him shooting backstage for shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris this September.

“It’s never where I thought I’d end up, but it’s been a great experience,” Chris says with a smile.

Submitted by Communications & Marketing, written by Tereza Verenca

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The 2016 IDEA School of Design Grad Show runs April 11 to 15 at the Harbour Centre, 555 W. Hastings St. in Vancouver, with an opening gala on Monday, April 11, 2016 from 7–9 p.m.

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