Q & A with Fashion Brand Aubrey Chayson the Label

Aubrey Chayson The Label

Australia based designer

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

My name is Aubrey Chayson and my brand, Aubrey Chayson The Label, is made with 100% silk and 100% ethical labour. The ethos behind the clothes are unapologetically feminine; I champion conscious consumerism and sustainability.

What sparked your interest in fashion design?

I have always loved dressing up as a child, especially for Halloween. Life is too short to not wear ball gowns everyday.

Can you describe your creative process?

I envision a friend and their think about how I could emphasize their unique shape and charms. Like cooking, clothes always turn out better when you make them with love.

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

I love being in control and having my creative dreams taken seriously. I need to design because I need to stop human slavery and save the environment. 

How do you find working as a designer where your brand is based? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

I am currently an undergraduate law student in Australia and I find that having studies grounds me and allows me to pursue creative work with more passion and vigour. I have all my friends model and dance for me for charity balls that I organize from scratch—and there is nothing more rewarding. I am both Australian and South Korean, being born and raised in Sydney has gifted me with a creative mind and a laid back attitude—while being Korean has gifted me with being innovative and hard working. I feel deeply connected to my favourite people rather than my home. From moving around a lot growing up, I learnt not to grow attachment to places or things too much.

In anticipation of your runway show at Vancouver Fashion Week, what are you most looking forward to?

I am most looking forward to having a platform to speak up about ethical labour and our need to stop plastics in fashion. Oh and I’m definitely super excited to see all my models dance! 

What is the inspiration behind your S/S20 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

My collection is ‘Unapologetically Feminine’ and it reflects my new found confidence in embracing my femininity growing up. I have found it difficult to be embrace being powerful and sensual and creative and smart—and now I feel I have grown up a little bit more. I am proud to be strong and feminine and I hope to gift my fellow women with clothes that can make them feel empowered, confident and beautiful. 

What are you hoping are the reactions from audiences seeing your designs (perhaps for their first time)?

I hope the audience is entertained; I hope their eyes and hearts are satisfied. I hope the audience feels empowered and proud to be a woman. I hope they feel inspired to be more confident and bold. I also hope they think about the power they have as consumers and realize that they can decide to purchase natural fabrics from ethical labour sources. I hope I spark a flame of care in their hearts for the people who make our clothes and the impact our choices have on our home (the environment).  

Thank you for speaking with us, Aubrey! We look forward to seeing your brand on the VFW runway.

Photos by Emma Corrigan (Film Direction, @emma.corrigan) and Dan Abro (Director of Photography).

@_desiignergirl

demandchange.com.au

Q & A with Fashion Brand Evaro Italia

Evaro Italia

Florence, Italy based designer

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

My name is Eva Rorandelli and I am an Italian artist and fashion designer. I founded Evaro Italia in 2016 in Florence. I’m very inspired by nature and Italian culture, and my designs embody the high quality tradition and style of Italian fashion. Evaro Italia provides one of a kind statement pieces designed to order for special events and red carpets, as well as ready-to-wear garments. Our materials and fabrics are imported from Florence, Italy.

What sparked your interest in fashion design?

I grew up in Florence—a city filled with art and culture. My father (and my grandfather before him) owned a leather business in the center of the city, so I was exposed to fashion and making garments from a very young age. I was always drawing when I was young and I studied painting in college. I also worked as a model in Europe and then later in New York City, which allowed me to observe the fashion industry from a unique perspective. Over time my creative pursuits have brought me to fashion design; it began as an exciting artistic adventure, and is now very much the expression of who I am. 

Can you describe your creative process?

I’m very intuitive. All it takes for me to get inspired is a color, an idea, or a dream, and then I am obsessed with drawing for some time after that. When I stop sketching a collection it becomes all about constructing the garments. At the core of my practice I am a painter, so colors and textures are what really inspire me.

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

I love the different areas of fashion design making, and seeing the vision come to life. I love drawing, garment construction, and putting together shows and photoshoots. I enjoy the business side as well, and collaborating with a great team of talented people to create each collection.

How do you find working as a designer where your brand is based? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

Italian culture and style is at the core of the Evaro Italia brand. I am very connected to nature and the Italian countryside where I grew up, and my designs reflect that very much. These days I split my time between Italy and the US. We’re an international brand, and the contrast between American and European cultures is always a source of inspiration.

In anticipation of your runway show at Vancouver Fashion Week, what are you most looking forward to?

Everything! I am excited to showcase my new collection in the beautiful city of Vancouver. I visited years ago and I loved it. I also look forward to working alongside so many other talented international designers. It’s always a pleasure to share the creative energy and see so many different visions come alive together.

What is the inspiration behind your S/S20 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

The new Evaro Italia collection is titled “Tropical Dreams”—inspired by the splendor of summer in the Italian countryside, clashing with the new infrastructures and architectures of contemporary reality. The dichotomy of nature and technology is always a constant in my work. It’s a lighthearted new resort collection. The show will highlight fun and exuberant colors and silhouettes.

What are you hoping are the reactions from audiences seeing your designs (perhaps for their first time)?

I am hoping the audience will appreciate the new collection and aesthetic. I hope that it will excite them, mesmerize them, and transport them into the vibrant and elegant world of Evaro Italia.

Thank you for speaking with us, Eva. We look forward to seeing your brand on the VFW runway!

Photos contributed.

@evaroitalia

www.evaro.it

Q & A with Fashion Brand PLAGE

PLAGE

Seoul, Korea based designer

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

My name is Eunbyul Park and my premium swimsuit brand, PLAGE, means a beach or a seaside with sand in French. It avoids excessive decoration and adorns a minimal and classic design. It is a design that doesn’t draw its beauty from exposed body features. When you put it on, it gives you the comfort of not being wary of the eyes around you and a fit that doesn’t trap your body. With these features and benefits, this swimsuit design can truly help you enjoy the summer season.

What sparked your interest in fashion design?

I believe that fashion design is the most accessible form that allows everyone to easily express themselves. Also, I believe that by one’s fashion, others can come to know their thoughts or stylistic sense, and this is the most interesting part of fashion design. I display who I am through what I wear and tend to take great interest in dressing up with clothes that really suit me.

Can you describe your creative process?

Everything that I come into contact with while I am awake inspires me and I save them in my head. From things like images on social media, the clothes and expression of people I see on the street, or even music that I listened to that day. I try to collect instances that really left an impression on me through my senses. With that, I make an idea sketch using my unique interpretation, complete patterns and go over many sample products to build the exact replica of my desired design to completion.

