Q & A with Fashion Brand Ryan Li


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Ryan Li

Vancouver based fashion designer

MM: Can you introduce your brand and yourself in a few sentences?

Our designs are heavily based on shapes and proportions. The underlying message is to empower our customers through a heuristic process. As for myself, I was drawn into the world of fashion at a young age. The vibrant Japanese streetwear culture was my starting point. Once I finished my degree in Business, I attended fashion school and involved myself in various couture and tailoring ateliers to expand my horizons and fulfil my dream.


MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?

I have always been an enthusiast of art and fashion. You can interpret artwork freely as there is no fixed answer to clarify the meaning. Art and fashion, to me, are very personal and imaginative. I see fashion as an alternative method to display my visions and emotions because I can tailor fashion into an expression of my own.  At the same time, the audience can interpret my work based on their own imagination and experience. 

MM: Can you describe your creative process?


I begin my creative process by researching and brainstorming, this stage usually takes the longest time. Once I have a clear vision about the collection, I begin to sketch  out the ideas and silhouettes. I would say the most creative moment is the fitting sessions. I directly cut and drape fabrics on the models. At the end, it all comes down to modifying and tailoring the garments to create an illusion of my own.

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MM: Where do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?

I can find inspiration literally anywhere; from an art piece from the 14th century in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to a trash can on Pender Street. Working with my team, and the scenarios that happen in my personal life, are very inspiring too.

MM: What kind of questions do you ask yourself when you begin creating a collection?

I ask myself a lot of questions when I begin creating a collection. The most often asked questions are: what’s the story behind the collection? and how does this relate to me and the people who inspire me?

MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?

I had the amazing opportunity to work with Rimpy Sahota, a local designer, for my first ever internship. She taught me the knowledge of business of fashion. I learned a lot by observing her approach to marketing and the way she operates her brand.

MM: How do you find working as a designer in Canada? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

It is not easy on a personal level, but it has been an amazing journey. My designs reflect my ideas and experiences with different cultural backgrounds; my works and I are basically one. 

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MM: What is your favourite part of being a designer? What drives you to design?

I am constantly motivated to create something new and innovative, that’s probably my favourite part of being a designer. Seeing the positive impacts my designs bring to my consumers is very fulfilling as well. My goal of pushing fashion forward drives me to create every single day.

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MM: What is the inspiration behind your F/W19 collection which was showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

Frida Kahlo, a Mexican artist, inspired me to integrate menswear and tailoring elements into womenswear.  Personal life experiences also played a huge part in the collection as well. 

Thank you for giving us an insight into your brand Ryan Li.

Check out Ryan Li at: Atelieryanli.com

The History of Streetwear and it's Growing Impact on Fashion

Tracking the monumental rise of streetwear, its popularity amongst celebrities, and how it has affected luxury labels.

Streetwear is hardly a new concept, but the way that it is presenting itself on runways, and its widespread exposure is totally different from the streetwear of the past. How did this movement start? How was the luxury fashion market impacted by this movement? And how have celebrities dress used this concept of streetwear to create merchandise or spur fashion brands? Keep reading this article to understand exactly how small surfboard brands like Stüssy in the 80s has helped spawn major labels of today’s fashion world like Kanye West’s Yeezy.

What is Streetwear?

So first of all, what is streetwear? Streetwear is defined as a casual clothing style typically worn by an urban or skate audience.

The creation of this movement is usually credited to Shawn Stussy of Stüssy, a small surfboard company that began printing logo t-shirts in Los Angeles in the 1980s. Soon after he began selling his shirts, he decided to partner with Certified Public Accountant Frank Sinatra Jr. to create the Stüssy label we all know and love today. Their clothes contrasted with the typical neon surfwear that other brands were advertising; Stüssy’s garments were dark, had a vintage look, and started to gain a mass following. When it got picked up by retailer UNION, they became even more of a hit. These shirts became synonymous with a certain “California lifestyle” look and was subsequently carried by other specialty boutiques and department stores.

The 90s were a big year for streetwear, especially when its popularity spread around the globe; Japanese brand A Bathing Ape was founded in 1993. When streetwear’s influence started to spread to New York City, it also coincided with Supreme’s first store opening on Lafayette street in 1994.

The label arranged the racks of clothes on the perimeter of the store to keep the middle space empty so people could skateboard while they shopped. Supreme is also credited for helping popularise this style due to their drop schedule. Not only were they beginning to amass fans in both the skateboarding and hip hop world for their garments, but also for their “Thursday drop” schedule. This drop schedule became akin to a weekly social gathering of like-minded youth and is a staple of streetwear culture.

How did Streetwear impact the luxury fashion world?

Those weekly drops helped propel streetwear into the mainstream and became a point of fascination for those in the fashion industry. This successful formula of limited production runs started to be emulated by luxury retailers like Barneys to create urgency amongst consumers.

Streetwear has also made its impact in the luxury market known through sales. In 2017, high-end streetwear labels helped to boost global sales of luxury personal goods by 5%. This movement was popularized and mainly worn by young people; nearly 30 years later nothing has changed. As customers are getting younger, fashion houses are beginning to cater more to this demographic. But streetwear has still captured the attention of the youth. Luxe Digital’s 4 tips for marketing to millennials include all the hallmarks of streetwear culture; bold unique designs, sense of scarcity, frequent drops, and brand collaborations.

Brand collaborations are another major way streetwear has gained more hype over the years. In Louis Vuitton’s Fall Winter 2017 Menswear show, the brand debuted its highly anticipated collaboration with Supreme. A slew of accessories from sunglasses to duffel bags to bandanas and bespoke goods like skateboards kept consumers vying for a piece from the collection and fashion media entranced.

Other influencers and celebrities have even started their own successful luxury streetwear labels themselves. Kanye West’s Yeezy began as a sneaker collaboration with Adidas, but has evolved into a brand that even debuted at New York Fashion Week during the Fall 2015 cycle. The monochromatic and simplistic style differs from the bold designs and logos of typical streetwear brands, but the garments and sneakers are sought after by the same crowd. Yeezy’s take on streetwear classics like hoodies, joggers, and crop tops drove fans into a frenzy. The Yeezy Boost 350s that were featured in Yeezy Season 1 sold out globally within 12 minutes.

How has it impacted the way celebrity brands?

Celebrities have definitely hopped onto the bandwagon as well. There is a growing trend of celebrity merch falling under the streetwear category. Take Kylie Jenner’s 2016 merchandise, The Kylie Shop. By selling clothing like unique logo design t-shirts at limited edition pop-up stores, Jenner used the classic streetwear formula to garner long queues and a sold out collection.

There’s no doubt that streetwear’s global influence and popularity is at an all-time high at the moment. From models and moguls walking the streets in Champion, to Justin Bieber’s new streetwear line, Drew House, to the long lines of teens that wait outside pop-up stores like RipnDip, this movement from the 80s is showing no signs of slowing down. I personally, can’t wait to see how else it will impact the fashion world and what brands will be in the spotlight next.

Q & A with fashion brand Sorockolita

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SOROCKOLITA

Designer Viktoriia Stukalova

MM: Can you introduce your brand and yourself in a few sentences?

Creating my brand, I wanted to tell a "fairy tale" about a girl. She is refined and even if she is not associated with the creative profession - in her soul, she is an artist. She is very self-sufficient and always in a hurry. But she puts all of herself into what she does. The most important things for her are quality, space, nature and comfort. I really wanted to dress my girl in natural quality materials that are pleasant to the touch.

It is important to surround ourselves with comfortable clothing because we are always in a hurry. The Sorockolita girl evolves with the brand and can dressed in cozy sweatshirts, soft leggings, elaborate jackets, or stunning embroidered silk dresses.

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?

My mother and father. During my childhood she would try to instill in me a sense of style and always guided me. In her youth, she designed and made my clothes and at every holiday party I wore the most beautiful dresses from our own personal collection. From my father I learned how to draw and put my ideas on paper. Although the profession was not imposed by my parents and it became my conscious choice - through their artistic influence, it naturally became the only career I wanted to pursue.

MM: Can you describe your creative process?

My creative process is quite chaotic, especially the creation of sketches. Usually I can’t put my ideas on paper for weeks and one night, suddenly, I will draw over 100 sketches. Of course not all of them will make it into a final product but I love the process of working out an experimental sample. Next, I work on model and display lines and select materials and accessories. It is a real pleasure.

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MM: Where do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?

I try to see the beauty in everything, even standing in a traffic jam in Moscow. It can be a movie, literature or even a video game. When travelling for example, you can come back with your energy recharged and ready to create. Nature, architecture, and people - all these things affect my perception and inspire my collections.

MM: What kind of questions do you ask yourself when you begin creating a collection?

