Tag Archives: Ecole Holt Couture – School of Couture Sewing and Design

Happy 10th Anniversary Ecole Holt Couture!

Happy 10th Anniversary Ecole Holt Couture!

cropped-648x702.jpgWe are celebrating our 10th year in operation! After more than 16 years in the planning, Elfriede Holtkamp, my mother, and the Founder of EHC, who is a European trained Couturier of 60 years practice in both Europe and Calgary, designed and curated the entire curriculum based on her years of professional experience. The school opened its doors in September 2007 followed by passionate promotional efforts, attracting our first intake of students in 2008. After the first run-through of this new program, we continued to edit and tweak in response to what we witnessed being achievable by novices, and in learning how to more effectively transfer all the knowledge and experience in real-time practice. As our environment evolves, we also continue to evolve.

Our desire is that each student thrives and successfully completes the program, which is ingrained into our psyches, we are invested in each student’s training and strive to encourage excellence in all aspects of their learning and in their practice. Its not about competition, or only just meeting standards, or passing the grade, we want every student to become confident and proficient in their skills and abilities to both design, sew, and make garments.

Our curriculum is based on learning modules that must be completed in succession including all prescribed projects – unsurprisingly every student’s project has turned out distinct from another’s throughout 10 years – this is partly due to the unique nature of true couture and tailoring, but mostly because of the very creative minds and talented designer and makers behind them.

There is no doubt in our minds, that to fully comprehend and competently perform at a professional level expected of properly trained couturiers and tailors, is the foundation upon on which long and sustainable careers are built. The direction that each graduate chooses to pursue following training is as varied as the individual, and there are no limits in a career in which there is always more to learn and explore.

Currently we have 5 students who are in their second year of the Certificate program, and although the maximum size of each class is 6, most classes have been a 2 – 3:1 student instructor ratio, providing almost personal instruction. Each of the two programs are 2 years in length with the Certificate being the foundation program, and the Diploma the advanced program.  They may be taken in succession, however, students may for various reasons wish to gain industry experience before returning to pursue the advanced program. Whatever the choice, the Certificate programme must be completed before undertaking the Diploma program.

Over 10 years, Elfriede and I [who also have been trained and mentored by Elfriede] loved teaching together, have taken on two EHC trained temporary teaching assistants, presented 9 Certificate and 5 Diploma awards to our graduates, and currently have more than a handful of accepted applicants on a waiting list for the next intake in 2019. EHC is licensed by Alberta Advanced Education to deliver the programs as an Alberta Private Career College, and is member of the Canadian and Alberta Association of Career Colleges.

Every year EHC celebrates the student’s progress and successes with an end-of-year or graduation dinner, and we go on a class field trip or a fabric buying outing, which heightens the excitement of every sewer! Over the years, the school has hosted its annual fashion runway show, which is open to the public, featuring student’s work that includes vintage pieces created by the founder, Elfriede. In the past we have partnered with Making Changes Association and Inspire YYC charitable organizations for the event, and have welcomed several morning-television local broadcast crews into our studio promoting the event. We’ve also been featured in various news publications. Thankfully, it all comes together with the support of many generous individuals and volunteers.

Ecole Holt Couture’s fashion showcase is an exhibition of student work and a runway show. The narrative is achieved through styling and modelling reflecting and enhancing each student’s work. The audience shouldn’t expect to see or buy the newest or latest trend at the end, but to discover and witness the intricacies and details of couture and tailoring, what is behind and indeed inside a high-quality garment, and what makes a couture garment such a good investment. But mostly, is about making connections with the student creators. After all, everyone desires to have and wear clothes that fit their unique needs and individual style… clothes made specifically and especially for them.

If you would like to attend, here is the link to the event: Ecole Holt Couture 2018 Showcase

Oct 5 poster jpg


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Ecole Holt Couture – 2014 Applications Deadline

Send applications to the office of the Registrar, Ecole Holt Couture, 2227 – 20 Ave. SW. Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2T 0M4 by  March 1st, 2014.

It is that time of year again, when we announce the invitation to make application for enrollment to Ecole Holt Couture – School of Couture Sewing and Design. So, gather up all your application requirements and send it to the Registrar. Applications are reviewed, followed by an invitation for interview, when you can meet and talk with the Founder of EHC.

But before you do that, you should know that all interested individuals are first required to visit the school, get a feel for the place, and attend the free-information seminar which is scheduled and made by appointment. This is so you can have your many questions answered about the programs, and to find out what is expected of students.

We feel that it is important that everyone is fully informed before making an investment and commitment to the program. After this information seminar, you will receive your application package.

If you are considering enrolling for this September, it may be a little late if you can’t get here in the next few weeks to attend your free information seminar. But, you can attend this seminar anytime throughout the year from September to June, for the next enrollment year. Just make an appointment with Hannelore Ponto, EHC PR Rep by email at to set it up.

Because the Certificate and Diploma programs are full-time for two years each, and fairly intensive, we like to allow enough time between confirmation of registration and the start of classes in September for new students to gather tools and equipment and prepare themselves as much as possible for what is ahead. The programs are best described as full-immersion learning experiences, in which there is little time for anything else but classes, homework, eating, and sleeping with limited time for zoning out and making sure that you stay healthy and well balanced – at least from September to June.

We always tell new students to Ecole Holt Couture, that the first 10 weeks are quite honestly the hardest to get through, a bit like boot camp. Getting used to the new school environment, new classmates, new ways of doing things, new schedules, and accepting that socializing will not at the top of your priority list anymore, for now, is much harder in reality than it sounds. No matter how ready you think you are, it has proved ‘difficult’ for everyone.

Congratulations if what I’ve just shared has not put you off! After the first 10 weeks, you and everyone else deserve a decent break leading into the  short dark days of the year and also, Christmas! But before you take this break, Ecole Holt Couture holds its annual Fashion Event Fundraiser mid November, for Making Changes Association Calgary, with the involvement of all the students.

This fundraiser is a runway fashion show featuring all the work of current students of EHC. Guests witness what students have accomplished, and frankly most love to see the student’s progress from year to year – like watching a flower grow and blossom – exciting at every stage. This year EHC featured its first Graduates of the Diploma program showcasing their amazing final projects as well as countless other pieces they’ve created over the past four years.

Classes resume the beginning of January and run for a further 20 weeks into June with about 12 days Spring break in between. It is amazing to us, when students return in January, just how much more prepared they all feel after the first slog. In the past, this is the period when classmates really gel and become comfortable enough with each other to open up and share thoughts, opinions and eureka moments with. And surprisingly, they really begin to enjoy the demands and expectations of the curriculum, and are able to demand more of themselves as they see their impressive results.

More about how things work at Ecole Holt Couture in future posts. Visit and Like our Face book page at for regular updates.

Again, the Deadline for Applications is March 1st, 2014 for September 2014 start.

Chelsea, Diploma Graduate 2013

Chelsea, Diploma Graduate 2013

Hannelore, Diploma Graduate 2013

Hannelore, Diploma Graduate 2013

Laura, Diploma student 2013

Laura, Diploma student 2013


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