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

The fact that I can literally make and show others what I have drawn in my dreams. The fact that there is not a moment to be bored because I dream and make new designs each single time. The reason I am doing is that I can continue on making my unique designs even as I get older. This is the most appealing point for fashion designers.

How do you find working as a designer where your brand is based? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

The cultural status in Korea is very conservative. It also flows in fashion where it’s not too lenient or generous when it comes to skin exposure. At the same time, there is a psychological sense in which they want to secretly show off the silhouette that only women possess. Our brand looks to focus on these principles and carry out our designs.

In anticipation of your runway show at Vancouver Fashion Week, what are you most looking forward to?

Ever since the launch of our brand in June, 2019, this is the first runway show. It is an honor that it is taking place on the stages of Vancouver, the home of diverse cultures and people. I am already so excited about imagining how the audience will react from watching our show.

I hope that this show will be the starting point that will open up the possibility of the establishment of our brand as an internationally recognized brand.

What are you hoping are the reactions from audiences seeing your designs (perhaps for their first time)?

In the field of swimsuits, which is very limited, I hope that our new attempts will leave a unique and positive impression.

Thank you for speaking with us, Eunbyul. We look forward to seeing PLAGE on the VFW runway.

Photos contributed.

plage.shop

@plage_seoul

Q & A with Fashion Brand DOXA

DOXA

Mexico based designer

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

DOXA is a Mexican Brand created by industrial designers with a love for fashion, Xammy Vergara and Dominique Couture. We make modern and stylized designs by hand with high quality materials and artisanal processes.

What sparked your interest in fashion design?

Fashion has been a very important part of our lives and we’ve always appreciated the different points of view from the other brands from around the world. We thought it was time to show the way we see fashion. 

 Can you describe your creative process?

It starts with a concept, then we start our research and begin to brainstorm the pieces that we want to create.

Then, we make designs and variations—about 30 to 60 variations from each design—until we achieve a design that we are both happy and proud of. 

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

Our favourite part is the final product. We love to see all of our work and ideas materialized into something tangible. Our love for fashion and materials are some of the things that drive us to design but also the moments when we see someone appreciating something we created.

How do you find working as a designer where your brand is based? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

We feel connected to our home but this does not necessarily affects our design aesthetic. Our inspiration comes from all over the world—sometimes we are inspired by materials and techniques from México but sometimes we are inspired by other countries we’ve been to. 

In anticipation of your runway show at Vancouver Fashion Week, what are you most looking forward to?

The international exposure our first runway show will bring to the brand.

What is the inspiration behind your S/S20 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

Since this is our first showcased collection, we are inspired by different textures, stylized silhouettes and different manufacturing processes. We are introducing DOXA to the world.

What are you hoping are the reactions from audiences seeing your designs (perhaps for their first time)?

We are creating statement pieces that we want people to feel connected to and items people will cherish for many years.

Thank you for speaking with us, DOXA. We look forward to seeing your collection on the VFW runway.

Photos contributed.

doxamexico.com

@doxa.mx

Q & A with Fashion Brand Danha

Danha

Korea based designer

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

We are a design group that redesigns Korean traditional clothes in a modern fashion. We started as a Hanbok brand in August of 2018, with the idea of ‘upcycling’ behind each piece, while working around keeping the spirits of Korean tradition. We pursue sustainability and ethical fashion at the core of everything we do, to support and improve the industry’s social and environmental impacts.

We believe in the subtlety of details that are created with just our very own fingertips. Together with the local community, we cooperate with traditional craftsmen to pursue Korean Haute-couture and create ‘Upcycled-Hanbok’.

단하는 한국의 전통을 현대적으로 리;디자인 하는 디자인 그룹입니다.

우리는 2018년 8월 환경과 전통을 기반으로 한 한복 브랜드로 출발 하였고, 지속가능한 윤리적 패션을 추구하는 업사이클 소재만이 가질 수 있는 유일무이한 디자인으로 세계의 환경 문제 개선에 기여하고자 합니다.

우리는 사람 손 끝에서 나오는 정교함과 섬세함을 믿습니다. 지역의 전통 장인들과의 협력으로 한국적 오뜨꾸띄르를 지향하며 업사이클 한복을 지역사회와 함께 창조합니다.

What sparked your interest in fashion design?

When I was in high school, my school uniform was a Hanbok. Noticing and being fascinated by the beautiful lines and colours of the Hanbok after graduation was when I began putting together Hanboks and wearing them myself. This was the beginning of my career in Hanbok design. Since then, I have been granted a royal costume by my master teacher and I am currently studying Fashion Design at Sungkyunkwan University.

고등학교 시절 교복이 한복이었다. 졸업 이후 한복의 아름다운 선과 색에 매료되어 혼자 맞춰입고 다니던 것이 한복 디자인의 시작이었다. 이후 명인 선생님께 궁중복식을 사사받고 있으며 현재는 성균관대에서 정식으로 패션디자인을 공부중이다.

Can you describe your creative process?

Our brand's inspiration comes mainly from ancient relics, and we try to recreate the silhouette of the late Joseon Dynasty, an important era of Korean history. However we redesign and work on patterns and materials in a modern fashion.

Once a relic has been selected as a motif, it will be modified to a pattern which will allow the piece to be worn comfortably and at ease.

Then we design textiles and use eco-friendly/upcycled materials to create a single-piece garment where tradition and modernity coexist. All our work is done alongside local craftsmen.

 우리 브랜드의 영감은 주로 유물에서 얻으며, 조선후기의 실루엣을 재현하려고 애쓰되 패턴과 소재는 현대적으로 리디자인해 작업한다.

모티브가 될 유물을 선정하면 가봉작업을 통해 생활하기 편한 패턴으로 수정한다. 이후 유물을 모티브로 한 텍스타일 디자인 및 친환경 / 업사이클 소재를 이용해 전통과 현대가 공존하는 단하만의 옷을 만들어낸다. 우리의 모든 작업은 지역 장인들과 함께 한다.

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

A reinterpretation of tradition. The moment when I imagine what these lost relics would look like if they were handed down to this era and existed in front of us, is the most compelling part to designing. I find myself most excited when such imaginations go through various processes and are finally presented in front of me in the form of clothes. I design to live through such exquisite moments.