According to the rules of marketing, I have to ask the question "what problem do I want to solve?" But for me, that isn’t the most important thing. Most often the question I ask myself is, “what do I need at this moment in my life?” As it turns out, my customers and I are always on the same page.

MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?

I am always learning something new in fashion. It all started with my profession as costume designer and designer-technician. After that, I took several training courses in fashion marketing, fashion illustrations, and design. The fashion industry is actively changing and learning only through institutions isn’t going to get a designer very far. This is why I always try to learn alongside my team or teach them something new that can improve their skills.

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MM: How do you find working as a designer in Russia? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

In the last few years, more and more young fashion brands have been expanding the creative scene in Russia which has caused the government to support creatives more than before. To have be noticed and invited to showcase at Vancouver Fashion Week is not only a great honour, but also a confirmation that young Russian designers are beginning to attract the attention of the international fashion industry.

Of course! My connection to my native country is a big part of what I do. Our logo is a Magpie. In Slavic mythology, it is a bird that belongs to the witches and enjoys shiny objects. It is a very feminine bird. To me, it is like a mysterious collective image of a woman dressed in black and white colors.

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MM: What is the inspiration behind your F/W19 collection which was showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

A person I hold dear, is closely related to Japanese culture and this has made an impression on me. This collection includes a few elements of Japanese culture but overall is still in brand with Sorockolita’s black and white palette and multifunctionality focus.

MM: What is your favourite piece from the new collection?

One of the corsets took so much strength and hard work out of our team that we almost gave up on it. Once it was completed however, we were all so proud of ourselves that it quickly became our favourite! I hope that after the show every one in the audience will find their own favourite FW19 piece.

Thank you for telling us about your journey into fashion design.

Check out Sorockolita at: Sorockolita


Q & A with fashion brand RadaStyle

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RadaStyle

MM: Can you introduce your brand and yourself in a few sentences?

RadaStyle - is a name derived from the word joy (joy in Russian is "radost"). RadaStyle creates designs which plunge you into a state of joy. Style, convenience, and comfort are the main components of the brand. RadaStyle is designed for a confident lady who prefers an individual style.

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?

The ability to see the world in my own way, the desire to bring this vision into life through the creation of an image and thereby change it in the direction of beauty and style.

MM: Can you describe your creative process?

There is a state of mind in which there is a desire to touch colour and form. Images are born in the imagination that can create new states and emotion...

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MM: Where do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?

A sunny morning, music in the car on the way to work, a conversation with a person, any positive emotion, the surrounding nature, family, children...

MM: What kind of questions do you ask yourself when you begin creating a collection?

Who am I creating for? What am I creating? And the main question - would I wear it myself?

MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?

In practice, studying the demand, observing and analyzing the surrounding reality, feeling and sometimes intuitively creating what people then happily wear.

MM: How do you find working as a designer in Belarus? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

Working as a designer in Belarus has its own specific features and some difficulties, but they are all surmountable.

I try to be equal to the global experience in the development of the fashion industry, but, of course, there is an influence on our local culture and the people around me.

My home is my fortress and the main thing for me is my family!  

MM: What is your favourite part of being a designer? What drives you to design?

Start, the birth of ideas, the feeling of emotions from the created image. What drives me to design? - The great desire to create joy and give it to the world.

MM: What is the inspiration behind your F/W19 collection which was showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

My inspiration behind my F/W19 collection is my great wish to see the world happy and joyful! In RadaStyle! 

MM: What is your favourite piece from the new collection?

The final part of the collection "Image for the red carpet". 

Follow RadaStyle on Instagram: @rada.style

YONFA- a style free from fuss

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YONFA

A style free from fuss

Kim Yonghwa presented her captivating new collection at Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW) for the F/W 2019 Season. The featured brand is simple and elegant. It promotes a style free from fuss whereby fashionable women can fluidly and comfortably step up their everyday style.

True to it’s simple and elegant ethos, YONFA focuses on basic materials such as wool, knit and cotton. The theme colours are black, grey, white, and navy. Due to popularity in the 2018 Vancouver Fashion Week show, Kim Yonghwa has added more outerwear, knits and shirts to the collection.

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The collection forms the foundation of a woman's wardrobe, each piece is a building block upon which a new look can be created. It is an elegant and simple canvas that can showcase individual style through accessories.

ABOUT DESIGNER

Born and raised in Japan by Korean immigrants, Yonghwa’s work is inspired by this diverse and rich cultural background. Since establishing YONFA in 2016, the label has always celebrated Japanese fashion while employing Korean production methods to create clothing that compliments a woman’s body and lifestyle.

Follow YONFA on social media: yonfa_jp and check out their website: yonfa-fashion.com

Read the full interview here-

Q&A with fashion brand Yonfa

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Photographs by Wendy J Photography

Q & A with fashion brand Jessture

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JESSTURE

NYC

MM: Can you introduce your brand and yourself in a few sentences?

My name is Jessica Hu, I am a Chinese fashion designer from Shenzhen China. I started the brand Jessture in New York after graduating from Parsons. The brand is focusing on womenswear for now, but hopefully in the future I will be able to develop lines in menswear, kidswear, and other fashion areas as well.

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?

I started sketching, painting, doing a lot of art related activities when I was a kid. For me, design is a type of media that allows me to express and share my thoughts, my feeling, and memorable things that happen in my life. It’s also a process of creating something that can make our life better (either physically or mentally, or both). Since clothing is one of human’s basic needs, fashion design is closely related to our daily life. Design allows me to generate inspirations from daily life, and use them to create new stuff that can make future life better and happier. I enjoy this whole process of taking new ideas and turning them into reality. It brings so much passion, excitement and satisfaction to my life. And that’s the power and glamour of design.

MM: Can you describe your creative process?

When inspiration and ideas come up, I will put them down on my research book or the memo app of my smart phone. They can be images from the internet, magazines, social media, or a couple lines from an article, books, lyrics, poems, or quotes. As well, an emotional encounter whether it is a scene in a movie or a real life experience. It is important for me to record these inspirations when they flash by, even if I am not using them for now, because who knows, maybe they will be useful in the future. I have a couple of sketch books as well. Sometimes I like to sketch down ideas of a whole look or a garment or even some detailed structured elements, collecting them for later use. In addition, I made myself a “style library”. I sketch down as many silhouettes/styles of clothing (only some outlines without details) as possible and collect them in a folder. When I need to think of a new look, I can look over the folder and look for suitable silhouettes/styles for the collection. Once I decide my theme for a new collection, I will go through all the memo, sketches and drafts, look for suitable fabrications and think of the colour scheme as well. Sometimes I need to make some mock-up samples to test and see if the design is workable. Usually I need to go back and forth for several times and make changes of the designs, fabrications and colours. When all the design sketches, materials and colours are fixed, I collect the drafts and notes in my final “collection book”, then make copies and tape them on the wall for reference. A brand new season goes from there then.

MM: Where do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?

My inspirations come from many different sources. Usually some abstract feelings or emotions from my daily life. I’m quite a sensitive person, I may get different emotions from a book, a song, a movie, a person or even the food I eat.

MM: What kind of questions do you ask yourself when you begin creating a collection?

The theme (what do I want to express), the materials (fabrication), the colours. However, I think the theme is the most important, as it determines the direction of the fabrication and colours.

MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?

Before I started my fashion design study, I had a bachelor’s degree in Economics and I had taken many business courses including marketing, management, accounting, finance and supply chain management as well. When I was at school, I had internships in different fashion companies every semester. My previous business and economics background and my later internship experience in the fashion industry helped me a lot in understanding the business of fashion.

MM: How do you find working as a designer in New York? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

Life is very rich and varied in New York. New York is a city full of creative and passionate people from all over the world. It’s not hard to get inspired from people around you and from things that happen in the city. And New York is a very diverse and inclusive city. It provides a lot of freedom and space for our talent and creativity. We can meet interesting people from different areas of the world, with very different culture backgrounds, and yet a group of very diverse people can still hang out together and make very good friends. I think as a designer, my aesthetic is somehow built in my personality. The environment affects my personality and preferences, thus my aesthetic may change over time. A good thing about this city is that it affects you without assimilating you. So sometimes my works show a blend mixture of Chinese and Western cultures.

MM: What is your favourite part of being a designer? What drives you to design?

Being able to generate new ideas and turning them into real stuff. Being able to combine my work and life together, so instead of working for a living, I am working for something that brings passion, hope, excitement and satisfaction to my life.

MM: What is the inspiration behind your F/W19 collection which was showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week this season?

The idea of this collection came from the feeling of waking up leisurely in the afternoon of a vacation. The colour inspiration came from Mr. Giorgio Morandi’s art works. I used “Morandi colour” scheme (muted colours), and tone to tone matching so that the looks could show better visual integrity and unification. I chose wool blended/ cotton blended fabrics for majority of the pieces. All these colours and materials combined together trying to deliver a cozy, leisure, easy and relaxing feel for the whole collection. Life is hard. Take it easy.

