In 2017, the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrate the franchise’s 100th anniversary. One hundred years of memories and of capturing the hearts of a loyal fan base. In this, their centennial season, the team’s future appears bright and full of promise. The same bright and promising future is looming for Toronto native, Seneca Graphic Design grad and winner of the Toronto Maple Leafs Fashion Challenge, Richard Campos.
Popular Franchise Meets Modern Talent
On December 1, 2016, Campos was announced the winner (men’s division) of the competition for local designers (over 200 entries) to commemorate the Leafs’ milestone. Richard received a monetary prize and the opportunity to dress Leafs’ Nation for the entire 2017/18 season. The collection will be produced by Mitchell & Ness and sold exclusively at The Toronto Maple Leafs Store Powered by Real Sports Apparel.
Richard was first exposed to the world of marketing through a high school co-op placement with a downtown Toronto firm. “It was the open concept, industrial office and trendy client list that sparked my interest,” says Richard. “It felt like the movies.”
A creative thinker with a knack for drawing, Richard was in search of an outlet to bring his artistic visions to life. An open house visit to Seneca’s York campus and conversing with students from the school’s Graphic Design program was all the convincing he needed to enrol.
“Seneca taught me each integral part of the industry, from print to design, to presenting work at interviews,” says Richard. He even learned the ever-popular leave-behind. “When you exit an interview or meeting, leave something you created – something that represents you,” he says. It’s a tactic he uses to this day (although, his distinct item of choice remains his trade secret).
Coming out of Seneca, Richard admittedly felt his path was set. But, when the Canadian recession hit in 2009, he was unfortunately let go from his first job as a Junior Graphic Designer. The storybook script he had envisioned appeared to be nothing but an illusion.
Feeling discouraged and contemplating a career change, Richard took some time to regroup before tackling a new job search. One month passed to no avail before he received three job offers in one week, landing him at Xtreme Worldwide Inc., Richard’s first job in the apparel industry. He moved through the ranks from a Senior Graphic Designer and Lead Artist to Creative Director.
“I wanted to try something new at Xtreme,” says Richard. “We started as a small operation with just a handful of people on the team and four licenses. When I left we had over 150. I was proud of the company’s growth and felt it was time to pursue my next opportunity.”
Richard is now Senior Designer at TI Group – a company specializing in integrated visual communications services and strategy, with a client list that includes brands like Nike, Bell and Jordan.
“It all came full-circle,” says Richard. “A rude awakening and humbling experience early in my career led me to the apparel industry where I gained the skills to win the Maple Leafs Fashion Challenge. It’s like fate,” he says.
Success hasn’t changed Richard in the slightest. The young father and husband feels extremely lucky to be where he is and fortunate to have met and worked with tremendous people along the way. He still lives day-by-day – only his days now include meetings with representatives from the Maple Leafs and Mitchell & Ness to finalize his Maple Leafs’ apparel designs.