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 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 Jessture

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JESSTURE

NYC

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

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

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?

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

MM: Can you describe your creative process?

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

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

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

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

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

MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Jessture here:
INSTAGRAM: @_jessture_ny








Day 6 at Vancouver Fashion Week F/W19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos by Filippo Fior / Imaxtree.com

Day 5 at Vancouver Fashion Week F/W19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos by Filippo Fior / Imaxtree.com

Q & A with Fashion Brand Mel Elegance

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Mel Elegance

Vancouver based brand

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

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

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion?

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

MM: Can you describe your creative process?

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

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

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

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

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

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MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The color palette.

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

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

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

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

Check out Melissa Yin at: melissayin.co

Q & A with fashion brand Margot

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MARGOT

Japanese Brand

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

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

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

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

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 MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?

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

 MM: Can you describe your creative process?

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

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

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

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

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

MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?

Through my background working with several designers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out Margot on Instagram.

Q & A with fashion brand Ming Studio

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

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MING STUDIO

Taiwan based fashion brand

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

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

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?

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

MM: Can you describe your creative process?

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

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

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

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

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

MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Check out MING Studio on Instagram: @ming_design_studio

Sustainability in fashion

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

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

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

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

1. Their people

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

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

2. Their product

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

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

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

BIRDS EYE VIEW OF THE OCEAN

BIRDS EYE VIEW OF THE OCEAN

3. Everyone else

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

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

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

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SUNCUN Presented by Global Fashion Collective

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Global Fashion Collective (GFC)

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

Check out SUNCUN on instagram.

Global Fashion Collective at New York Fashion Week Recap

Global Fashion Collective showcased at New York Fashion Week for FW19, presenting 3 distinct runway shows. First up, 2 collective shows with 6 unique brands, bringing expressive colour palettes, artistic fabric manipulations, and vintage influences to the runway.

Photos by: Jonathan Lapada

First up, Canadian brand FAUN by Marisa P. Clark, brought a collection of elegance and subtlety to the runway, as an ode to the timeless, sophistication of New York City Style, referencing icons Audrey Hepburn and Blair Waldorf. Rich jewel toned fabrics, with elegant necklines and fluttering hems, effortlessly complemented intricate handcrafted pieces, such as pearl bralettes and opera glasses. Models carrying bunches of Baby’s Breath flowers stayed true to FAUN’s signature whimsical, feminine style.

Photo by: Jonathan Lapada

Photo by: Jonathan Lapada

A highlight piece - a colour blocked suede jacket in pink with yellow contrast.

Photos by: Jonathan Lapada

Thick structured leather, glistening silks, and opaque organza gave texture to an artistic collection by Canadian designer Kirsten Ley. ‘NAISSANCE’, representing the birth, or ‘rebirth,’ of her label as an official Parisian fashion house gave life to classical French couture techniques while maintaining modern, avant-garde silhouettes. The colour palette featured deep metallic blue with Ley’s signature crisp oxblood softened by whimsical sheer creams, manifesting the emotional dichotomy of a fragmented human psyche.

PHOTO BY: JONATHAN LAPADA

PHOTO BY: JONATHAN LAPADA

Kirsten’s signature sculpting technique can be seen in a deep purple leather skirt worn with an asymmetric top with layered, gathered organza. Iridescent fabrics add shadow and light, evoking a romantic escapism for the viewer.

Photos by: Jonathan Lapada

With a fresh take on tradition, Chinese brand ERXI X MRHUA MRSHUA presented a quirky unisex collection for FW19, with the cutest mini model leading the show. ‘Silk Road, Beijing Beijing’. told a story with ornate embroidery of traditional Chinese New Year symbols, and a vibrant colour palette of lemon yellow, silver, red and candy pink. Striking patent boots, bobble hat caps, exaggerated ruffles, and quilted fabrics added a modern and unique twist. Designer NiuNiu Chou’s statement eccentricity at its finest.

Photo by: Jonathan Lapada

Photo by: Jonathan Lapada

Photos by: Jonathan Lapada

To close the show, Canadian brand M.E. presented a collection of unique femininity in a selective black & white colour palette. Designer Michelle Elizabeth was inspired by Fashion in its highest state as the ability to present oneself, as a consciously constructed representation of who we are. A full length off-the-shoulder dress with an opaque layer over a digital print with the words ‘Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable’ made a statement. Silky fabrics with inky prints in beige tied the collection together, with silver hook and eye fastenings at the neckline and cuffs beautifully catching the light.