MM: What is your favourite piece from the new collection?

It is hard to tell. I like them all, they are like my kids. But I did spent more time on designing the outer coats/ jackets. The emphasis is on the outerwear for this collection.

Thank you Jessica for giving us an insight into your creative brand.

Follow Jessture here:
INSTAGRAM: @_jessture_ny








Day 7 at Vancouver Fashion Week F/W19

The finale night brought a strong selection of design talent to end the week with vibrant colours and clever craftsmanship. To start the evening, Sue Randhawa from The Optical Boutique presented a $1000 scholarship to designer Sarah Runnalls from Sarah Runnalls Collection.

The Haus of Zuk brand by Vancouver based designer Peter Zuk ushered in the final day of events with a scandalous presentation of the debut collection 'Overdose!!!’. The naughty NSFW line was inspired by Zuk’s love of cosplay and video game culture, and featured nonbinary garments worn by locally revered drag talent. The collection was electric and provocative, with revealing outfits of faux fur in eye-catching colours and references to teddy bears. The spirit of the models was as engaging as the vibrant designs, with displays of dancing and lip-syncing, drawing roars from the early evening crowd. Explosively taboo, Zuk’s collection was notable for its eclectic cuts and use of fabrics, evident of a designer who expresses himself to the fullest in his works.

Local designer Jason Siu of Studio Jason Siu presented the collection ‘Venezia Santa Lucia’, a sartorial line inspired by traditional Venetian tailoring. Several pieces showcased the thematic hue of a deep emerald green that shimmered alongside deliberately wrinkled black wool fabrics to create captivating looks. Selections of outerwear closed out the collection, with double breasted overcoats and excellently-curated details including an understated neckerchief. The tailoring was distinctively relaxed yet well cut, with experimental features used throughout, showing a fundamental respect to time-proven Italian techniques and a willingness to explore the sartorial frontier. Well-inspired and technically sound, Jason Siu established himself as one of the more notable male-focused designers at VFW.

French designer Ambre Savagnac of Blossom Sunday presented a fresh, spring evoking collection, ‘Mauvaise Herbe.’ A creative, passionate artist, Ambre’s designs brought a colourful freshness to feminine designs. The collection featured pastel tones accented with flower details and contemporary, layered sleeves. Preppy collars and buttons framed cotton ensembles, and loose wide leg pants made for a versatile wardrobe. The soft colour palette of peach, pale blue, white and cream along with floral details on the models' faces, rounded out the springtime composition with delicacy and detail.

Carmen Llaguno a luxury womenswear designer from Mexico brought a serene collection to the runway, incorporating femininity and spirituality. ‘The Numinous’ collection with layers of glossy silks in soft creamy colours was sensual and elegant. An artist that celebrates ethical construction and procurement, Carmen designs with grace and care. High-waisted style pants were paired with cropped asymmetric tops and fresh, cleanly cut dresses were complemented with slinky jackets. Ensembles were complete with stylish pointed leather boots and naturally-contoured makeup.

Vancouver-based menswear designer Kam Singh Bains made an incredible impression with his Singh Styles collection, a varied line of classy and exquisitely tailored garments for both the male and female form. The collection was introduced with a sexy and powerful women’s suit in red with chalk stripes and a low cut double-breasted vest. The entire line was dynamic and self-assured, with eccentric accessorising and consistently modern tailored fits. An eloquent zebra-printed jacket for men with a scarlet bow tie took centre stage. In a great night for menswear, Singh Styles stands out as a confident and creative display of functionality.

Australian designer Charlotte Terry presented a playful introduction to her line Arlo with the capsule collection ‘Chrysalis’. Drawing inspiration from ideas of metamorphosis, transition and growth, this collection of womenswear is empowering, featuring a diverse run of experimental garments. With texture and colour-play as central focus points, highlights included an oversized jacket with loose stitching detail and a structured apron dress worn over a silk top with tucked sleeves. A dress in midnight blue with ribbons of fabric hanging playfully stood out as another ingenious design in this lively and vibrant collection. Charlotte made a strong impression with Arlo, and is an excellent example of the high-quality global talent on display at Vancouver Fashion Week.

Jessica Chang Chih Yun of Jessica Chang Studio in New York highlighted clever craftmanship for FW19. With a strong background in fine art, Jessica has manipulated fabrics in creative ways for this collection to form structure and silhouette. Jessica’s ensembles move through a colour scheme of white, pale pink, deep purple, and blues. Inspired by ‘Sequences’ and discovering how to document change, even the way the fabrics have been dyed has been carefully considered, the dye developing through exposure to the sun with wrinkles and folds leaving an imprint on the material. Visually intriguing ruffles, pleating, and wrap over elements made for a robust textile narrative.

The finale of the night was presented by local designer Alex S. Yu. Always pushing the forefront of the avant-garde, Alex has synchronised vastly different sources of inspirations to create fresh, unusual ensembles in a cohesive way. ‘The Tenth Synchronicity’ evokes notions of nostalgia with youthful silhouettes of the sixties, such as miniskirts and shift dresses. Colour contrasting outfits were detailed with metal eyelets and ruffles, complete with tinted eyeglasses. A stand out look for menswear featured printed knee-length shorts styled with a fluffy pink sweater worn over a red polo neck. The layering of divergent patterns and textiles together through common themes of preppiness and street style has created a new-age feeling for FW19.

Photos by Filippo Fior / Imaxtree.com

Day 6 at Vancouver Fashion Week F/W19

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019–Vancouver, BC–From sustainable garments to traditional South Asian bridal wear, Saturday was a night of distinctive styles.

Hometown designer Ryan Li kicked off Saturday night’s events in front of a packed house at the David LamHall with ‘Redeem your soul’. Li presented a collection of experimental garments that incorporate elements of menswear and tailoring to create an eye-catching final product. Set to futuristic production, the collection established itself as avant-garde yet functional with a line of crisply cut garments in a metallic burgundy hue, which continued to drive the line alongside an exaggerated houndstooth pattern. The influence of menswear in the women's pieces was evident through structured shoulders and slim but composed silhouettes, with deconstructed sleeves adding depth. Consistent and dark, Li’s experience in atelier’s showed clearly as his collection established a strong tone for the night ahead. A surprise announcement marking Ryan Li as this year’s winner of the Nancy Mak award (a scholarship that recognizes up-and-coming British Columbia based designers awarded by VFW founder Jamal Abdourahman) drew applause from the crowd. Ryan Li will present his collection internationally with Global Fashion Collective.

British Columbia-based brand Sarah Runnalls Collection showcased a timeless contemporary collection under the designer’s own name. Set to a soothing soundtrack, the theme of the collection was apparent from the first look with fabrics in relaxed cuts and a distinct polka-dot pattern beginning the procession.Linear designs on the garments were also found marking the faces of models in a cohesive way. Long dresses with sections of tulle rounded out the latter half of the collection, as palettes remained consistently vibrant and playful throughout. The entire experience proved to be calming and intriguing, as Runnalls’ designs evoked a lazy West Coast spring day. Nothing was lazy about the quality of tailoring however, as the collection was notably well draped and exquisitely detailed.

Polish-based designer Pat Guzik left a strong impression with the presentation of “There were never flowers, there was fire”, a high-fashion inspired line with a deeper message of sustainability. Patterns and prints were inspired by a mixture of Slavic and Asian cultures, including original works by Polish illustrator Mateusz Kolek, and were arranged in unconventional shapes and cuts. The collection is based on using unwanted and damaged textiles to create new forms and this was evident with oversized and belted looks that utilized varied fabrics and silhouettes. Oversized garments were a consistent theme, as large hoodies in black and deep blue were accessorized with orange cinched belts and thick-soled slides. In several cases, excess fabric was hung from the garment in a patchwork fashion, giving due diligence to there purposed theme of the collection. As a whole, the overall effect was jolting without being brash, and showed a unique attention to sustainability in an industry often defined by waste.

Jessica Hu’s brand Jessture debuted a collection that stayed true to its label; ‘Cozy Serenity’ was a display of calming colour palettes and relaxed fits that remained remarkably well cut and formal for contemporary casual womenswear. The garments are meant to evoke ‘the feeling of waking leisurely in the afternoon of a long vacation’ and presented an array of soothing hues of lilac, mint and beige throughout. Most pieces were composed of wool and cotton blends with cinched waists and loosely tied belts providing structure to looks. Key pieces included a loosely cut dark green overcoat with faux fur lapels and wool blended cinch bottom lounge pants that exuded a sense of luxurious relaxation. Jessture brought the evening back to earth with a masterful blend of minimalistic cuts that look easily at place on both the boulevard and living room.

