Success by Design

Success by Design

Photo credit: Calgary Herald 

By Tara Black, Contributing writer and former STS parent 

Pursuing education is Tamara Itani’s ’11 pattern for success. She completed Grades 6 through 12, including full the IB DP, at STS, then attended the best design schools in the world. First was the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise (FIDM) in Los Angeles, and then she graduated at the top of her class at the prestigious Central Saint Martins (CSM) Fashion School in London, alma mater of Stella McCartney, Jimmy Choo, and the late Alexander McQueen.

She is most proud of the graduating designs she completed at CSM, a 25-piece collection that took 1-1/2 years and more than 700-hours of embroidering. The garments are one-of-a-kind,
like herself, and handmade with love from her inspiring great-grandmother’s material. With such innovative flair and work ethic, her next opportunity was designing for a fashion house in Dubai.

Meanwhile, Tamara yearned to share her love of fashion and education with others. She opened HAT School of Design in Calgary in November 2019 and is bringing the opportunity to learn about fashion to others. She has crafted a wide range of fashion courses, from one hour to in-depth learning about fashion and design, as well as instructive ‘design your own’ courses.

Tamara chose Calgary to set up her school because there was nothing like it available to Calgarians. “The idea is that I’m doing something different... I want to help people unleash their sense of style through creative expression. People think that fashion is superficial. But, it’s actually a way of expressing oneself and being creative,” says Tamara.

Full IB at STS taught her how to work hard and achieve her goals. “I learned how to achieve creativity through a good work ethic.” Mr. Daniel Hall, retired STS drama teacher, demonstrated this tenacity to her as a student. “He took his art seriously and was committed to his work, I was inspired by someone so passionate about something they loved.”


Tamara’s optimism is sewn into the fabric of her being and makes her a Spartan, because regardless of the situation, she goes in with a positive attitude. “I was not accepted at CSM my first try. So, I thought, I’m not going to give up, let me see what else I can do to get there, I’ll find another way. And, I did!” She says there is an Arabic saying, roughly translated as ‘if you can’t go through the door, go through the window’. So Tamara says “if you believe it, you will achieve it”.