Photo by: Jonathan Lapada

Photo by: Jonathan Lapada

A highlight look was a black long-length winter coat with white edging to panels, fitting beautifully at the waist in a flattering cut.

Global Fashion Collective II

The second presentation of Global Fashion Collective put the spotlight on exquisite elegant tailoring; the designers bringing forth an haute couture feel to the runway with careful craftsmanship and vintage influences.

Photos by: Giovanni Giannoni

Designer Tong Li for China based brand HIGHTLI was inspired by the video game ‘The Legend of Zelda’ in creating her FW19 collection ‘Melody’. The designs work as a ‘composed song’ that coordinate relevant yet differentiated elements in an unconventional manner. A caramel coloured silk shirt with flared cuffs, and high-waisted pants that cinched in the waist, gave a structured feminine look. Fabrics in herringbone, checks, and dogtooth added texture, and a cozy bold red fur coat created volume with oversized sleeves.

photo by: Giovanni Giannoni

photo by: Giovanni Giannoni

A deep burgundy cage-like structured button up cape worn over a silver silk two-piece with bird-cage motif formed a key look.

Photos by: Giovanni Giannoni

Chinese brand Queenie Zoe by Bomin Kim was inspired by Samiljeol (Independence Movement Day in Korea) and the start of modernization for Korean women. Creative director Bomin Kim has designed a series of gowns in a bold, feminine style. With references to traditional late 19th century silhouettes, elaborate empire line dresses with ruffled tiered godets and leg of mutton sleeves gave a sense of grandeur. Fur trims and large flouncy bows adorned the collection, and a velvet dress with exaggerated pointed collar brought beautiful contrast in black and white.

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The finale look incorporated a traditional Hanbok style dress with large oversized sleeves and patchwork fabrics.

About Global Fashion Collective (GFC)

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

Stay tuned for our next post on SUNCUN, the 3rd GFC showcase at NYFW this season.

Q & A with fashion brand YONFA

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YONFA

Japanese fashion brand

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

I was born and raised in Japan by Korean immigrants. My diverse cultural background led me to develop a strong sense of Japanese fashion and an appreciation for Korean production methods. It has been three years since I established my own brand, YONFA, in 2016. YONFA’s target consumers are mature women who love fashion and are open to trying new things and changing their everyday style.

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?

Like any designer, it started with wanting to make clothes that I love. I have loved fashion since I was a little girl. Growing up, I began experimenting with fashion and mixing pieces from fast fashion brands and luxury brands to create my own style.

One thing I always wished I could find was a brand that was affordable but that had the qualities of a luxury brand. One that would inspire confidence in women. Now that I’m designing my own clothes, this desire for affordable confidence inspires my creations. I hope my brand will be a breath of fresh air in the fashion industry!

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MM: Can you describe your creative process?

The most important thing while I am designing, is to think about what kind of clothes I would personally want to wear. Mature women do not like clothes unless they fit them well, can be used in different ways, and are durable. I always think of their needs first and after that, find a balance between casualness and quality.

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

I get most of my inspiration from day to day occurrences such as looking up the sky when I wake up, eating meals, and seeing art in museums or listening to music.

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

What would I want to wear? What kinds of materials would I want to have? What colours would I like to see? I consider my own taste while I design.

MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?

From my previous job at a clothing store, I learned customer service, visual merchandising, operations, and how to train staff. After that, I went back to school as a fashion business major and gained even more knowledge.

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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 very proud to be one of the many fashion designers in the world. In Japan especially, the standard for fashion is high so it is truly an honour. I also think the use of social networks has been a huge impact for me and expanded the reach of my brand.

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

My favourite part is when I put all of my ideas together and get positive feedback from customers. They love my collections and that motivates me!

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

Check out YONFA at: YONFA

The New Meaning of 'Made in China' - 2025

In 2015 Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a new ten-year economic plan called ‘Made in China 2025’. This plan is modelled, in-part, after Germany’s Industry 4.0 plan and is focused mainly on technology and robotics. A wider part of this initiative is the rebranding of Chinese industries from imitators to innovators. What does this have to do with the fashion industry? Well, it’s news to no one that China is infamous for their knock-offs. Simply search Beijing’s ‘Pearl Market’ and you’ll find hundreds of Youtube videos dedicated to finding and bartering for the best designer knock-offs China has to offer.