 전통의 재해석. 이미 사라진 유물이 만약 이시대까지 전해져 내려온다면 어떤 모습으로 변화해 우리 눈앞에 존재할까? 라고 상상하는 시간이 가장 재밌다. 내가 상상 했던 모습이 각종 과정을 통해 옷의 형태로 나타날 때 가장 흥분된다. 그 찰나의 순간을 위해 디자인한다.

How do you find working as a designer where your brand is based? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

When I feel stuck and need a boost of inspiration, I go to the National Palace Museum, the National Museum of Korea, and various other exhibitions. For me, it is very important to surround myself with relics in order to feed my artistic imagination and inspiration. Relics that I usually go to view include paintings, ceramics, sculptures, and dresses.

I am currently into Goryeo Celadon which is highly regarded as one of the world’s most valuable cultural treasures. Once inspiration strikes, we research ways of how we would like to transfer elements found in the relics into Danha’s clothes. These methods could be fabric printing, illustration, silk screening, etc.

디자인이 막힐때면 국립 고궁박물관, 국립 중앙박물관, 각종 전시를 가곤한다. 나에게 있어 영감의 원천은 유물이다. 사라진 옛것을 어떻게 예쁘게 리디자인해 옷에 반영할까 생각한다. 그림, 도자기, 조각, 복식, 등 종류를 가리지 않고 최대한 많이 보려고 한다. 현재 꽂혀있는건 고려청자이다.

그렇게 유물에서 찾은 아름다운 요소를 단하의 옷에 담을지 크루들과 함께 고민한다. 이 과정은 패브릭 프린트, 일러스트, 실크스크린 등 여러가지 방법으로 이뤄진다.

In anticipation of your runway show at Vancouver Fashion Week, what are you most looking forward to?

I recognize there is a great interest in Korean fashion these days. It only felt right to me to formally present what true Korean lines and pattern were—through traditional Korean dresses, alongside the collaboration of fellow graduate designers and crews.

Instead of clothing that simply mimicked tradition, we wanted our pieces to have its own interpretation of modernity whilst having a strong core around solid tradition. With such concept in mind, Vancouver is expected to be a strong foundation for a perfect synergy.

요즘 한국 패션에 대한 국내외 관심이 매우 큰 것으로 알고있다. 정식으로 한국의 궁중복식과 전통복식 대학원 과정의 디자이너와 크루들의 협업으로 진짜 한국의 선과 문양이 무엇인가에 대해 보여주고 싶다. 어설프게 전통을 흉내만 낸 옷이 아니라 탄탄한 전통을 기반으로한 제대로 된 현대화를 보여주고자 한다. 그 플랫폼으로 한국이 아닌 밴쿠버는 완벽한 주춧돌이 되어 서로 완벽한 시너지 효과를 기대한다.

What is the inspiration behind your S/S20 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

The Secret Garden, The Joseon Dynasty 2020 was inspired by relics from the Joseon Dynasty (such as Wrapping cloth of the Joseon royal court, underwear, and Dopo). It is a recreation of the Dynasty with a modern twist, to express their aesthetic of exposure and concealment.

Taking advantage of the traditional and environment-conscious brand characteristics, we mainly use recycled fabric extracted from silk, organic cotton and plastic bottles, which are woven through methods of Korean tradition. This show features our interpretation of ‘hidden beauty’ from the Joseon Dynasty tradition through the subtle exposure of underwear. By layering multiple fabrics and materials, we would like to present the unique silhouette and the abundant beauty of overlapped materials uniquely found in Hanbok.

이번 쇼 ‘ The Secret Garden , The Joseon Dynasty 2020’는 조선왕조의 유물(궁중보자기, 속옷, 도포 등)에서 영감을 받아 현대판 조선왕조를 재현해 노출과 숨김의 미학을 표현하고자 하였다. 전통과 환경을 중시하는 브랜드 특성을 살려 대한민국 전통방식으로 직조된 실크, 오가닉 코튼과 폐 페트병에서 추출한 리사이클 원단을 주로 이용하였다. 블랙과 쪽빛, 그리고 백색을 메인 컬러로 하되, 궁중보자기에서 영감을 얻어 디자인한 패턴을 액센트 패브릭으로 사용하였다. 이번 쇼는 숨김의 미학을 중시하던 조선시대의 통념을 속옷을 노출시킴으로서 키치하게 해석하였다. 여러겹의 옷을 레이어드 함으로써 한복만이 가지는 특유의 풍성한 실루엣과 여러가지 소재가 중첩되는 미를 선보이고자 한다.

What are you hoping the reactions are from audiences seeing your designs (perhaps for the first time)?

I hope they are fascinated by our exclusively beautiful silks, patterns, and abundant silhouettes and are interested in the comfort of Korean traditional inner wear designed along with Hanbok. Not to mention, I would also like to help protect our environment by introducing the audience to recyclable materials extracted from recycled plastic bottles.

한국의 아름다운 실크와 패턴, 그리고 풍성한 실루엣에 매료되었으면 한다. 그리고 한국의 속옷이 가지는 편안함에 관심을 가졌으면 하고 , 우리 쇼를 계기로 폐 pet 에서추출한 리사이클 소재에 대한 관심도 높아져 환경보호에 일조했으면 하는 바람이 있다.

Thank you for speaking with us, Danha. We look forward to seeing your brand on the VFW runway.

danhaseoul.com

@danha_seoul

@danha.official

Q & A with Fashion Brand Claire Elisabeth Designs

Baylor_Fashion_Department_JeffJonesPhoto-106.jpg

Claire Elisabeth Designs

New York, USA based designer

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

My designs are made to make fantasy become reality. My goal is to instil confidence in every woman who wears my dresses and make her remember how she felt wearing it everyday. Every design is made to flatter, as well as accentuate a woman’s body.

What sparked your interest in fashion design?

I have always been interested in fashion and aesthetics. I love seeing how various events around the world influence trends and design.

My maternal grandmother was an accomplished artist. She taught me everything about art and always encouraged me to follow my passion. My paternal grandmother used to sew dresses for me when I was young. She gave me my first sewing machine when I was 10. That is when I really started experimenting with designing and sewing. Both grandmothers would send me packages with scraps of fabrics to design with. This helped my creativity and always kept me interested in designing.

Can you describe your creative process?

My creative process changes for each design. Sometimes I design a dress for some fabric and other times, I choose fabric for a design. I like to forecast trends and find a way to fit the trends into my aesthetic as a designer. Most of the time, I simply start sketching and come up with a new look as I go.

What is your favorite part of being a designer? What drives you to design?

