Q & A with Fashion Brand Femmka

Femmka

Bulgaria based designer

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

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

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

What sparked your interest in fashion design?

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

Can you describe your creative process?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos contributed.

femmka.com

@femmka_handmade

Q & A with Fashion Brand Céline Haddad

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Celine Haddad

New York, USA based designer

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

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

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

What sparked your interest in fashion design?

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

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

Can you describe your creative process?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos contributed.

celinehaddadstudio.com

@celinehaddadstudio

Q & A with Fashion Brand SENKO

SENKO

Vancouver based designer

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

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

 What sparked your interest in fashion design?

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

Can you describe your creative process?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos by Matthew Burditt.

senko.ca

@senkostudios

Q & A with Fashion Brand Denzil Mapfumo

Denzil Mapfumo

Portsmouth, England based designer

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

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

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?

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

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

MM: Can you describe your creative process?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos contributed.

@denzilmapfumo

Day 2 at Vancouver Fashion Week F/W19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONCEPT KOREA SHOWCASE AT NEW YORK FASHION WEEK

LIE and GREEDILOUS showcase progressive Korean fashions for F/W 18

Concept Korea returned to NYFW to showcase two of South Korea’s most promising design talents, LIE by Chung Chung Lee and GREEDILOUS by Younhee Park.

The fashion industry has taken notice of the growing South Korean infatuation that is emerging from Seoul. The city, now a permanent fixture in the industry, is responsible for influencing some of the most infectious trends and inspiring the biggest names in fashion.

Concept Korea is a collaborative project to promote Korean fashion designers. This F/W 2018 season marks the organization’s seventeenth time showing at New York Fashion Week.

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First up, GREEDILOUS, a brand by designer Younhee Park. Park has previously showcased in Seoul and Paris, and was nominated for the 2014/2015 International Woolmark Prize. The F/W 18 collection was inspired by beauty in women represented with extreme glamour, the Palace of Versailles, and Marie Antoinette’s romantic style. Park revisited the vintage appeal of playing with beautiful patterns from nature to reinterpret Marie Antoinette as a fantastical creature representative of the brand’s unique identity. There is a beautiful mix of textures with vivid colours and bold graphic patterns following the Maximalist trend. Describing the look as ‘futuristic modernity’, Park creates a feminine style with masculine undertones that manages to be both classic and directional.

LIE designer from Lee Chung Chung is the son of renowned designer parents who founded the legendary Korean fashion house LIE SANGBONG. Commencing his design career in menswear on the famed Saville Row under the guidance of the celebrated menswear designer Oswald Boateng, Chung solidified his tailoring skills, which eventually led to launching his own line.

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Inspired by the striking image of a wary polar bear stranded on a shrinking iceberg, LIE made its second NYFW appearance with the F/W18 collection, “GLOBAL WARMING; It’s not justICE.” The collection aimed to portray an important message that “it’s not just ice” that is affected from the devastations of global warming. This season, Chung strives to bring awareness to the collapsing unity between humans and nature with his clothes. Dusty pale blues are contrasted with bold rainbow colourways, and transparent PVC's are paired with soft furs for a unique and feminine collection.