That reality has been shifting in China over the last ten years. There is a new generation of designers creating clothing for the insatiable and growing Chinese market. Initiatives like this one, which are only tangentially related to the fashion industry, help the global perception of China’s fashion goods shift from low quality clothes and high quality knock-offs to China as a new creative fashion hub. China’s designer fashion market is a Blue Ocean ready for fresh talent to wow the awaiting consumer.

As China’s fashion industry grows, the West can take note. China’s lateral movement into the open world allows for innovation not tethered to current practices or traditions. Chinese talent who in past have moved west to practice their skills are now staying in the mainland and flourishing in hubs like Shenzhen and Shanghai. These Creatives are starting their own labels and magazines. They’re designing for a Chinese consumer base that is ready to embrace and curate niche brands and smaller designers.

New projects like Rouge Fashion Book (a bi-annual coffee table fashion book) and established fashion houses like EPO Fashion Group (Home to Mo&CO and Edition) alike are able to find a home in southern China. Companies like EPO have been around for over a decade, but they’re recently getting the recognition they deserve. They play an important part in the rebranding China as a place for creativity and innovation. 

In addition to designers, Chinese editors and influencers are also making a stand in defense of Chinese creation. Leaf Greener a former editor for Elle China and founder of a WeChat based magazine, LEAF is among many whose work displays China as a place of creativity not just consumerism. As she covers fashion weeks around the world, she continues to defend China among them as a cutting edge player in the fashion world. 

We’re almost to the halfway mark of Made in China 2025 and what do we have to show for it? I can’t speak on robotic technologies, but we can see the fashion insiders of the West paying more mind to the rising giant in the East. More and more western publications are covering events like Shanghai Fashion Week. The Business of Fashion dedicated almost nine pages of their 2018 State of Fashion (only a 45 pg. document) to addressing China and the overall Asian market. The public won’t be far behind these insiders as they realize their favourite brands are not only being made in china, but also designed in China. 

Indeed, China based brands continue to grow in popularity both in China and in the West. Additionally, as events like Shanghai Fashion Week continue to grow and gain global attention, so will other Chinese designers and labels. Personally, I look forward to watching as the Chinese creative community shows the world what this part of the East has to offer. Enriching their designs with Chinese culture and tradition juxtaposed with a fresh perspective that remains unbound to the lines the West has been drawing within for the past hundred years. 


A day is coming when ‘Made in China’ will mean something much different than it does in the west today, and that day is coming soon. 

Q & A with Fashion Brand HAMON

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HAMON

Japanese fashion brand

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

The impressed feeling reverberates. Like a drop of water falling on the water will continue to expand with a beautiful arc. Both inside and outside.

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?

I felt interested because fashion reflects the spirituality of a person.

MM: Can you describe your creative process?

I visualize various conscious thoughts and emotions that I feel on a daily basis and I turn them into clothes.

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

I find inspiration within myself. I am constantly trying to see things from a different perspective.

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

Questions of individuality and diversity. Thoughts and emotions come from the same place. Don’t they? View yourself from different points of view. Lastly, do I have to make it or do I want to make it?

MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?

I am learning from various individuals I have met through my work. Everyone gives me advice and shares their opinion from their point of view. I am really interested in hearing everyone else’s perspective.

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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 started making clothes by myself. As most people know, Japan has a very unique culture. I design without intention. I think that overthinking the design process interferes with creativity. Through clothes, I connect with different individuals in society.

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

Being able to bring an idea to life.

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

Regeneration. The leftover fabric after making clothes, fragments of woven fabric being repurposed. This collection celebrates accidents and the inevitability of life by focusing on the power of your mind to create.

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

The Two Sided Dress (pictured above).

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

Check out HAMON at: HAMON Clothes

Q & A with Fashion Brand Emelia's Swimwear

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Emelia’s Swimwear

Toronto based fashion brand

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

I’ve always considered myself to be a ‘Follower of Sunshine™’, and the Followers of Sunshine™ are who I create my swimwear for. My brand focuses on quality, comfort, function, and of course, style with an emphasis on environmental stewardship. 

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?

I was travelling to many beach destinations and I found that there was a lack of  high quality, functional, and cute swimwear. I wanted to create a bathing suit that would be all of these things and also last for many swimwear seasons to come. 