My favourite part is when a model or a client puts on my design, looks in the mirror, and smiles. I love having that impact on people. Bringing them confidence and joy is something I strive for.

How do you find working as a designer where your brand is based? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

I moved from Texas to New York City about a year ago. Both locations influence my designs. The nature and wildflowers of Texas are very apparent in my work, as are the lights and glamour of New York. I try to blend the two as much as I can.

In anticipation of your runway show at Vancouver Fashion Week, what are you most looking forward to?

I am looking forward to displaying my work in front of a large audience, and seeing more designer’s aesthetics. I love learning about different types of fashion.

What is the inspiration behind your S/S20 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

My inspiration for SS20 would be my transition from the relaxed pace of Texas to the fast pace of New York. You’ll see many flowing gowns followed by more structured ones.

What are you hoping are the reactions from audiences seeing your designs (perhaps for the first time)?

Most of the audience will be seeing Claire Elisabeth for the first time during Vancouver Fashion Week. I hope their reactions mirror my design goals. I want the audience to see the model’s confidence and to want that for themselves.

Thank you for speaking with us, Claire. We look forward to seeing your brand on the VFW runway this season!

Photos contributed.

@claireelisabethdesigns

claireelisabethdesigns.com

Q & A with Fashion Brand Kraft Corridor

Kraft Corridor

India based designer

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

My name is Saroj Mittra. Kraft Corridor was established in 2017 with a vision to provide a channel to the rural artisans in accessing the mainstream market. Also, encouraging preservation of traditional skills and craft, leading to creation of sustainable livelihood. It aims to bring positive change in the multitudes of artisans in India.

The products of Kraft Corridor are a perfect blend of indigenous skills with modern designs and patterns. Over a period of (around) two years, it has emerged as a luxury womenswear brand. Right from choice of fabrics to using embellishments, the ensembles are hand embroidered in different contemporary styles and have an ethnic feel. It targets women of all age ranges.  

What sparked your interest in fashion design?

India is home to multitudes of artisans and each region has its own charm and history of crafts. I was mesmerized by the skills and the elegant hand embroidery inherited by the artisans in Lucknow (in the state of Uttar Pradesh in North India). It inspired me to recreate the magic of traditional crafts.

Can you describe your creative process?

Hand embroideries viz. chikan, zardozi and taarkashi are a huge part of Lucknow’s heritage. With skilled creators all around the place, it has never been difficult to create an authentic hand embroidered fabric or outfit.

However, with all kinds of machine embroidery flooding in to the market, the artisans are finding it a challenge to match the cost. Therefore, our creative process starts with creating unique designs by amalgamating modern silhouettes with different techniques such as digital printing, hand painting, block printing, and using fusion of traditional techniques including hand embroidery.

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

The ability to create masterpieces using traditional skills, is my favourite part of being a designer. Being an avid observer of trends; we like to explore with colours, techniques and unique crafts.

Being able to create new styles is what drives me to design.

How do you find working as a designer where your brand is based? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

Lucknow’s chikan embroidery is known to be more than 2000 year old. It is very exciting to work with artisans who have lineage to the traditional crafts. We work very closely with the artisans, primarily women artisans.

Our designs are influenced by the culture and heritage of Lucknow and we deliberately keep some elements of the traditional craft in each and every contemporary design that we create.  

In anticipation of your runway show at Vancouver Fashion Week, what are you most looking forward to?

We are most excited to present our collection. It will be our first attempt to go completely international in terms of silhouettes, but the colours and hand embroidery will have the traditional Indian essence which will make it interesting.

We are also looking forward to interacting with other international designers and buyers who would be coming to Vancouver Fashion Week. We intend get exposure on the current demands of the international market which will enable us to expand to new markets in near future.

What is the inspiration behind your S/S20 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

Our primary inspiration is drawn from an Urdu word called “Rubaaya” which means “God’s creation.” This is also the name of our collection.

We have conceived some motifs and patterns from nature and universe which we have incorporated in our silhouettes. Also, we have kept the concept of sustainability and zero wastage while designing the collection.

We will be utilizing all the materials from the collection, with an intent to integrate this into our regular process of production. We are also focusing on ecological methods of production such as natural dyeing and hand embroidery with no chemical threads. In addition to this, we will be working with a mix of bright and pastel shades as well as structured silhouettes.

What are you hoping are the reactions from audiences seeing your designs (perhaps for their first time)?

I hope the audience will love the use of colours and sprinkle of hand embroidery. It will be highly contemporary yet will have an essence of traditional touch to the collection.

Thank you for speaking with us Saroj! We look forward to seeing your brand on the VFW runway.

Photos contributed.

kraftcorridor.com

@kraftcorridor

We tried wearing white sneakers for a week

...Here’s how it went! 

Every time I open a tabloid, scroll through my Insta feed or see outfit inspiration on Pinterest, I see women wearing white sneakers. From Riri to Bella Hadid and many other A-list celebs, wearing white sneakers paired with "unconventional" sneaker outfits is everywhere. Formal attire, dresses, jumpsuits, blazers, you name it! All being paired with white sneakers. This looks like one of the most comfortable trends ever!

So...like any good student of fashion, I had to try it out! 

Pre-Trial Thoughts:

I am typically not a sneaker person... at all! My idea of the perfect shoe is more towards flash heels and wedges! I am shorter than the average person, I use heels to make myself taller. I also wear them because I think they look cuter than almost every other shoe.

This experiment should be interesting, to say the least! I am excited to have comfortable feet every day, but I am worried that it will make my outfits look frumpy and less ‘put together’! Also, I am wondering how white the sneakers will be after wearing them all week. Here's hoping for the best!

Day 1: 

I decided to start this experiment with something that is near and dear to my heart, cheetah print! I mean, who doesn't want to be a cheetah girl? I can say with full confidence, that I loved this outfit! I was so comfortable in it all day. Looking at this outfit, it didn't need heels at all. The balance of the white top with the white sneaker worked out perfect. What kept this look from looking too informal was the loud print and pop of colour in my lipstick and purse. I did a lot of walking and I can imagine how my feet would have ached if I had been in heels. All in all, this has been a pretty awesome start to the week’s challenge!

Day 2:

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Though this outfit does look cute, I was dying to put on my new blush strappy heels! This was intended for a brunch look. I did get compliments on the outfit, but I could not shake the feeling that something was missing. The plus about this outfit is that it has some awesome colour hues. I enjoy wearing colours that are slightly different from each other. That is most likely why the sneakers worked out with this outfit. It just was not a look for me! Yes, the sneakers are way more comfortable, but I really missed my heels today! Maybe I am having heels withdrawal. Fingers crossed; the rest of my outfits go much better!

