Rod Philpott- Head Designer/ Founder

Hometown: Grandfalls, Newfoundland

Inspiration: John Galliano, and fabulous club kids

Favourite piece to design: SHKANK’s signature corset cocktail dresses.

Bio: After graduating from the Academy of Design, and becoming the key buyer
for a large jean retail chain, Rod Philpott founded SHKANK INC a wearable
couture fashion house focused on creating original, fun, and outrageous pieces
for club kids, and fabulous people alike. Nineteen years later, Rod’s knack for
dreaming to life one of a kind, over the top designs that appeal to the fun side in
everyone has led his pieces to be seen and featured everywhere from NBCʼs
Miss Universe Pageant, to the So You Think You Can Dance stage, and the
Grammy Awards Red Carpet (just to name a few). His always head turning, not for the
faint of heart pieces have also been featured on ET Canada, the cover of TV
Guide, the cover of ZINK Magazine, Chatelaine Magazine, CBCʼs hit show “How
do you solve a problem like Maria,” the feature dance flick Honey with Jessica
Alba, and CTVʼs Juno Awards amongst others. Rod’s designs have matured but
have never lost the fun appeal of being a woman and being your own person. Rod has filmed a reality tv show called Wedding Dress Wars in 2012. Not only did he wow the producers and the watching audience he won the heart of the bride when she chose his design as her wedding dress. His wedding dresses have brought tears to the eyes of fathers while his prom dresses promise fathers that
one day they will be giving away their daughters on their wedding day. Heʼs been
honoured with designing for the Stephen Lewis AIDS Dare to Wear Love charity fashion
show in 2012 and being a designer for the Cashmere White Collection 2012 to fight
breast cancer. Rod has focused his time on participating in charity fashion show fundraisers as a way to give back to the community. He feels a warmth of self accomplishment when he can bring creativity and beauty to many heart wrenching causes. Rod’s favouriate causes include Community Living Cambridge , “Fabulous Fashions Redesigned”, Stephen Lewis AIDS Dare to Wear Love and the Cashmere Breast Cancer design competition. Rod continues to share his talent with local university and college
students looking to intern for their fashion careers while he creates his one of a
kind designs for women who refuse to settle for the sake of beauty.


OUR HISTORY:

SHKANK INC was born 1993. It has grown and matured since its incorporation but it has always remained and cherished its niche market. It has continued to be run by its founding designer, Rodney Philpott at the same location in downtown Toronto.

We get a lot of questions regarding our name SHKANK INC.  Everyone seems to wonder what we mean by it and where it came from.  Rod chose this name because he started off designing and creating one of a kind off the wall club kid wear.  The club scene was a lot different back in 1993 Toronto.  Going out on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday AND Sunday night never meant wearing your favorite pair of jeans and a white t-shirt. Going to the club was a statement of individuality. It was a statement of someone’s personal passion regarding his or her personality. Rod’s designs were show stopping.  They got attention because they amplified a person’s spirit. His designs had life even when they were hanging in the closet before going out or laid over the couch when you got back in.  Rod has never taken his fashion sense seriously because it’s never standing still.  It is it’s own identity and it ever evolves. He’s always let his fashion sense take flight to challenge society norms and a persons’ inhibitions.  The name SHKANK INC embodies this belief. It challenges society norms around what people incorrectly take away from the name SHKANK INC. There is no sexual innuendo in our name. Art is controversial and Rod’s designs are art.  It challenges women to embrace their individuality. To never settle in choice because “that’s what’s on the rack.” It also challenges women to wear designs that compliment their personality. Not smoother it.

When Rod graduated from the Academy of Design he took a leap of faith and matured his designs to become pieces that could be worn anywhere at anytime.  He realized his friends and his market were graduating college, university and the club scene for full time employment, mortgages, children and life insurance.  Rod’s focus may have left the club scene but the club scene has placed its footprint into the design creations of today.  Rod may have stopped designing latex pants suits but the same energy, drive and spark of genius is found in every stitch within his current day studio.  SHKANK INC now designs and creates custom couture evening, cocktail, red carpet, prom and wedding creations.  You will not find off the rack at Rod’s studio.  Rod is happy to bring to life the imagination of his niche market where his designs bring tears to the eyes of fathers giving away their daughters on their wedding day, to enthusiastic photos of girls on their prom night, to the nervous first lip-synch performance at Pride, to the desktop photo of old college friends dressed up having dinner at a reunion to proud Moms at Mother’s Day brunch wrapped in incredible fabric inspiration.

Rod is the first to point out that life is not a dress rehearsal and that we embrace fashion for the sake of ourselves.  Everyone deserves to feel special and with 8 billion people sharing our planet why would anyone want to surrender their individual personality?  Today, Rod thrives at participating in fashion show fundraising events throughout North America.  Rod believes beauty and inspiration cannot be locked away. These fashion shows allow him to share his creative genius with women of all walks of life and economic backgrounds. Custom couture is not a choice. It is a lifestyle.


WHAT WE DO


A majority of women struggled to find off the rack designs that fit.  It’s hard to find someone who is a size 4, 8 or 16 from bust to hips.  We’re all unique in our body shapes and Rod didn’t want women settling for fashion because of standard sizes. There is nothing standard about our body shapes.  Rod offers two services at his studio to deal with this situation.

First, Rod designs, creates and sows his own couture pieces for his showroom. A majority of his designs are one off custom pieces. When choosing a custom design, Rod always provides custom fit ensuring the design looks incredible. The showroom is always changing with new pieces finding their way to the front window. Rod’s inspiration dictates the pace at which new designs are added to the showroom.

Second, Rod allows women to “have their cake and eat it to”.  Rarely, does a women fall in love with just one dress. Rod understands we are hard wired with all of our senses and many times several fashion styles bring about emotions within us.  Rod facilitates the process of bringing several fashion styles together to create a special unique design for his niche market – custom design and custom fit.


THE PROCESS – HOW IT HAPPENS

Rod is the imaginative and manufacturing engine of SHKANK INC. The working studio is above the showroom and all work is completed on the premises. No design or creative work is given to a third party.  Rod believes in and lives the quality of handmade work.  Looking at his hands you would think he was a bricklayer but Rod’s scares show the intense passion he places on sowing each creation by hand.

The custom design and fit process follows these steps.

  1. Consultation and measurements – To review ideas, inspirations and emotions and bring them together into one design for the client. Body measurements are taken which will be used to create and test the pattern for the design.
  2. First fitting – The design is half completed. The client has the opportunity to see what the design will look like for the first time on their body. Custom couture can be a scary process to some women because you do not have the opportunity to try on a sample. This is the key concept of custom couture. You are not buying off the rack. At this step, many things can change in the design. We all have an image in our mind of what we will look like when we look at pictures. Sometimes, even though we asked for a certain fashion style, once we see it on our bodies we don’t like the look. The first fitting allows Rod to work with the client to ensure they are enthusiastic about the custom design they chose and to make all changes that need to bring about this enthusiasm.  Complex designs such as wedding dresses usually have two first fittings since changing one design aspect usually influences another design aspect.
  3. Second fitting and or day of pick up – The design is completed with only the hem being undone. Rod uses this fitting to ensure the design fits.  Rod works with the client to make any and all alterations, which will fix any issues where the design is too tight or loose. Once all fit concerns have been met, Rod completes the hem. 80% of custom designs can leave with the client at the end of the second fitting. The remaining 20% must return another day after all alterations are completed.