Alexandra Zofcin from US brand The House of AmZ presented ‘Self_ A Reflection’, a spiritual and artistic exploration into the emotions and experiences that make up the creation of the individual. Drawing inspiration from nature, this calm collection was made up of deep earthy tones and delicate natural fibres such as fine silks and organzas. Models graced the runway walking on their tiptoes holding delicate flowers, adding to the calmness exuding from the garments. The eco-conscious collection of dresses and blouses featured wing-cap sleeves, silk charmeuse pockets, woven linen, cream coloured culottes and ribbon straps which airily floated along the runway. The brand interweaves different materials and patterns, most notably seen in a remarkable iridescent skirt with hues of dark green and plum mixed with fresh cream-coloured linen.

Vancouver based brand EVAN CLAYTON filled the room with adrenaline with his new collection ‘LIK EHELL’, which fuses art and fashion to create a political, personal, and artistic expression. Smoke rolled out on the runway as models featured bold garments with a theatrical appeal. The collection drew on references to medieval armour and combat gear, all combined with feminine touches like exposing mesh, soft frills, and brocade designs to create sumptuous daredevil pieces. Deep crimson and somber black dominated the collection, which was further brought to life with intense maroon gems. Garments featured short dresses with shoulder pads, crotchless trousers, and corsets, accessorized with heavy metal belts used as straps, and even a silver sword.

Margot, by Japanese designer Hana Imai, showcases their debut collection of dresses, which was inspiredby women and aims to simplify their everyday outfits and lives. Imai uses calm neutrals and soft cotton fabrics to achieve light and airy simplicity. The prairie style dresses featured a wide style of necklines from deep v-necks to off-the-shoulder, and patterns ranging from plaid to polka dots were further lavished with light ruffles, lace, and puff sleeves. Included was a sophisticated take on the classic sweater dress made from soft tan wool. The hair looks were pieced together with low ponytails tied encased with thick ribbon.The melange of styles harmonized together to create graceful silhouettes, radiating the brand’s goal of simplicity.

Vancouver brand Sunny’s Bridal finished off the night with their dazzling collection ‘The Divine Feminine’.Choreographed to perfection, the show featured five sets of South Asian style lavish dresses, leaving the audience in awe. Each set featured soft silhouettes and colours ranging from fresh pastels and florals, metallics and bold hues, with the final set comprising of all-white, accented with silver sparkles. The luxurious dresses were all embellished with sparkling jewels, catching the light and glimmering as the models sauntered down the runway. Styles included two-piece sets and mermaid and A-line shapes, which were accessorized with detailed tassels, lace, fringes and flowing trains. The extravagant collection was the embodiment of strong women as female anthems played in the background and feminist messages were held on placards.

Photos by Filippo Fior / Imaxtree.com

Day 5 at Vancouver Fashion Week F/W19

Friday, March 22nd, 2019–Vancouver, BC–Friday night was a sensation, with a multitude of styles presented by designers hailing from Canada to New Zealand.

Local Vancouver designer Amy Herndon from IZATION STUDIO presented her visionary collection [Popularity Contest], which aims to expose and break down societal norms. Herndon’s line embodies this idea through its experimental composition, technical approach, and urban streetwear influence. The unisex garments transcended gender roles as male models donned the runway wearing ankle-length skirts and females wore baggy hoodies, dark makeup was worn by both. Fabrics that were interlaced with unconventional zippers and quotes like: ”we don’t clique” and “conformation”. Herndon intertwines function and form, combining soft textures and layers to create clean-cuts and boxy, relaxed shapes in hooded sweaters and loose-fitting pants. Most notable was a bright yellow floor-length puffer jacket paired with cobalt blue baggy trousers.

Ay Lelum-The House of Good Design, a line crafted byB.C. based sisters Aunalee and Sophia, presented their enchanting new collection, The K’wuyucun~Grizzly Bear. The sisters drew inspiration from Coast Salish culture and their family story originating from the ethereal GrizzlyBear, which was encapsulated in the pieces by the incorporation of intergenerational Coast Salish art. Garments featured nature-inspired colours, with shades of sage, turquoise and muted yellows, all infused with calming neutral tones. Floor-length column dresses of silky, metallic fabrics danced on the runway, alluding to an image of a flowing river while velvet top sand jackets lined with fur seemed to mimic a bear’s delicate coat. Also featured were draping shawls and hooded capes with embroidered intricate Coast Salish designs. Their showcase of wearable Indigenous art garments was a modern day storytelling of ancient traditions which left the audience in awe.

Emelia’s Swimwear, a Canadian brand by Emelie Hausler, transported the audience to a tropical holiday through their collection of luxury swimwear. Energetic and playful models worked the runway wearing flirtatious bikinis, interacting with each other and taking the spontaneous selfie. Hausler draws colour inspiration from her travels, resulting in diverse shades ranging from earthy tones to vibrant and bright hues which caught the eyes of the audience. The reversible swimwear was interlaced with modest mesh inserts, playful zipper sand feminine belts and braids, keeping each piece a balance between functional and stylish.The show finished with a dazzling finale as the models strutted down the runway for the last time collectively in head-turning bright fuchsia pieces.

The first of a presentation by Apparel Magazine, Bradley Smit’s collection personified the discolouration of glaciers. Through fabric, he imitated nature, starting with soft whites and blues that progress to increasingly darker silhouettes. The collection by the New Zealand based designer featured an array of gowns, floating blouses, and wide pant jumpsuits highlighted by hand-dyed elements of blue. While Smit channelled the ocean, Wairata presented wonderfully floral silk details that decorated dresses reminiscent of 1920s flapper girls, modernized with asymmetrical hemlines. The collection was wonderfully seductive with dresses that exposed the shoulders and included sequin details. The final collection presented by Apparel Magazine, from Aania, showcased a collection of tailored dresses, pants and tops exclusively in deep green, white and classic stripes. The show finale featured an exquisitely feminine, eye-grabbing silk dress.

Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia presented a show that exposed the rich, diverse and beautiful fabrics to be found across Indonesia. NY by Novita Yunus offered three pieces that featured a royal, golden, traditional Indonesian pattern and a sweeping red sash juxtaposed with modern silhouettes in a blazer, v-neck dress, and A-line dress. Bernada communicated Indonesia's rich variety of fabrics through a line generous in material that expertly mixed and matched patterns. The items themselves, while often traditional tunics, vest and skirts, felt stylish and accessible with modern accessories and muted colours.

Faun, by Canadian designer Marisa P. Clark presented a wonderfully wearable collection this evening. A robustly feminine line featuring silk dresses, wide-legged pink pants and a suede jacket, the items stood apart due to a diverse colour palette of pink, teal, red, and blue. Clark added texture and dimension through details such as pearls, gold trim, gloves with fluffy cuffs and the brand’s signature antlers. The line looked sensual and flirty passing down the runway but would easily translate into any young woman’s office and social wardrobe.

HAMON, a Japanese brand created by Kumiko Iwano, showcased innovative and masterful craftsmanship through an extensive line exclusively made from fragments of fabric and materials left over from her last 10 years of production. ‘RE:incarnation’, a collection that spoke to the themes of memory and rebirth, started with a bright, eye-grabbing red dress and moved throughout a rich palette of black, grey and purple to conclude with beautiful white dresses.Most of the items featured one colour but added incredible texture through recycled fabric sewn upon the items in numerous ways, including raw and frayed strips, hemline tassels, patches and folds. Keeping the traditional Kimono silhouette of long jackets and robes with wide sleeves overlong pants or skirts, Iwano’s collection looked effortlessly elegant and, while innovative and creative, perfectly comfortable and wearable

Photos by Filippo Fior / Imaxtree.com

Day 4 at Vancouver Fashion Week F/W19

Thursday, March 21st, 2019 – Vancouver, BC – From gothic blacks to vibrant colours, Thursday was a night to remember with an eclectic mix of styles.

Thursday night kicked off with Taiwan-based Ming Design Studio by Ching-Ming Chen. Her latest collection, ‘Charm.2015,’ is defined by vibrant medleys of colour pieced together in a variety of silhouettes. From peplum skirts to militaristic coats, Ching-Ming has clothed the female form in every way possible. Evoking nostalgia through retro designs, Ching-Ming utilized subtle sheer and cotton fabrics highlighted with velvet accents. Ensembles were completed with natural makeup and white, black, or nude shoes. Many outfits were also paired with petite, brightly-coloured purses suspended at hemline level.

Next was GRANDI by designer Grandy of Vancouver. A returning designer, Grandy presented her bold, crayon-inspired collection entitled ‘Essential Colours’. All ensembles were monochrome, completed by small conical headpieces atop voluminous curled hairstyles. Glossy fitted jumpsuits and dresses in every colour of the rainbow were brought to life with the help of matching metallic lipstick and wide-brimmed shades. Grandy has splashed a collection of wonderfully elementary colours onto wardrobe staples.