Day 3: 

It was so hot today! This linen dress was perfect in the heat... I was craving flip-flops though. My feet were so hot in sneakers and socks! I reminded myself that the outfit was adorable, and I have made worse sacrifices in the name of fashion! Visually, this outfit worked out very well. The pastels in the dress work perfectly with the white sneakers. Due to the length of this dress, I decided taller socks was the way to go! If the weather was on my side, this would have been awesome! 

Day 4:  

I woke up late today and whenever that happens, I throw on a romper! This romper is my favourite ever! I am obsessed with all the tiny stars that cover it. I typically avoid wearing head to toe white. In the past when I have worn this, I steered more toward a metallic shoe or something extra colourful. In this case, I made an exception, and I am happy with the results. I did get some funny looks while wearing this, but you know it’s fashionable when you can turn some heads! 

Day 5:

This is easily one of the most comfortable outfits I have worn thus far! I typically wear this outfit with a pair of army green wedges. And pairing it with white sneakers was definitely a change. Is it my favourite look thus far? No… but this look has got the comfort vote from me! I don't think I pushed the fashion envelope with this look, but I am not complaining. I had a wonderfully comfortable day! After this is over, I am going to be pulling this look out again and again! It is the perfect errand running outfit!

Day 6:

I was actually nervous about this look initially. After walking around in this outfit, I have to say, it is not half bad! I originally was going to wear this without the belt bag. When I put on the bag, I realised that this outfit would not have been complete without it! The monochrome burnt orange outfit, with the pop of white in the sneakers, worked out better than I imagined! I ended up wearing this outfit during the day and I could see it moving into a night look, even with the sneakers (hello comfy club attire). 

Day 7:

I decided to end this trial with a bold colour. I love this jumpsuit. Yet, with these sneakers, this was my least favourite outfit of the week. It seemed that the sneakers almost clashed with the jumper. When picking out the look I thought it would be fine since the jumper has white stripes in it and white is a neutral colour. But I wasn't loving it once I left the house. What do you think? Was this fab fashion or a fashion flop? 

Post- Trial Thoughts:

Pros: 

• I could easily walk long distances without any pain

• I could break into a run whenever!

• I looked more approachable  

Cons:

• Lost my extra height!

• My sneakers started off as white and ended up pretty dirty (you can tell in day 7's pic) 

• I felt pretty casual all the time

I think the most important lesson I learned during this trial is that sneakers can be worn with so many outfits. I do not need to wear heels to make an outfit look cute. I definitely need to get some platform sneakers, so I can feel tall again! I have missed the height the heels give me. I will be going back to my heels yet; I will also be cycling sneakers into my style more often!

It is important to take risks with your fashion! Get outside of your typical style and explore! Try new trends, you never know what you may find!

Follow Gabrielle here @justaggem

Q & A with Fashion Brand Femmka

Femmka

Bulgaria based designer

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

We at Femmka, take our designs as game between two main players—imagination and inspiration. We believe that your look is your voice to other people; your mentality, mood, character, etc.

I believe that every person in the world is born to do something. It makes him/her happy, is easy to do and he/she is better doing it than others. Fashion design is my thing.

What sparked your interest in fashion design?

I have a long professional history as a graphic designer and as an IT professional. During this time, I wasn’t able to find on the market garments, which make me to feel “inside my skin.” I began to change my clothes the way I liked and people around always asked where I got my clothes from. That made me feel that fashion design is my purpose.

Can you describe your creative process?

Never press myself to create new designs, it just comes naturally. Sometimes when l watch a movie or talk with a friend, just trivial things like that will give me unexpected inspiration. Then I sketch it, make some measurements of the future pattern, and think about the fabric and details. The prototype is always made by me.

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

My favourite part is to create new designs. The process make me calm and happy. Sometimes, when I have problems, the only thing, which can make me forget about everything else, is the creation of a new design.

How do you find working as a designer where your brand is based? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

I believe that nowadays the global network allows all of us to be anywhere. My home and atelier are located out of the city, in the middle of the nature and this is important for me, as a person and also as a professional.

In anticipation of your runway show at Vancouver Fashion Week, what are you most looking forward to?

This will be my first runway and I am very excited. I am looking forward to new horizons, new people, and inspiration.

What is the inspiration behind your S/S20 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

My Moksha collection is dedicated to soul and nature, which I believe are one and the same thing, since nowadays nature is like a mirror of our souls, and they both need help.

I will present a linen collection as an appeal against everything which is false in our lives.

What are you hoping are the reactions from audiences seeing your designs (perhaps for the first time)?

Oh, I hope they will find themselves in my designs.

Thank you for speaking with us, Femmka. We look forward to seeing your brand on the VFW runway.

Photos contributed.

femmka.com

@femmka_handmade

Q & A with Fashion Brand Riley Phillips Art

Riley Phillips Art

Orlando, USA based designer

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

My name is Riley Phillips. My brand, Riley Phillips Art, is a fashion, photography, and fine art brand, so when it comes to my designs, I’m heavily influenced by the relationships between different artistic media and intersecting, often figurative, embellishment. My designs focus on color, texture, and flow to maintain an artistry and wearability, while also inciting a confidence, wanderlust, and sensuality in the wearer. Personally, I have been involved in the arts for as long as I can remember, be it drawing, photography, or sculpture, though I began my self-taught ventures in fashion just last year. I am currently pursuing my undergraduate degree in Studio Art + German at Wake Forest University, where I try to incorporate fashion into my studies as often as I can.

What sparked your interest in fashion design?

My background in sculpture and photography led me to fashion. Through my experience in the visual arts, I sculpted wearable art out of unconventional materials, often fashion magazines, and led editorial photo shoots. Naturally, being around fashion through these other artistic media sparked an interest and manifested appreciation, and after completing my sculptural fashion collection, I began teaching myself how to sew. Fashion has provided me with a unique form of artistry in that I can express my inspirations with a delicate and functioning form, while also maintaining a complementary and expressive relationship with my audience and other creative disciplines.   

Can you describe your creative process?