MM: Can you describe your creative process?

My creative process is always different.  I am continuously asking other women and men what they would like to see or have in a swimsuit. 

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

What makes one feel beautiful? What makes one feel confident? What’s going to make others turn their head when they see someone in Emelie’s Swimwear? What activities is one going to want to do while in swimwear? 

MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?

I am self taught and studied other designers and felt that many aspects of the bathing suit could be approved upon without sacrificing cost. 

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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?

In Ontario our summers are short but the time is well spent with outdoor activities and soaking up as much sun as possible. I take this into consideration when designing swimwear as I want my pieces to be practical and functional for the many summer actives but I also want them to be comfortable and stylish. I live in Wasaga Beach, Ontario, I truly love it and feel very much connected to my home. However, as a Follower of Sunshine™, I find a little bit of ‘home’ wherever I travel. 

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

My favourite part of being a designer is the satisfying feeling of seeing women in my swimwear and seeing how their inner confidence and beauty truly shines. Helping make women look and feel good is what drives me. 

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

Health and wellness has become a big part of today’s society and is my inspiration for my F/W19 collection. Introducing daring reds and confident blues represents the attitude behind the new collection. 

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

If I had to pick just one, I would say my new ‘Marcella’ mesh onesie. The back detailing is so flattering and is very beautiful. 

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

Check out Emelia’s Swimwear at: emeliasswimwear.com

Q & A with fashion brand Maxime EDWARD

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

My name is Maxime Edward, I'm a Belgian, I originally came from the Philippines. My brand reflects slightly austere esthetics, can be said to be a touch theatrical with structured cuts and dynamic looks for men and women while looking for moderation between sobriety and fantasy. All this whilst hoping to achieve a ‘high fashion’


MM: Can you describe your creative process?

Everything is spontaneous. My creative process depends on the mood of the day. I like to sketch in the beginning, to give me a direction, but at the end it becomes totally different. It's like an evolution. And all the ideas are growing up step by step. I do need pressure to engage into a process.    

Sometimes all my collection starts from a color, a texture, a fabric. 

By the way, everything is made by myself. Patterns, cutting, sewing.

 

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

Everywhere; Art, architecture, observation of people and details of the environments all around me, photography, iconography, dreams, video game, movie, figure,…   


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

Do I have time?  Whatever, I'll do it.



MM: How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

My label exists since this year, but I create capsules collections since I was graduated in 2014 from my fashion school. I did internships: Maison Natan in Beglium (the royal family's designer), and Alexandre Vauthier Haute couture in Paris.

At the beginning I only worked on women designs. Then my best friend asked me to create for him a fur coat and i got good feelings with menswear. My style became more sportswear and street, even for women, but I kept all the references and identities from my experience and attraction of haute couture looks.



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

Belgium is a small country and we are a lot of designers. It's pretty hard to find his own place.

Culture in Belgium is about "Art nouveau"  architectural style, surrealism and minimalism. I don’t want to stay confined to my home culture but I'm trying to be open-minded to the rest of the world. 

 

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?

I'm originally interested in producing and directing movies but when I was 15 I met the "Devil wears Prada" at the movie theater. It was like a revelation but not in a serious way. After getting some information, I decided to start fashion studies.    



MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?

Learning Business? By myself. I'm only into designs and creation. The business is a complicated part for me but I do my best to understand how the fashion industry works.  


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

It’s a passion. I like all the steps of my job, even pressure and white nights. But I really like the pride of being able to present something that I created with my hands.


MM: What is the inspiration behind your S/S19 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?


The collection " UCHRONISM" is inspired by a vision of the Human species evolving in a total harmonic way of life. Not as an idyllic future but as an alternative reality of the present day.  Harmony is all about mixity, eclecticism , coexistence, acceptance and balance between economy, ecology, biodiversity, technology, beliefs, languages, esthetics, beauty, … Key word is universality. 

The collection is not about duality, but coexistence. A straight line and a curve; bright and darkness; natural and technical; soft and textured;  sport and classic are mixed.

 

Q & A with fashion brand Shamsha Hashwani

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

Shamsha Hashwani epitomizes the essence of the powerful, contemporary and sophisticated woman who is deeply inspired by tradition, I believe creating an inspirational fusion buoyed by versatility and a timeless elegance that speaks about my identity and who I am as a creator.

 

MM: Can you describe your creative process?

