Q & A with Fashion Brand Ryan Li


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.


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. 


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.


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

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.

Q & A with fashion brand 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.

DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: Baroque Japanesque

We talk to Japanese designer Shiori Watanabe ahead of her Vancouver Fashion Week showcase.


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

Shiori: I am a graphic fashion designer and I create designs that mix traditional Japanese and European art.

MM: In what way do your designs meld the past and present?

Shiori: I use patterns from kimonos, traditional Japanese costumes. Each kimono's print holds meaning which depends on the season, place, the age of the wearer etc. I eliminate historic rules and design in a modern style so that anyone can feel free to wear. I create graphic prints on basic cuts such as T-shirts, leggings, and flared skirts, elevating them into something special.

MM: Can you describe your creative process?

Shiori: First I decide the colour of the base. And from there I design my favourite patterns- family crests, flowers and so on. I experiment with print placement according to the style of the clothing.


MM: Which colours are are you currently using?

Shiori: My favourite colours are black, red, and gold but I use a variety of colours when I design.

MM: Where do you usually look to for inspiration for your designs?

Shiori: My design starts with colour. I find colour inspiration all around me. For example sometimes I see a colour I would like to use when watching movies. I remember the image in my head before going to bed. Once the colour is decided, I focus on the design and then go about making the garment.

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

Shiori: I can create clothes with my favourite patterns, and it feels so good to see others wearing my designs.


MM: How has the Japanese design scene influenced you and your designs?

Shiori: I am inspired by the works of art made by traditional Japanese craftsmen. They inherit hundreds of years of traditional craft and make delicate fine arts. I am influenced by the Yuzen dyeing of kimonos, Kumiko craftwork, and lacquerware. I also love the prints of Hokusai.

MM: Can you describe the F/W 18 collection you will be showcasing in Vancouver in March?

Shiori: This time I have mainly designed Japanese style prints. The prints are used in two kinds of styles; sporty clothes and dresses. I've updated sportswear to look fancy and fun, whilst the dresses are centred around highlighting women's beauty.

MM: What does the future hold for your brand Baroque Japanesque?

Shiori: I would like to continue drawing beautiful Japanese and European prints and to collaborate with other designers. I would like to see my designs being worn all over the world!

Thank you Shiori Watanabe for giving our readers an insight into your design practices. We look forward to seeing your collection on the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week next month.





We talk to Vancouver based designer Melissa Yin ahead of her Vancouver Fashion Week showcase.

MM: Can you introduce yourself and your brand?

Melissa: Melissa Yin is a leather-based women’s ready to wear brand. I'm originally from China and moved to Canada a few years ago. I studied Fashion at LaSalle College in Vancouver from 2015-2017, and then started my brand right after I graduated.

MM: How did you come to be a fashion designer? Did you always want to be a fashion designer?

Melissa: Fashion Design was my childhood dream career. My mom used to be a dressmaker. In China, in the early 80’s, my Mom made me an incredible school bag that was so fashionable-it was made of tons of scrap leftover fabric. Since then, I dreamed of becoming a fashion designer.


MM: Why did you decide to start your own brand?

Melissa: I ended up in a business career and every morning I found I could never find the right clothing to wear. Due to these experiences, I decided to be a designer specifically to design clothing for businesswomen. Fashion has always been my passion, and now to have my own brand means that I can supply the best clothing to my clients.

MM: What are the most important considerations when designing with leather?

Melissa: Leather supplies!


MM: What drives you to design with leather in particular?

Melissa: In the 70’s and 80’s, leather was so popular, there was such a diverse set of styles. I find that incredibly inspiring. Now I explore and develop leather, adopting vintage styles to current trends.

MM: What are you feeling inspired by at the moment? Where do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?

Melissa: To be a niche designer is not easy. Fabric innovation is the most challenging part. I read science articles about new developments, which inspires me. I travel often, meet different people, and look at what they are wearing.


MM: As a leather artisan, you must always be on the look out for new versions of this material to incorporate into your designs. Can you tell us about any in particular?

Melissa: Lamb stretch leather is the brand's main material because it has the benefits of combined leather and fabric. Our mission is to dye it to the desired colour, and make it durable.

MM: What part of the design process do you enjoy most? 

Melissa: I love machine sewing. Matching every single seam perfectly. Accuracy is key.


MM: What is the inspiration behind your F/W 18 collection NINE TO FIVE?

Melissa: The 70’s! Pop red colour, flared pants, and grease leather. The flattering designs give today’s busy woman confidence going from day to night. The elegant lines are perfect for the office while the leather brings an evening feel for after work. Zipper details add an edgy feel whilst also being functional.

MM: Can you describe the colour palette of your F/W 18 collection?

Melissa: It’s a palette of striking contrasts; Red, Black, and Ivory. 

We cannot wait to see the collection on the Vancouver Fashion Week runway. Thank you Melissa for taking time to talk to Micro Macro about your leather-based brand.

Photos by Arun Nevader/Getty Images for Global Fashion Collective.