I often begin with an unexpected source of inspiration, usually sourced through travel or exploration in other art and environments. Once I see someone or something unusual or enticing, I dissect the texture, form, and shape of this inspiration to explore how it and my relationship to it could be physically expressed. In clarifying my inspiration, I take detailed photos to centralize and specify the concentration, then referencing these photos and moodboards, I begin to sketch my designs. Once my designs are sewn, fitted, and finished, I stage a lookbook photo shoot to allow the piece to come full circle with the inspiration—putting the design in an environment cohesive to that in which it was first explored. 

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

My favorite part of being a designer is the interdisciplinary relationships with art. Fashion has allowed me to fully express my ideas and observations in a sculptured discipline, which I can share with others in varying media. Through design, I can share my own unique vision while further complimenting the insights of another. My desire to continually create, connect, and share art drives me to design. 

How do you find working as a designer where your brand is based? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

My brand is currently based in Orlando, FL; however, I have moved around for most of my young life. Having lived a fairly nomadic life, I have found most of my inspiration in my travels-- the cultures and surroundings which are most foreign and promising of excitement and new experiences. The promise of the unknown and the allure of a new environment keeps me creatively active. Because my home is always changing, I feel most connected to the people who surround me, who always encourage me and respect my ideas.

In anticipation of your runway show at Vancouver Fashion Week, what are you most looking forward to?

I am most looking forward to experiencing the professionalism of the show and event and engaging with people from other backgrounds and cultures. As an emerging and self-taught designer, my involvement in the industry has been more local. I am excited to experience the routines and showmanship of fashion, sharing my art and designs with other talented creatives.

What is the inspiration behind your S/S20 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

My collection is inspired by my time in Venice, Italy and the art, architecture, and unique environments I encountered while there. 

What are you hoping are the reactions from audiences seeing your designs (perhaps for their first time)?

With my emphasis on sensuality, wearability, and interdisciplinary reference to art and travel, I hope audiences connect with the confidence and artistry I aim to express in my designs.

Thank you for speaking with us, Riley. We look forward to seeing your brand on the VFW runway this October.

Photos contributed.

@rileyphillipsart

rileyphillipsart.com

Q & A with Fashion Brand Céline Haddad

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Celine Haddad

New York, USA based designer

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

Céline Haddad is a high-end womenswear ready-to-wear label. I decided to offer urban women of any age daring, dynamic, and different garments and accessories that will make them feel edgy, confident and comfortable in their skin. They can wear them for various occasions rather than one special opportunity.

I am both French and Lebanese but I was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. Starting the age of 18, I spent my summers in London and Paris exploring the various fields of the fashion industry. After graduating in Business Administration from the American University of Beirut in 2017, I decided to move to New York in order to pursue my dream. There, I completed a degree in Fashion Design at Parsons.

What sparked your interest in fashion design?

I think that what interests me the most in fashion design, is how easy it looks on the outside but how challenging it actually is. Challenge is one of my biggest drives in life.

The industry is not all sparkles and champagne, it requires a lot of work and organization. I think Fashion is also one of today’s main communication and influential tools. By making use of it, designers can serve great causes and raise awareness on several topics. Finally, fashion design is the perfect mix of technical skills and creativity—I believe we are the architects of the human body. 

Can you describe your creative process?

I don’t have one creative process per se—it varies every time and depends on several factors. As a designer, I often draw my primary inspiration from the exploration of societal, generational and personal controversies that arise in today’s civilization. I particularly enjoy revisiting wardrobe classics and creating experimental versions of them by playing around with the elements that initially make an item timeless. Travelling and art also play a big part in my creative process, but I always try to add a deeper meaning to my creations.

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

The more I practice this profession, the more I fall in love with it. I enjoy every step of the way—some less than others—but I think what makes the beauty of this occupation is how diversified a designer’s job is, especially as entrepreneurs. My favorite part of being a designer is seeing an intangible idea concretize and come to life, and seeing how a collection can carry a deeper meaning to it.

I use design as a means of self-expression and change, and I strongly believe that there’s more to garments and accessories than pure aesthetics. The message it conveys is what interests me the most. Another aspect of this discipline I particularly enjoy, is networking a lot and constantly meeting new people to build relationships. Human contact has always been something I deeply care about. Finally, I must add that there is a lot potential to do good around us as fashion designers and this is very motivating.

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How do you find working as a designer where your brand is based? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

I moved to New York at the age of 21, with a dream and ambition of becoming a fashion designer. It is the city where I am based at the moment. The American fashion capital is where I grew as a designer and I can’t compare being a designer here to exercising this profession elsewhere. However, I can comfortably state what’s already known by many which is that New York provides you with everything you need as a designer (a huge network, industry professionals, factories, schools, fabrics, boutiques, inspiration etc.)

What I like the most about being in New York is the city’s dynamics. Living here makes you want to work as hard as you can from the bottom of your heart—the vibes of the city really push you to excel. You simply don’t want to be a nobody in New York and building a name for yourself naturally becomes a part of your everyday life.

The US culture has affected my design aesthetic in a way that functionality, comfortability and polyvalent garments and accessories has become very important for me. Living in New York, I’ve grown to understand the life of urban women better and I’m more aware of their needs and wants. I certainly still feel a very strong bond with my homes, whether it’s Beirut or Paris. That will never change.

I am grateful for being exposed since my very young age to the beauty, femininity and distinction of Lebanese women and the simplicity and elegance of the French.

In anticipation of your runway show at Vancouver Fashion Week, what are you most looking forward to?

Vancouver Fashion Week is actually my first exposure as an independent designer since my graduation and I will be launching my debut collection there, so saying I am looking forward to it would actually be an understatement.

What is the inspiration behind your S/S20 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

While my Spring/Summer 2020 collection may appear to be about femininity, it features twelve bold, daring, and controversial looks that aim to be provocative and go against expectations. “Rébellion” is an audacious, eclectic collection in which I will present spirited and elegant rebels asking for the liberation of women and garments from rules and norms.

What are you hoping are the reactions from audiences seeing your designs (perhaps for their first time)?

I hope to see a mix of curiosity, excitement, and surprise in the audience’s eyes when they will see my designs on the runway. My collection is meant to challenge traditions and norms and be experimental, controversial and provocative. I hope they will like it.

Thank you for speaking with us Céline, we look forward to seeing you on the VFW runway in October.

Photos contributed.

celinehaddadstudio.com

@celinehaddadstudio

Q & A with Fashion Brand PAINTERS

PAINTERS

Interview with Won Jeon, the founder of PAINTERS. Seoul, South Korea based design brand.

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

I studied Fashion Design at the Seoul Mode Fashion Institute (2012-2014) and Womenswear at London College of Fashion (2014-2018). I worked at two designer labels called ZEQUUN (in Seoul) and Faustine Steinmetz (in London). After those experiences, I started my label in Seoul.