I am a very hands-on person; I like to feel and play with different textures and colours of fabric and material. Based on my emotions, my mood and the inspirations I have in mind, I set the tone for the design. Once I have a feel of what I want to create, I work with my team on the illustrations. When the illustrations are complete, we move to the mannequin for placements and an overall look. The next step is making a prototype. After the prototype is finalized, given that the required changes on the design piece are made, we begin the production process (dyeing, embroidery/embellishments, cutting and stitching). Every step is handcrafted.

 

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

Because of my passion to create, I am constantly (many times subconsciously) taking inspiration from my every day life activities. Going to the movies and being inspired by some of the landscapes shown on screen. Visiting the mosque and feeling inspired by the marble designs on the floor, or the architecture on the walls.

 

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

The questions that I think are important and that I ask myself when I begin creating a collection are: How will my pieces look on a range of my clientele? Young and mature women. Will they physically feel comfortable with the silhouettes and the handcrafted workmanship? How wearable is it? How versatile are my designs? Are my designs in sync with the current season?

 

MM: How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

The first few Shamsha Hashwani designs were made in my home and as demand outpaced production, the team of only a few traditional artisans — beaders, embroiders, tailors— became a strong team of 150, that continue to create authentic handcrafted products in the Shamsha Hashwani Atelier located in Karachi. From offering one line of pret wear when I began working from home, I now offer a range of products and designs, which includes formals, bridals, shawls and couture pieces. I have showcased my bridal collections at fashion shows in Pakistan and Bangladesh, held numerous national and international exhibitions, as well as presented pop-up shops with my ready-to-wear lines.

 

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

I could not be happier working as a designer, working on what I love everyday in Pakistan. My work has empowered me, as a woman, a mom, an individual. When I see women of all ages who appreciate my work, feel confident and beautiful in my attire, that gives me happiness. I have received an immense amount of support from my family, friends and my team of employees. Knowing I have a great support system, gives me more confidence and belief in myself and my work. I am very much connected to Pakistan and its culture – and I incorporate my learnings and my perspective of the culture in my work.

 

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?

Since my childhood I loved to dress up. Even among my siblings I was often called the “fashionista” or the “stylist” who loved fashion. However, I never pursued anything until much later. I got married, moved to Pakistan, had kids and that was my focus, my world. Once my kids went off to university, I had more time on my hands and then I began to wonder, what if? What if I tested the market and introduced a line of my own? Without much hesitation and lots of enthusiasm I went for it!

 

 

MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?

I never studied fashion, nor did I have any prior experience in the fashion industry. I have always been inspired and passionate about fashion. I am self taught, and through experiences have learned and grown both personally and professionally.

 

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

Passion. Emotions. Challenges. Foremost, my passion for creating is what motivates me to design. Designing is my happy place. For me and for all kinds of artists around the world, art is driven by emotions. My emotions are also very much depicted in my work from the colours I choose, to the types of work and detailing I incorporate. When I create, I feel grounded, I feel like that is my outlet and my way of portraying who I am to the world - my emotions, my personality, my learnings, my perspectives. Through creating, I have learned a lot about myself, who I am and who I strive to be.

 

MM: What is the inspiration behind your S/S19 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?

This collection is very close to my heart, as the collection ‘Shanaz’ is a tribute to my late-mother. Shanaz is a collection showcasing easy to wear, versatile, durable and quality pieces. I have incorporated the colours - green and red, to symbolize Bangladesh my hometown, and green and white, to symbolize Pakistan where I moved to after marriage. Although moving away from home was difficult, it was my mother’s support, teachings and love that taught me how to adapt to a new environment, embrace the culture, build my own nest and make it my own. Most importantly, I have learned to stay true to myself, who I am, and my roots. It is these values that I have taken inspiration from and incorporated into my collection. This will be my debut on a new platform, a new audience and a new culture. My silhouettes are versatile, my  handcrafted workmanship and design concepts are a personification of my mother’s lessons and my love for her. My mother was an artist; I have taken inspiration from some of her paintings depicting beautiful flowers, hence, my designs are specifically focused on floral embroidery. This is my tribute to Shanaz, my memories of her and my never ending love for her.

 

Thank you Shamsha Hashwani for telling us about your journey into fashion design. We can't wait to see your show at Vancouver Fashion Week for the SS19 season.

Follow Shamsha Hashwani on Instagram @shamshahashwani and check out the website here.