Alum Corner with Maryanne Matthias

Maryanne Matthias attended Kwantlen Polytechnic University, where she obtained a Fashion Design and Technology degree. After graduating, she pursued a career as a self-employed fashion designer and later travelled the world, designing successful collections in various countries. In 2009, she co-founded Osei-Duro Clothing, a fashion design company manufacturing in Ghana. Currently, she is studying for an MBA in Sustainability and Strategic Management at UBC. Maryanne values her Waldorf education for fostering creativity and thinking “outside the box,” but acknowledges the battle between creativity and conformity in her career choices. She cherishes memories of hiking trips, art classes, and class plays at VWS.

VWS: Tell me about your work and education after graduating from the VWS.

MM: I attended Kwantlen Polytechnic University, where I received a Fashion Design and Technology degree. I moved to Montreal in 2003, right after graduating, to pursue a career as a self-employed fashion designer. It was wonderful while it lasted, to be poor and free and working it all out, but I wanted to travel while I was still young, so in 2006 I decided to travel the world. Inspired by the prints and textile treatments in many developing countries, I designed collections to sell in Canada to fund my trip. I designed collections in Ghana, Morocco, Egypt and India. They were successful, and it was thrilling to make money while travelling. I returned to Vancouver in 2008 and applied to graduate school. During that time, there was a ten-year VWS High School reunion, which is where I was reunited with Molly Keogh, a VWS Waldorf graduate from Eugene, Oregon. Together, at the beginning of 2009, we founded Osei-Duro Clothing at, a fashion design company that manufactures in Ghana using women’s sewing cooperatives for its production. We sell to fashion-forward boutiques in North America to women who care about ethically-made clothing but who do not want to substitute style.

VWS: What kind of work/study are you involved in now?

MM: I am attending the University of British Columbia for an MBA in Sustainability and Strategic Management.

VWS: What do you enjoy most about your work?

MM: Freedom, creativity, the thrill of new press and international interest. World travel, making a difference and cruising Accra (the capital of Ghana) in a tro-tro, listening to hip-life music and inhaling exhaust and sweating.

VWS: What do you think are your greatest successes in life?

MM: Having such great friends and family. Does that count as a success?

VWS: How did Waldorf education affect your life and career choice?

MM: Waldorf made me more creative and able to think “outside the box,” but I find myself constantly trying to maintain the status quo with the mainstream. In a way, I think it made me continuously battle between creativity and conformity, which is why I am getting my MBA now….

VWS: What are your fondest memories of your time at the VWS?

MM: The Stein Valley hiking trips, Elaine Mackee’s Art and Art History classes. Class plays.

Interview by Michelle Gibson, for Development April 2010

Editor’s Note November 5th, 2013 Maryanne has received numerous awards for her work. Kwantlen College has awarded Maryanne Distinguished Alumni Award for her achievements. She graduated from UBC with her MBA in Sustainability and Strategic Management.

Maryanne Matthias
Maryanne MatthiasClass of 1998

The Vancouver Waldorf School provides an experiential, age-appropriate approach to education based on the insights of Rudolf Steiner that inspires students to love learning, to be creative, open-minded, and compassionate. With a curriculum that integrates all academics with the arts and social learning, Waldorf Education develops not only the left and right hemispheres of the brain but the whole human being. A child’s social, emotional, physical and intellectual development is considered equally, supporting a conscious unfolding of the individuality within each student. Waldorf graduates possess capacities for empathy and clear, creative and independent thinking that enables them to carry out a chosen course of action with moral courage and social responsibility.