PAINTERS is focused on developing specific identity and aesthetic in Womenswear through their collections, proposing a different form of beauty. PAINTERS is trying to create new shapes not effected by other tastes or trends. Not only following beautiful faces, garments or proportion like lots of ads, PAINTERS aims to make a new impact—that different people can be accepted within their own level of individual tastes and identity.

PAINTERS tries to cater to people with different beauty and shapes to suggest there are different ideas of form.

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?

I do really enjoy seeing other artists’ work in all areas including painting, music and performance art. I would like to see how people express themselves through their artwork and their messages to the world through their work. It makes me think to put deeper meanings in my collections instead of just showing beautiful fashion things. I do also put messages in it.

MM: Can you describe your creative process?

I usually start from all the complaints I feel within me. I was home schooled in Seoul and it isn’t the norm. I think under 10% of students get homeschooled in Seoul. The reason I quit my high school was because I felt unsatisfied on how they tried to teach the same things in the same way to every different type of individual. Some students might be good at art and bad in math. However, our education system defines us only by the total grade—they don't try to find the good things in every individual.

In Seoul, we have world-renowned plastic surgery systems. Wherever you go in Seoul, you can easily find lots of ads that define typical beauty. Further, we have got really fast-fashion and fast trends like K-pop stars, although it makes us grow the K-pop industries worldwide. There is always a bad side and a good side. Therefore, I tried not to follow those systems which try to make individuals all the same. It helps me to think and express different things, the issues in society.

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

My favourite part about being a designer is the lifestyle. I mean, designers do lots of creative things and we keep trying to find the interesting things in our daily lives. We keep trying to get new experiences, watch movies, visit museums and try to see world differently—this lifestyle makes us keep awaking. 

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

It really helps me to think between trends and identities. Moreover, I think Seoul has really good taste in the Arts. Furthermore, we have really good industry systems such as the fabric market, factories, etc. I am very proud of being a South Korean. 

MM: In anticipation of your runway show at Vancouver Fashion Week, what are you most looking forward to?

Through the collection called ‘Where the wild things are’, I would like to suggest a different form of beauty again and I hope the audience there will like my work and kind of feel something through my collections. 

MM: What is the inspiration behind your S/S20 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

It started from the movie called ‘Where the wild things are’. I watched it accidentally and suddenly got deep inspiration from it. It’s about a boy trying to escape from the world, so he creates his own world in a small room. He met the wild things in his imagination. The general thoughts of ‘wild things’ is danger but he becomes friends with them. I see many people who judge others by appearances, degrees, and their social status. However, I would love to stand by the ‘wild things’ and try to show their beauty on the inside.

MM: What are you hoping are the reactions from audiences seeing your designs (perhaps for their first time)?

I am aiming that people might see the differences through my collections and not judge people by their appearances, degree, and social status. I want to give people a new insight by showing the differences. I might not be good, however, I will try.

Thank you for speaking with us, Won! We look forward to seeing your brand on the VFW runway this October!

https://www.paintersfromseoul.art

@paintersfromseoul

Q & A with Fashion Brand SENKO

SENKO

Vancouver based designer

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

My name is Lesley Senkow and SENKO (pronounced “sang-ko”) is for the individualist who doesn’t want to be put in one box. Silhouette, print, texture, colour and movement are always present in my designs. I like to play with the idea that everyone has a soft and hard side and that fashion can help bring these elements out. My collections will feature a mix of abstract patterns and statement pieces along with structured and elevated neutral classics to help create a more complex wardrobe.

 What sparked your interest in fashion design?

Growing up I always felt the need to express myself through fashion. I was shy but fashion helped me express who I was and who I thought I wanted to be. Looking back, I went through many style phases in the process of figuring out who I was. How I dressed was always a representation of what I was going through at that time. I’ve always found fashion to be so anthropological and find it interesting that it is ever evolving just like us.

Can you describe your creative process?

My creative process definitely does not have a formula. I find myself spontaneously inspired the most by nature, folklore, history and travel. This can spark a general mood, colour palette, texture or silhouette. I don’t enjoy forcing creativity so I often finding myself randomly taking notes when ideas decide to arise and I’ll later go back and sketch them out. I’ll know when something is just an idea on paper versus a complete design. I’ll be standing in my kitchen cooking dinner then “ah-ha!” the rest of the design will emerge. 

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

I love the itch. The creativity itch you can’t stop scratching until your idea has completely manifested into physical form. I don’t know where I heard it but “hold the vision, trust the process,” is one of my favourite quotes for designers and artists alike. Seeing your vision come to life in front of you is like nothing else. 

How do you find working as a designer where your brand is based? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

I don’t mind it. I think if anything it has pushed me to invest in myself and my brand. If I was living in New York or some other major fashion capital I might have thought to pursue a corporate design role and been intimidated by the abundance of designers already trying to make it on their own. Vancouver in many ways feels like an untapped market. I think the game is starting to change with the shop local/slow fashion movement and it’s really exciting to see how our city will change with new emerging talent. I have travelled a fair bit and always get excited to come back to Vancouver. The proximity of nature, mountains, ocean and city really make it unlike any other place in the world. 

In anticipation of your runway show at Vancouver Fashion Week, what are you most looking forward to?

I can’t wait to completely put myself out there and see it all come together. Last year was a very challenging year for me but my biggest lesson was to unapologetically remain true to who you are. This collection is a direct reflection of my experiences.  

What is the inspiration behind your S/S20 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

My S/S20 collection is inspired by the Moon’s gravitational pull on water affecting the tides. To me this represents the highs and lows we go through in life and the different roles we often play to get through them. 

What are you hoping are the reactions from audiences seeing your designs (perhaps for their first time)?

My goal is to create a luxury slow fashion brand in Vancouver with a focus on ethical and sustainable materials and practice. I am hoping that people will enjoy my collection and want to support my brand so that I can continue to create and expand in the future. 

Thank you Lesley for talking to us about your creative brand! We look forward to seeing your brand at VFW.

Photos by Matthew Burditt.

senko.ca

@senkostudios

Q & A with Fashion Brand Denzil Mapfumo

Denzil Mapfumo

Portsmouth, England based designer

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

After graduating from Middlesex University London in 2017 with BA Fashion Design, I moved back to Portsmouth and launched the brand in 2018. Born in Zimbabwe but based in Portsmouth England, the brand is heavily influenced by the idea of melding the two cultures together. I would describe my style as clean, detailed and fun. A lot of references from my childhood in Zimbabwe aim to channel a youthful spirit of nostalgia. I like to create thoughtful and effortless clothes that blur the lines of gender and sexuality.