Lisa Aviva, by US based designer Lisa A. Bleviss, commanded the runway with an intensely accessible yet modestly sensual collection. A size 10 + brand, Bleviss’ collection was a celebration of curves. It presented a selection of elongating dresses and skirts that floated down the runway in muted yet sophisticated colours of army green, camel, and blues. The collection offered fitted yet flattering pieces that did not hide but celebrated a fully figured form. The collection ended on a high with two knit, heel length, cinched at the waist ponchos in reddish pink and rust with dashes of blue, maroon and green. A true testament to careful, creative and innovative craftsmanship, Lisa Aviva made a line that not only looked good on plus sized women but, in fact, looked better on a full form than any size zero counterpart.

Mabu49, a New York based brand created by Ntokozo Fuzunina Kunene, celebrated the designer’s rich African heritage though inspired yet modern pieces. The ‘THAWASA’ collection, meaning Light of the New Moon in Zulu, was named after and inspired by the journey to becoming a traditional healer. While ancient in its inspiration, the collection was nevertheless relevant and youthful with a line of wide-legged, high waisted pants, triangular rompers, and long tunics paired with white sneakers. Simple in colour and deliberately wearable, the collection was nevertheless unique due to its innovative silhouettes, artistic cut-outs, and dramatic necklines.

Sorockolita, by Russian designer Viktoriya Stukalova, mastered the aesthetics of Gothic subculture to create a memorable collection that was simultaneously show stopping yet also featured incredibly wearable pieces. A fine craftswoman, Stukalova incorporated the name of her collection, ‘Black Wing’, into the items with fascinating yet subtle accents such as leather cut outs on blazers that resembled a feathered wing or soft Luneville embroidery. Transporting the audience to the dawn of Gothic culture, the Victorian period, the collection brought back the corset, bodice and ruffled neck juxtaposed with skinny leather pants and stilettos to keep the looks modern and accessible. The collection was exclusively black and white yet nevertheless textured through its mastery of multiple materials such as wool, leather, silk, and cotton. ‘Black Wing’ made Gothic fashionable, sexy, and powerful.

Australian designer Francesca Alexander presented CONTINUUM from her brand Frank & Virginia as the night drew on, making a statement with a collection defined by drape and layering with tight-to-figure profiles. Pieces were consistently marked by splashes of vibrant colour that brought an energy to the runway that would prove difficult to emulate. Long skirts and jumpsuits were long and flowing with asymmetrical cuts. Pockets, folds and belts added depth and functionality to the line, and several pieces near the end of the order added a provocative feel with sheer fabrics and tightly cut forms. CONTINUUM was well tailored, vigorous and sexy, and injected a jolt of energy into the Thursday night crowd.

Hometown designer and recent Blanche Macdonald graduate GEROME completed the evening with an electrifying show of streetwear-inspired looks for men and women. The collection featured a wide range of materials and influences- from ice white leather pants matched with fluorescent orange turtlenecks to oversized corduroy puffer jacket and matching brown pants. The soundtrack featured Vancouver-based rap group So Loki and was explosive and visceral, driving models to walk forcefully down the runway. Influences came directly from hip-hop culture with samples of 70’s cuts and futuristic concepts. Although the show was incredibly varied, it stayed true to GEROME’s sense of style, and he earned a standing ovation from the crowd as he danced with his models at the outset of the show.

Filippo Fior / Imaxtree.com

Day 3 at Vancouver Fashion Week F/W 19

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019 – Vancouver, BC – Wednesday was a night with a focus on Canadian designers, from BC to Ontario.

Eight designers from the Vancouver Community College’s Fashion Design & Production Diploma showcased their work to kick off Wednesday’s events. Collections ranged from 60’s inspired menswear to draping southeast Asian linen gowns and tech-focused garments in dark palettes. Each student brought a unique twist to their production, with engaging storylines and explosive soundtracks used throughout. Highlights included a scene straight from the dressing room with Astrid Shapiro, a cinematic display of power and rebirth from Sanaz Azad, and a royal inspired line from Mahnaz Gooya. The works reflected two years of hard work by the cohort, and a strong argument for engaging new fashion designers coming out of Vancouver.

The Atira Women’s Resource Society presented a collection from their EWMA (Enterprising Women Making Art) initiative, which supports women artists and artisans in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The collection turned heads by beginning with multicoloured fur vest pieces and a long flowing aqua gown. Handcrafted accessories showcased the breadth of skills possessed by EWMA members, with various jewellery pieces and a floral and leopard-printed bandana adding depth to looks. Exquisitely woven knits completed a well-varied collection from hardworking artisans in the EWMA’s fourth consecutive year of being featured on the catwalk at Vancouver Fashion Week.

The Nöelziñia line crafted by Ontario based designer Noele Baptista was a striking collection of florals, gentle ruffles and heavy drapes. This rustic assortment was based on the idea of preserving beautiful memories, like flowers pressed between the pages of a treasured book, hence the collections name ‘Fleurs presses’. A violin played in the background while models with flower crowns worn on long, softly curled hair walked the runway in a dream-like trance. The clothing was ethereal and dreamy, the epitome of femininity. Flowers were elegantly pinned on the clothing, punctuating each thoughtfully placed ruffle. A few of the articles were gently frayed at the ends, giving an opulent bohemian feeling. Smooth silk and chiffon with hints of rich velvet created a stunning experience for the audience.

The Su Moda Collection, Ottawa’s first leading modest fashion brand, was created by mother and daughter duo Samra Mohamed & Fathia Mohamed, bringing a powerful eastern influence onto the catwalk. Poised models in long flowing blush tone garments sashayed down the runway to the beat of rich Arabic music. There were stiff materials with intricate golden embroidery merged with pastel tones of silk and linen, which were carefully selected from Dubai, Kuwait and New Delhi creating a beautiful canopy of gorgeous colour and lush fabrics. The models donned luxurious headpieces embellished in eye-catching stones and pearls, with only their eyes visible. Some of their robes were gently tied around their waist, the tassels swaying as they walked, other robes were left open, to flow fiercely behind them. The garments were modest yet eye-catching, creating a breathtaking flow of beautiful pieces of art

Rowes Fashion, a Canadian brand by Rebecca Rowe, showcased a cute and incredibly wearable collection. 'Solid Ground' opened with a short, plaid mini skirt partnered with a lacy, see-through top. It specialized in the pairing of unlikely patterns such as lace, plaid and dark florals throughout. A collection of skirts, cocktail dresses and casual jackets, the collection took simple silhouettes and made them stand-apart through the mix of patterns and small lace detailing on hems and sleeves.

Egyptian designer Nada Marzouk for Authentique transported the audience into an ancient world. 'Divine Adoratrice', inspired by the female-forward Egyptian Dynasty XVIII, fused a number of eye-grabbing details such as silver sequins, midnight sparkles, and graphics that depicted Egyptian architecture. Featuring a number of looks that ranged from day wear to shimmering evening wear, the collection also played with dimensions through juxtaposed hemlines. The line also featured a number of the brand's signature slippers. Despite being inspired by an ancient dynasty, the line was nevertheless accessible to the stylish, modern woman.

Soojinu, a label created by BC-based designer Soojin Woo, drew from Woo's rich Korean heritage to create a unique collection that was inspired by Shamanism. The collection utilized the traditional Shaman colours of red, blue, yellow and green to create a moody and curious showcase. Featuring a range of male and female models, the collection transcended gender roles through placing male models in tight, almost mermaid silhouette skirts in addition to leotards crisscrossed with yellow sequin sashes. Using a variety of materials, such as leather, fur and denim, the beauty and depth of The East was brought to the VFW runway.

Gracing the runway for both the Atira Women’s Resource Society and Rowes Fashion shows, Kidist, an 18-year-old from Toronto, lived her dreams by modelling at Vancouver Fashion Week. Through the Make-A-Wish foundation, Kidist, who is living with an immune deficiency, was able to have her absolute one true wish, to be a fashion model, come true at Vancouver Fashion Week.

Photo credit: Filippo Fior / Imaxtree.com.

Day 2 at Vancouver Fashion Week F/W19

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019 – Vancouver, BC – Tuesday was a night to showcase unique and show stopping collections with experimental fabrics and plays on scale.

The second day of Vancouver Fashion Week opened with ‘Celestial’, a resort-wear collection by Melissa Yin of Mel Elegance. Melissa is Chinese-Canadian and brings a multicultural aesthetic and minimalist comfort to luxury resort-wear. Inspired by a summer spent in Alaska Delaney National Park, Melissa’s designs are defined by flowing silhouettes and warm floral patterns in silk and linen. The sounds and sights of Alaskan wildlife are reflected through colour and detail in a collection that transitions steadily from black and floral ruffles to white lace. Rounding out the tone of the show were floor-length dresses in soft pinks and bright reds. Thoroughly accessorized, outfits were completed with bright blue and pink straw beach bags.

