During the Second World War, Poland suffered tremendous economic losses. The Soviet Red Army liberated the country and the support that the Soviet Union had shown meant that the left gained the upper hand in the new Polish government. Poland was under Soviet control, both directly and indirectly. Life was hard and there were many economic and social inequities. There was no doubt that having grown up in this reality, Tad and Barbara Kasprzak needed to leave their native country in search of stability and prosperity. The couple immigrated to Canada and they were able to enjoy a higher standard of living.
“My father worked at GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver,” said a quiet spoken and elegant Sabina Kasprzak. “Rick Hansen was one of his patients.” While living here, the Kasprzak’s had four beautiful daughters; Sabina and her identical twin sister Magdalena, Krystyna and Iza.
Let’s fast forward to August 31, 1980. The young family was enjoying life in Canada while the Solidarity movement was emerging in Gdansk, Poland. The communist government in Poland signed an agreement allowing for its existence and less than a month later, over 20 committees of free trade unions merged at the congress into one national organization. In 1981, the Polish government attempted to destroy the union with martial law and several years of repression, but in the end, it had to start negotiating with the union. This changed the landscape in that country and the Kasprzaks believed that the renewal would translate to a more prosperous Poland. So, they moved back.
“Two of my sisters, Ania and Marysia, were born over in Poland. Before moving back there, my parents thought that the political system had changed but after living there for nine years they realized that it really hadn’t,” she said. So, the family packed up their belongings and returned to Canada.
It was while the family was living in Poland that Sabina discovered and fell in love with the world of high-end European fashion. “Ever since then a part of my life has been dedicated to design,” she said enthusiastically.
The educational system in Poland is quite rigorous but Sabina easily excelled at school. When she returned to Canada at the age of 17, school was not an issue, although she was forced to enroll in Grade 11 to ensure that her English was up to par.
“The funny thing is that while the concern had been about our English, I was the one editing my friend’s essays,” she laughed.
It was during this time that Sabina took her first sewing class and in Grade 12, she won a gold medal at a regional fashion design skills competition.
Following high school, she attended the University of the Fraser Valley and after the two year program received a diploma in Fashion Design. In 2001, she qualified in the Smirnoff Fashion Awards International Competition in Toronto and later that year, received the “Most Creative Designer of the Year Award” for her graduation collection titled ‘Style of Edge’.
Although fashion was her first love, Sabina decided to take a detour in her professional career and went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication from Trinity Western University. “I have continued to dabble in fashion design and in 2005 and 2009 I qualified as a semi-finalist at the Oskary Fashion Awards Competition in Warsaw, Poland,” she noted.
With her communication degree in hand, she landed a position in the Environmental Services Department at the Fraser Valley Regional District. “They asked me to come back when I finished university and in 2007 I was hired in my current position as the Environmental Services Project Coordinator and Communications Specialist. My job does take a lot of time but I thoroughly enjoy it. There is so much more to communication than just words. I like using colour and creativity to deliver my message,” she explained, showing me recent campaigns’ that she has worked on.
In her spare time, Sabina enjoys sports and exercise and has been working in the area of youth ministry at St. Mary’s Church. “I’m taking some time off from the youth ministry work so that I can concentrate on my fashion design. I write a fashion blog and have my own website which is www.ladey.ca,” she concluded.