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?

I have always been a creative person with a very wild imagination. Around high school is when I really decided to pursue fashion. I remember seeing a McQueen collection on TV and being blown away by what I was seeing coming down the runway and I knew I wanted to be able to do the same. The ability to be able to build a conversation around clothes whilst exploring different issues and topics is what interested me the most.

My love for music, film, and art also played a big part in my decision to pursue fashion. Artists like Peter Blake , Shepard Fairey and Robert Rauschenberg were big influences during my art A levels. I admired their ability to be able to take political and cultural statements but then present them in a witty, playful and light-hearted way.

MM: Can you describe your creative process?

My approach to designing focuses mainly on the pattern making but the process usually starts with identifying the type of person or character I am designing for. Then I build the story around that boy or girl, where are they going and what do they do. I find that with most of my clothes being gender-fluid, the process differs with every project and idea. Sometimes the inspiration is very focused on a theme or concept and other times it's more about trying to convey a vibe and an attitude.  

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

The story-telling, the connections you can build with people, and being able to create a conversation. There is something very freeing and liberating about being able to express how you feel through clothes.

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

Being based in Portsmouth instead of London has its ups and downs, at times being outside of London you can feel very isolated from what is happening in the world of fashion, which can make it hard to network and meet other creative people. Resources and diversity in creative talent can be limited in Portsmouth but what I do love is the pace and ease. It is very laid back here and this really allows me to take my time refining my style and aesthetic with no rush or distractions. If I had to say where I feel more connected to, I would say home will always be Zimbabwe, I feel more at peace when I'm there.

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MM: In anticipation of your runway show at Vancouver Fashion Week, what are you most looking forward to?

I'm looking forward to getting to tell my story and seeing all the hard work finally come together. I am also very excited to meet all the other designers and see the collections they've been working on.

MM: What is the inspiration behind your S/S20 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

I don't want to give too much away yet but the collection is called Brothels & Bottle Stores a tragic love story of absurd proportions!

MM: What are you hoping are the reactions from audiences seeing your designs (perhaps for the first time)?

I just hope they feel the love and soul I've put into this collection.

Thank you for speaking with us Denzil. We look forward to seeing your brand on the VFW runway this October.

Photos contributed.

@denzilmapfumo

Hemp: The Fabric of the Future?

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. This rhyme is familiar to those of us who paid attention in high school, but less familiar is the fact that Columbus sailed the ocean blue in a ship made largely from hemp. The sails and ropes were made of hemp. The cracks between planks were sealed with hemp. Hemp oil fuelled the candles, and hemp seeds gave the sailors the protein they needed to survive. After wood, hemp was the most useful material in shipbuilding at the time. Known for its durability, absorbency, and lightness, hemp is practical and versatile, particularly in textiles production. So why was it ever superseded by less efficient, weaker materials such as cotton and polyester?

In the early settler days, hemp was a commonly grown crop, used for a large variety of applications. In the 1930s, Henry Ford developed a prototype of a car that he deemed invincible. It was the bio-plastic Model T, made of and fuelled by hemp. His dreams of a sustainable, tougher-than-steel car were cut short, however, as in 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed in the US. All strains of cannabis were made illegal to produce. Though the THC level in industrial hemp is less than 0.3%, it was grouped together with forms of cannabis used as recreational drugs. Cannabis cultivation was also banned in Canada in 1938, under the Opium and Narcotic Drug Act. In 1998, however, the Government of Canada legalised the cultivation of industrial hemp for commercial purposes. Today it is planted and processed in huge quantities, and over 1000 cultivation licenses have been issued every year since 2014. In the past decade, demand for industrial hemp has increased enormously, and Canadian hemp products are currently exported to over thirty different countries worldwide.

The appeal of hemp is no mystery. One acre of hemp produces three times as much fabric as an acre of cotton. Hemp cultivation requires no pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or GMOs. Farming hemp also improves soil quality through nutrient production and erosion prevention. Cotton production, in contrast, requires intense use of pesticides and fertilizers, excessive water, and causes soil erosion. Polyester is just as harmful-its plastic fibres contribute heavily to ocean pollution. Even as such, both cotton and polyester are produced in massive quantities every year in order to fulfill the demands of the textiles industry. An estimated 100 billion fast fashion garments were created last year, double the global production of 15 years ago. This is too much. The fast fashion industry is the world’s second-largest polluter of fresh water, after agriculture. It is the second-largest polluter of the earth, after oil. Drastic behavioural changes are needed for us to reverse the damage fashion does to our planet.

One solution cited by many a sustainability consultant is the implementation of a circular economy. As it is now, the fashion industry is based almost exclusively on a linear economy model. Clothing is produced, purchased, worn minimally, and then disposed of. The idea of the circular economy is to keep these products in circulation by repurposing worn materials.  

But what if we intervened earlier in the cycle? What if production was made more sustainable as well, instead of just lengthening the life of a garment produced at a huge cost to the environment?

Is hemp the answer? Can this remarkable fibre redirect the fashion industry towards a more sustainable future? In the past couple of decades, the environmental and economic benefits of hemp have become better-known, and its relation (or lack thereof) with marijuana has become better-understood. This knowledge, as well as widespread advocation for its legalisation, has influenced government: US Congress is currently working through the Farm Bill, a piece of legislation that would allow for the production of industrial hemp.

Increased use of hemp is a symptom of the sustainable fashion trend visible on every street corner in North America. We are starting to examine how our clothes are made, and what they are made of. Clothing made of entirely recycled materials is growing in popularity thanks to companies like Patagonia. My prediction is that hemp will continue to grow in popularity as a positive by-product of our increasingly woke consumer habits.

Last year it was discovered by international media that Burberry burned 48.9m CAD worth in clothing in 2017 so as to protect their brand from counterfeiting. The resulting outcry from consumers was consequential, on Twitter and in real life. People donated their $400 scarves to second-hand stores, and a brand that burned their clothing to remain upscale had to reverse their strategy and stop burning immediately to save their reputation. Consumers need to act on other unsustainable aspects of the fashion industry with the same gusto. Fast fashion only exists in its problematic forms because we are purchasing it. Supply only exists because of demand. Now let’s demand hemp! 

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

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