Next was Tyler Alan Jacobs of the TAJ House of Talents. A member of the Squamish First Nation, Jacobs creates traditional Coast Salish wear integrated with modern fabrics and cuts. His collection moved through form-hugging black and gold pieces to flowing cape silhouettes in black and cherry. Looks were completed with ombre yellow-red face markings and berry-red lips. Tyler highlighted his work with traditional First Nations motifs beaded ornately on dresses and skirts. The show concluded in dramatic fashion, as the final model strode down the runway and untied her motif-accented red cape, approaching the cameras with the textile around her waist.

Much like last season, Profanity by LillzKillz lived up to its name. The scandalous collection by BC based, 21 year old designer featured a range of diverse models who descended on the runway in attire unlike anything else seen so far. Drawing from the fashion culture of extreme snow sports, items included park rat oversized hoodies juxtaposed with tight mini dresses that, on one occasion, exposed the entire back and backside of the model. LillzKillz maintained no regard for gender roles, placing models in a mix of different pieces. An electric palette of bright orange, yellow and a graphic design that harkened back to 90s snowboarding culture fought for attention with an array of opaque, puffy and stark white fur fabrics. The result was eccentric and, need we say it, profane.

Camilla & Castillo, a sexually charged line from Venezuelan designer Camilla Castillo, featured an array of fitted pieces that celebrated the forms and curves of the female figure. The collection played with geometric compositions through multi-level hems and crisscrossing linear designs. Metallic accessories, studs and careful cut-outs created a line that is multi-dimensional and contradictory. The overall effect was to turn simple silhouettes, such as the pencil skirt and crop top, into pieces that are sexy, statement, and runway ready.

The Radastyle collection, by Belarusian designer Tatsiana Sychova, was the epitome of timeless, beautiful elegance. 'Orbit of Time' utilized classic, flattering silhouettes in sensual fabrics that stood apart with a mastery of fine details. Stunning floating dresses in silk and satin glided down the runway abated by eye catching necklines, ruffled sleeves, detailed waistlines and hemlines generously cut on the bias. The collection was coherent, elegant, and modest all while being breathtakingly sensual.

Japanese designer Michiko Ueda presented her brand GLAZE KOHL’s second collection, which displayed Michiko’s 20 years of experience as the proprietor of a vintage shop in Osaka, Japan. This collection was inspired by the colour of Japanese spring, with Michiko showing a mastery of woollen and velvet material. The pieces suggested a refined persona while still retaining playfulness, using soft silhouettes and muted palettes. A cheerful and barefooted model underscored this message, leading attendees to break into applause for the well-tenured designer who should be well-watched for any further additions to her brand.

17-year-old Vancouver-based designer Ming Lim from CRAZYYABAI closed off Tuesday’s events with a memorable showing of her collection ‘Sophrosyne’ exploring the idea of self-peace. This work is said to have surfaced from a period of self-realization and growth in Ming’s life, and features avant-garde looks that grab the attention of the viewer and convey a captivating message about the designer. Fantasy imagery is consistent throughout the line. Transparent materials stitched next to flowing legwear leave the model equally concealed and revealed, suggesting a feeling of veiled confusion. A mural-like printed train with an image of a heart being held by a weeping figure closed out a truly provocative show by the remarkable young designer.

Opening Night at Vancouver Fashion Week F/W 19

Monday, March 18th, 2019 – Vancouver, BC – the Opening gala night was a night to highlight the local talents from Vancouver complemented with a few from further afield.

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OPENING REMARKS

Community Manager Sarah Murray kicks off the show

On the first night of FW19, attendees were privy to the Designer Preview. The sampling was fun and innovative with a range of designers on full display. From ethereal and feminine silhouettes, bold vibrant colours, and eye catching print and texture combinations, the Designer Preview had a bit of everything. With such varied pieces, intrigue and excitement were felt throughout the crowd with anticipation bubbling around collections yet to come throughout the week.

To kick off the night, La Salle celebrated their 10 year anniversary of showing at Vancouver Fashion Week, with three promising designers presenting collections in the theme of Taboo. Shaghayegh Tafreshi’s collection evoked striking geometric patterns, with the use of contrasting materials in lace and synthetic highlighting the intersection between Western and Persian design and her background in architecture. Venezuelan fashion designer Valentina Valor’s work was focused on gender fluidity, but more importantly confidence in the self with strong and provocative figures that inspire poise in the wearer through opaque materials and belted features. Prisco completed La Salle’s showing with another genderless collection that utilized flowing silhouettes with tones in a calming palette, while focusing on the use of natural fabrics.

Japanese designer Emi Jingu showed off the endless artistic possibilities of balloons with her collection ‘Unlimited’. Jingu pushes artistic boundaries as she effortlessly coordinates a metallic palette of grey, bronze and gold tones while intricately layering balloons of different dimensions in such a way to create elegant couture silhouettes. Jingu’s dresses featured peplum-styles, slim bodices, and flared skirts, highlighting her extraordinary talents. The eccentric garments were complemented with sleek hairstyles, glossy makeup with ashy tones, and stilettos to encompass the chic futuristic style.

YONFA, a collection from Japanese designer Kim Yonghwa, was the embodiment of accessible, comfortable elegance to end the evening. In her collection, Yonghwa played with dimensions, offering a range of oversized jackets, crisp calf-length white shirts and sweaters cut at unique yet flattering angles. Yonghwa’s commitment to basic materials, such as wool and cotton, worked in harmony with her flattering silhouettes and elementary palette of white, navy, black and tan, to create looks free from fuss that express comfort, elegance and accessible style.

For Vancouver, opening night was full of excitement and intricate pieces.

Photos by IMAXtree.

Q & A with Fashion Brand Mel Elegance

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Mel Elegance

Vancouver based brand

MM: Can you introduce your brand and yourself in a few sentences?

Mel Elegance is for resort apparel, looking for comfort and minimalism.

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion?

When I was about 5 years old, my mom made a backpack for me using scrap fabric. Ever since then, being a Fashion Designer became my dream.

MM: Can you describe your creative process?

Inspiration followed by drawing, editing, more editing, pattern making, and lastly, sample making.

MM: Where do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?

Travelling, reading magazines, reading books, watching movies, reading poetry.

MM: What kind of questions do you ask yourself when you begin creating a collection?

I ask myself if the piece is chic and if it is balanced.

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MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?

Fashion to me, is more like a hobby. Every collection I design, I focus solely on my inspiration and characters.

MM: How do you find working as a designer in Canada? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

Working as a designer in Canada, especially in Vancouver, is really hard. Every time I design a collection I can’t find the right supplies!

Yes, the culture affected me a lot.  As a Chinese Canadian, East meet West Culture has made my designs lean more towards Western style informal wear, but with intricate Eastern-inspired details. 

MM: What is your favourite part of being a designer? What drives you to design?

For me, making samples is like being able to create a Miracle. From idea to reality.  I often struggle to find the clothes that I want to wear so being able to make them makes it easy!

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MM: What is the inspiration behind your F/W19 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

My F/W 2019 collection is called: Celestial. The inspiration came from my summer travels to Alaska in Delaney national park. I saw an array of beautiful colors from flowers and the sounds of wildlife were so pleasing to hear! The glaciers peacefully close by, seemed to be smiling back at me.

MM: What is your favourite part of your new collection?

The color palette.

Glacier’s white, vibrant floral colours, and the wildlife’s distinctive grey.

MM: What is your favourite piece from the new collection?

It’s hard to tell. I like every piece from this collection. If I had to choose, the asymmetrical silk skirt would be my favorite because I designed it specifically for myself. I am short so I designed this skirt to make me feel taller and it does just that!

Thank you for telling us about your journey into fashion design. We can't wait to see Melissa Yin show at Vancouver Fashion Week for the F/W19 season.

Check out Melissa Yin at: melissayin.co

Q & A with fashion brand Margot

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MARGOT

Japanese Brand

MM: Can you introduce your brand and yourself in a few sentences?

Hana Imai, designer for Margot, is a Japanese model for A-Plus, a Japanese entertainment production company. She has appeared on various TV shows, magazines, and fashion show events, not only as a model, but also as a designer for MARK STYLER since 2013. After 5 years practicing as a designer, she will launch her own brand “Margot” this spring, March 1st, 2019.

“Margot” is a brand that empowers all women by supporting their inner beauty and self-love. Our aim is to bring out the hidden attractions and charm that every woman has.

Our first collection will be an all dress line-up which one can wear on a wide range of occasions, from casual days to formal events.

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 MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?

When I was working as a Gal (a Japanese subculture) model, I found myself very interested in clothing and fashion culture and I found the confidence to start my own brand. I have a lot of experience that I have accumulated over the past 5 years working as a designer and it was time for me to put it to use to grow my personal brand.

 MM: Can you describe your creative process?

I believe that everyone has concerns or problems with their body and fashion so I wanted to help them by designing clothes. The reason I am designing a dress collection, is to simplify everyday outfits so women have more time to focus on their beauty and self-love.

 MM: Where do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?

Social media is a big part of my life and it is a great way to research modern women’s needs and information. That is where I get most of my inspiration.

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 MM: What kind of questions do you ask yourself when you begin creating a collection?

What clothes do I want to wear myself? What clothes make me happy?

MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?

Through my background working with several designers.

MM: How do you find working as a designer in Japan? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

I am thankful and proud of myself for being able to work as a designer for the past years in the respectful Japanese culture. Giving hospitality to others is a big part of our culture, which I love. I want “Margot” to be the brand to help the empower women through the clothing we create.

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MM: What is your favourite part of being a designer? What drives you to design?

When I see the clothes I designed with love on people walking down the street or on social media, I feel excited and experience a happiness that I have never felt before.  

 MM: What is the inspiration behind your F/W19 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

Our theme for this collection is women and everything they symbolize.

 MM: What is your favourite item from the new collection?

I don’t have a particular favourite because I put so much effort and love into every piece that I love them all! I can’t wait to show our new collection.

Thank you for telling us about your journey into fashion design. We can't wait to see Margot show at Vancouver Fashion Week for the F/W19 season.

Check out Margot on Instagram.

Global Fashion Image Library powered by artificial intelligence

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Fashion professionals can now share, create, showcase design and get inspiration from the smart image library for the international industry.

Over a million professionals use the FashionUnited network and can now find and share information among the vast database of fashion-themed images. Thanks to AI, the new LookBook automatically recognizes image content and adds appropriate tags which categorizes visuals seamlessly. This makes search and sharing quick and intuitive.

Numerous users have uploaded thousands of images over the last years and our target is set to have over 1 million images in the directory by the end of this year. Besides user generated content, a dedicated team is adding images from Fashion Musea and Fashion Institutes, to safeguard fashion history and inspire design future.

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The user friendly image library is a collection of images from fashion shows, designer collections, photographers portfolios, product shoots, fashion schools and industry archives. FashionUnited believes the LookBook answers industry needs for an efficient visual tool, helps make the industry more transparent, and inspires the user’s image sharing experience.


About FashionUnited

FashionUnited is an independent platform which collects, creates and communicates content relevant to the industry. As fashion's most trusted global network for 20 years, it provides a competitive recruitment advantage for the world’s leading brands through storytelling and branding. Established in over 30 countries and 9 languages, FashionUnited optimizes the industry's way of working - making it more efficient and transparent.

Get inspired and share your visuals on the FashionUnited LookBook!

Q & A with illustrator Karlie Rosin

We sat down with Illustrator Karlie Rosin to chat about her career in special effects, content creation, and fashion illustration. Karlie will be working with Vancouver Fashion Week for to create live illustrations of some of the most captivating designs!

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Karlie Rosin

Fashion Illustrator

MM: Hi Karlie, tell us a bit about yourself and your background as an Illustrator.

Hello!

To start off, I’m originally from Montreal, I now live in Vancouver, Canada. I’m trained in traditional art, illustration & design, as well as Matte Painting for the VFX Industry. I studied traditional art ever since my mom put me in classes after seeing me draw a recognizable Lisa Simpson at 4 years old. I continued these classes and also went to college to study Illustration & Design, and then to University in Computer Graphic Design for Visual Effects, specializing in matte painting & environment design. After art school, I became a freelance illustrator and worked on various types of creative projects, which I would do part time. Meanwhile, I also started my career as a digital matte painter in the visual effects industry. Since then, I’ve worked on blockbuster movies such as Godzilla 2, Justice League, The Mummy, and Suicide Squad to name a few.

This exciting career experience taught me to work quickly and under pressure, and learn the skills necessary to build a business. It helped me expand my ability to be versatile and blend traditional and digital mediums to create the best quality work. I currently work as a freelancer taking on commercial illustration and painting contracts, and once in a while I will still take on another movie contract to do matte painting as this is also a passion of mine!

MM: As an artist, what draws you to fashion illustration in particular?

I have always loved fashion and used to work as a makeup artist. I really enjoyed working on creative photoshoots and high fashion runway makeup. I think fashion illustration taps into the feminine side of my art and I really enjoy blending imagery of the body and fabrics with different silhouettes and fabric movement. I see myself as capturing the moment, kind of like a photographer, but with my own perception and my own creative flair added to it through illustration. It also reminds me of figure drawing which I absolutely love doing. So, live sketching at fashion shows really helps with focusing on the main shapes and gestures of the look. Starting with a sketch and absorbing the energy from the show (lights, crowd, music, etc) then, going home and creating a final rendered illustration from that creative energy is one of my favourite things to do.

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MM: What was it like - transitioning from working in special effects in film to starting your own business?

Starting your own business is always a challenge, but it’s very exciting! I’ve always worked freelance, so it felt natural to start my own business in Vancouver. The hard part was moving here and not knowing anyone- starting a whole new business from scratch and building up a reputation and clients here. I am still taking on visual effects contracts though because I am really passionate about my work and career as a matte painter. These are similar contracts to what I take on as a freelance illustrator but the main difference is that I have to do the work in-house because of the high security involved with blockbuster movies. I do appreciate having the flexibility of which contracts I chose to work on and the mix of going in an office and also working from home creates a good balance for me.

MM: What do you think it is about Vancouver that brings out the creative spirit for young entrepreneurs?

I think we live in such a beautiful city that everyone inevitably has their muse. For me, personally, it’s the mountains and the beach in the same place. All you have to do is look up to find inspiration. I am 100% inspired by the nature in Vancouver and I’m sure that this plays a huge role in bringing out creativity in the community.

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MM: What do you have planned for 2019? - We hear you're launching a creative agency!

The beauty of freelancing is that you never know what you will be taking on next! But I am definitely excited about this year. I’m currently working on a movie that will come out in September doing matte paintings, and I have a set of 48 fashion illustrations that will be licensed out to a greeting card company which is launching in spring!

And yes, I will be launching an Agency! I have noticed an incredibly high engagement rate when I use motion graphics in my images as well as for my clients and this is definitely a growing trend, along with illustrated content for digital marketing in general. Image Fatale Creative Agency will focus on creating mesmerizing content that differs from traditional photography. This will include illustrations, mixed media, photo manipulations and moving images. You can visit imagefataleagency.com or instagram @imagefataleagency for more info. Stay tuned!

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MM: Last but not least, what are you most looking forward to for this F/W19 season at VFW?

I can’t wait to see the talent on the runway this year! I am definitely excited to attend, do some live sketching as mentioned above, and create some of my own artwork from that inspiration. I love illustrating for Vancouver Fashion Week and can’t wait to be doing it again this season. Discovering new talented designers as well as meeting people in the industry is energizing and I am looking forward to all of it!

Thank you for telling us about your journey into fashion illustration. We can't wait to see your illustrations for the Vancouver Fashion Week F/W19 season and hear more about Image Fatale Agency!

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You can find Karlie on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter or on her website www.karlierosin.com.

Q & A with fashion brand Ming Studio

Designer Ming, graduated from the Beijing Institute of Fashion Design, with a degree in sewing. “Ming” was established and became an independent brand in 2015.

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MING STUDIO

Taiwan based fashion brand

MM: Can you introduce your brand and yourself in a few sentences?

I like to use a combination of simple and complex styles to create my designs. I am not afraid of the existing international clothing brands on the market because I believe I have created the best brand. I like to design and hand craft each piece of clothing so that it is original, innovative, and comfortable to wear. I want to be the Kusama Yayoi of the fashion world. While I may have seemed inconspicuous in the past, I am confident in my designs.

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?

When I was in high school, I liked Kusama Yayoi 's works of art and it inspired me to pursue art as a career. My family disapproved of me going into art and design so I ultimately chose fashion design. I began to learn how to draw, design and produce fashion pieces. Soon after that, designing clothes became my life!

MM: Can you describe your creative process?

I like to feel the material before drawing the design. The texture of it will sometimes bring me inspiration and I will visualize the design. Each process, from drafting to the final stage, is carefully crafted. Each design is different and has its own unique personal style.

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MM: Where do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?

I like to seek inspiration in my daily life and emotions. I like to travel alone to places I want to go just to see if something will catch my eye. Every aspect of my creations is closely related to the connections between people and the emotions that arise from human interaction.

MM: What kind of questions do you ask yourself when you begin creating a collection?

Before I start designing a collection I ask myself , “What do I want to express with my collection?” “What message do I want to send across?”

MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?

Before I started designing, I didn't know what fashion design entailed since I was just an art student. Most of my experience was in drawing and calligraphy. In high school, I began to learn how to design clothes and accessories. I designed, made, and honed my craft and I found that I love designing clothes. In order to improve my skills, I left my comfort zone and moved to Beijing to study at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT).  This gave me a much better understanding of the fashion industry. BIFT gave me the opportunity to learn more about fashion as well as inspired me to continue my love for designing.

MM: How do you find working as a designer in Taiwan? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

After being back from Beijing, I worked as a women's wear design assistant and I found that I didn’t enjoy working on design styles that I wouldn’t wear myself. I decided to quit my job to become an independent designer and create my own design and studio. It didn’t run as smoothly as I hoped. My family opposed the brand I had created, and expected me to become a civil servant. Being stubborn and not satisfied with the constraints of my parents, I continued to create my own brand.  When I returned to my hometown, I found that every place has its own culture and aesthetics. The many memories of my early childhood all deeply affect my designs.

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MM: What is your favourite part of being a designer? What drives you to design?

I like to draw my own designs and the freedom that brings.


MM: What is the inspiration behind your F/W19 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

My inspiration comes from my childhood memories. My grandmother always likes to carry colourful bags and take me to the market to buy vegetables. She’ll go to the tangerine shop and buy me my favorite snack “Prince noodles”. I like the bright and transparent packaging of the “Prince Noodles” snacks. I grew up to know a simple and retro bag that we called “Eggplant bag”.  I want to put the color of the bag, material, and my favorite “Prince” face packaging color design into my clothing so that each piece of clothing is retro yet stylish, and nostalgic yet comfortable.

MM: What is your favourite piece from the new collection?

I like all the pieces from my collection. If I really had to pick one, I like the “Nostalgic Retro Tricolor” piece.

Check out MING Studio on Instagram: @ming_design_studio

Sustainability in fashion

In the fashion industry, innovation and increased production is a double edged sword. While it should objectively be a good thing, if production is handled irresponsibly, it can be devastating to the environment.

On one hand, it is exciting and refreshing to see so many creatives immerse themselves in the world of fashion design and the business of fashion. On the other however, there is an age old problem of unsustainable production and generation of waste. The fashion industry generates an astounding amount of waste a year and it wasn’t until recently that it showed signs of slowing down.

In recent years, sustainability has ceased to be a trend and has reached far beyond what used to be a niche. It has almost entirely been adapted into mainstream culture. It started as a way for brands to portray themselves and attract the attention of a market they were previously missing out on, the conscious consumer market. The conscious consumer is one that pays attention to their purchases and expects a brand’s values to align with their own. This is the reason why brands such as TenTree, which plants 10 trees for every item it sells, and CHNGE, which is rooted in ethical manufacturing and has strong societal messages, have become very successful, very quickly.

There are a few ways to be ‘sustainable’ in fashion. Ideally, a brand will cover all the bases and excel at sustainable manufacturing, ethical buying, and social responsibility. In other words, a brand will care about their people, their product, and everyone else.

1. Their people

A fashion brand will manufacture their products in one of two ways: overseas or in-house. Overseas manufacturing of course, means outsourcing to other countries which usually have very loosely worded, poorly regulated labour laws that allow wealthy western companies to exploit their population. To most, this wasn’t such a big problem since the argument was that in any case, individuals from developing countries were in need of jobs and this solved that problem. This of course, leaves out the entirety of the context in which both parties in this agreement operate. Developing countries are trying to do just that, develop and grow. It’s hard to do so when your job opportunities and salary are capped at minimum wage. Especially when for most developing countries, minimum wage is just a few dollars a day. To put this in perspective, in Canada, minimum wage is just below 14 dollars an hour and the average minimum wage job such as customer service representative is quite easy compared to the work that these individuals endure. Imagine working 10 hours in a factory with no air conditioning, little access to water, and absolutely no growth opportunities, for 3 dollars a day. 

A sustainable fashion brand, unlike every brand that falls under any of the manufacturing conditions mentioned above, cares about their people. Manufacturing can be sustainable in many ways but for the purpose of this blog post, i’ll refer to the social sustainability aspect of it. Sustainable manufacturing means, providing good working conditions, growth opportunities, and a reasonable salary to manufacturing workers. This is sustainable in the long run because in this case, everybody wins. The brand gets dedicated workers that are loyal to the business on the one end, and on the other, workers can enjoy a solid workplace. 

2. Their product

Most clothing companies will manufacture clothing with Polyester fabrics. The reason why this fabric is an all time favorite is that it is stretchy, comfortable, and durable. However, what doesn’t get mentioned very often is that Polyester is manufactured from crude oil and every time a piece of polyester fabric is washed, it releases plastic microfibres that contaminate our oceans. If you head to your favourite clothing store its pretty likely that you will see a percentage of Polyester on just about every item in store. So, what exactly can be done about this and how can we transition out of the excessive consumption of unsustainable fabrics?

From a companies stand point, they would need to transition to highly sustainable fabrics such as Linen which is made from fibres of the flax plant. Another option is to replace cotton with its organic alternative. Organic cotton eliminates the use of harmful chemicals and requires significantly smaller amounts of water to grow. A company can also invest time and money on garment technology but what has always proven to be a safe bet is recycling!

Brands like Ellen Fisher are innovative in their use of fabrics like cotton, wool, and cashmere that have been re-spun from old garments or cutting room scraps. Another example is Thought a UK brand that specializes in creating staples from fabrics like Ramie and Hemp.

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BIRDS EYE VIEW OF THE OCEAN

3. Everyone else

Second only to oil, the fashion industry is the largest polluter in the world which shouldn’t be too surprising. What might be however, is that nowadays, companies are hiding behind words like ‘sustainability’ or ‘recycling’ to appeal to a consumer market that would have previously considered them too wasteful or harmful to the environment. Ultimately, they end up ‘green washing’ their own brands. Similar to ‘social washing’, ‘green washing’ refers to when brands spend more time and money telling consumers they’re green, than actually implementing new policy. While actual tangible proof that a company is sustainable is necessary, one of the most important elements of sustainability is transparency. The conscious consumer appreciates honesty over everything else. This is why, when H&M introduced it #Reworkit campaign asking consumers to return their used clothing for it to be recycled, the brand was under heat when it was revealed that less than 0.1% of the clothing returned is actually #reworked. While it is understandable that not all fabric can be pulled apart and re-spun, it doesn’t follow their promise of creating a closed loop system.

The issue with these campaigns is that they overpromise and underdeliver. Especially if they are created by an industry giant like H&M. Since they produce such staggering amounts of clothing every day, a recycling initiative is not what the conscious consumer expects to see.

We live in a time when thankfully, sustainability hasn’t been seen as a choice for a long time. Consumers now expect a brand to care about their impact on the world and companies are listening. Smaller, up and coming brands almost have no choice but to make their view on the environment very clear from the start.

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SUNCUN Presented by Global Fashion Collective

A smoky runway set the stage for Chinese brand SUNCUN, creating an ethereal, dreamlike atmosphere. Adults and children modelled the new collection ‘FUSHENG’, with dragon motifs, metallic embroidery, and mandarin collars evoking a sense of the East. Wavy wisps of hair artfully framed the face and lips were painted a ‘lucky’ red colour.

Designer Yan Zhang integrated cultural elements with contemporary styling for FW19 using distinctive traditional features such as ornamental braiding, Chinese frog fastenings and Cheongsam silhouettes.

Smiling children clad in silk slippers brought the collection to life, illustrating the lively and carefree aspects of childhood that have inspired Zhang this season. Boy’s looks featured tunics paired with silk pants and regal robes. Girls were fitted in whimsical gowns with soft flowing trains, shimmering fabrics, and ornate embellishments that glimmered in the light.

Tulles with delicate hand beading and intricately embroidered appliqué showcased the incredible artisanal techniques of SUNCUN.

The colour palette developed from inky blacks through to pastel pink and sage green, before flourishing into brilliant whites. Zhang offered a fresh perspective on womenswear with a striking black and white contrast dress featuring beaded bamboo designs.

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A young boy named King Singh walked the runway in a tailored two-piece featuring a bird motif, known as a strong symbol of good luck. King came to SUNCUN through the organization A Free Bird; a non-profit that provides children diagnosed with cancer a chance to explore their artistic passion.

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The finale featured a duet of traditional male Changshan tunics and robes, both crafted in lavish gold silk; a masterful ending to a dramatic showcase representing SUNCUN’s dedication to bringing Chinese culture and fashion together.

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About Global Fashion Collective (GFC)

Global Fashion Collective is a platform supporting creative designers from all around the world. The collective produces runway showcases in different fashion capitals with the aim to accelerate the designer’s global development, increase their international media visibility, and open new markets. By presenting its designers in front of international media and buyers globally, Global Fashion Collective is an expansion of Vancouver Fashion Week.

Check out SUNCUN on instagram.