Friday, April 14, 2017

This year, for the first time, I attended the Saturday show from 11:00 = 1:00 and it was truly an action packed couple of hours! I took two VCC Fashion Program designers with me: Nico Gruzling and Francesca Ramirez, whom I had interviewed previously here.

Here is a list of Children's Clothing Designers that we were lucky enough to see on March 25th: Jax and Lennon, Like a Scribble, Little and Lively, Rarity Kids, and Angelle Chang. You can read more about designing for children's confidence and comfort, sourcing materials locally and sustainably, and where to buy these fabulous collections, at the VFW site here:

I know that creating a collection and showing it at VFW is a crowning achievement for emerging designers. I also think that investigating other elements is very important. Beverly Card, Designer and Owner of Rarity Kids, was gracious enough to meet us and answer questions about how she got started: her grandma and mom were master sewers and taught her. She has a young daughter who inspires her every day. As the saying goes, it takes a whole community... to build a business and keep it growing and expanding. Beverly would like to see Rarity become the most highly sought after specialty Children's Wear on the West Coast. Francesca Ramirez drew her illustrations from the Rarity Kids Collection.

The second designer featured is Kelsie Power of Jax and Lennon. She is Mom to Jaxton and Lennon, and her collection features creations for babies and toddlers. She also designs women's wear. You will see several sketches of Nicole Gruzling's favorite pieces.

An enterprising baker, The Cake Mama, created 'fashionable' sweets for Kids' Fashion Week, treats that I think would go over really well for the whole event. Sweets for the sweet!

Big thanks to Sarah Murray, VCC Fashion Program Coordinator, Vancouver Fashion Week, Vancouver Kids' Fashion Week, Nico Gruzling and Francesca Ramirez for yet another fashion journey!

Sarah Murray, Francesca Ramirez, Me and Nico Gruzling

Vancouver Fashion Week MCs

Rarity, by Beverly Card

Designer, Beverly Card, Rarity and Me

Sketched by Francesca Ramirez

Jax and Lennon, by Kelsie Power 

Interested in the process of illustrating during the show, I took photos of Nico as she worked. Here is Nico illustrating two looks from Jax and Lennon. (photo) Since she sews for her own children, she knows how much they love the color and pattern and she loved the dinosaurs in this collection. She says that she is at the beginning with the process, but it gets better with practise. I think she captured the energetic playfulness of kids, perfectly. The day was expertly emceed by two very accomplished, engaging speakers, likely about ten years old. We all noticed how each collection was presented so beautifully that it was hard to choose which to draw. Each designer presented a number of looks within ten minutes, mainly because of the very young ages of many of the children. Even the very youngest walked the length of the runway and posed for photographers. There were no pauses or tears; everyone was confident, well rehearsed, yet quite natural. As always, there is a whole team working with these models: Designers, Parents, Photographers and particularly the Feng Feng Academy and Indigo Education Speak. Not only were the runway shows fantastic, but also there were dance performances at breaks.

A successfully run business owner can answer all of those questions, a new grad wants answered. Students also need to use their social media skills, not only in promoting their own designs but also in supporting the fashion community. So what can be done? How about doing some illustrations of the shows, or impressions of the experience, just to share a different perspective. There are millions of photos out there, but how many personal interpretations through illustration, are there? Illustrating, Interviewing, Writing, Networking...just a few ways to expand practice while contributing to Vancouver Fashion Week and future productions.

Sketched by Nico Gruzling

Sketched by Nico Gruzling

Fashion week treats made by The Cake Mama

Sunday, April 9, 2017

No matter what the weather, the giant welcome #VFW, outside of the Chinese Cultural Centre, has been there for many seasons and serves as the first 'fashion photo wall' before you enter the busy excitement of a week of international and local design, style for all ages and endless opportunities to not only see what's on the runway but maybe even to get on it, yourself.

Everyone dresses for Fashion Week, as it is the perfect place for creative self expression. Just when you think you have the perfect look, you meet new ones, outside the venue, at registration (staff looks dazzling) upstairs in make-up and buying areas, in the many new collections every season, and yes, on the runway as you join everyone between shows. So how about these cuffs and that purse by Carolyn Bruce Steampunk Jewellery?

I love that Vancouver Fashion Week is officially proclaimed, this time by City Councillor Kerry Jang. VFW is a showcase of creative talent, an effective and attractive production every night, and a great way to bring people together to share ideas through design.

It was a pleasant surprise to me to learn that VFW offers make-up, this time by Ana V, touch ups for that special photo and yes, you will find several 'fashion walls' and lots of photographers to capture just that look. It is all part of the experience that makes VFW a week to see new fashions, meet designers, try out that runway, support designers by buying and wearing their fabulous, unique creations and practise those social media skills. I even learned about vlogging - video blogging and Snapchat. VFW keeps us all coming back for more. LaSalle College started the whole week off, with its statement of excellence by opening the Gala. It starts with the kids and goes from there. Ever onward!

Visual College of Art and Design Graduation Exhibit April 6, 2017
Photos and writing by Dianna Drahanchuk

Two fashion design students were among the students showcasing their best at VCAD’s (Visual College of Art & Design) term graduation show of graphic design, interior design, 3D modeling and animation as well as fashion.

It is noteworthy how important women in these designers' lives played such an pivotal role in shaping the future of these two bright talents. Here are their stories.

After moving to Vancouver 5 years ago, Wei Lou started studying nutritional health at UBC. She gave up that career path for her childhood interest in the creative arts, starting with fashion. This was no mere accident as her mother, who is her inspiration and support, was involved in the fashion industry in China.

The basis of Wei’s designs are simple silhouettes, with interesting shapes and lovely ornamental embellishments. Very pretty. She is keenly interested in painting in watercolour with hopes to one day create her own fabric.

Creativity seems to be such an undeniable force . This is not the first time I have witnessed a transition from science into fashion; I wonder whether any transitions have taken place the other way around.

Nneoma Adie came from Nigeria 18 months ago specifically to take fashion design at VCAD. She found the school online where VCAD was one of the few Canadian schools listed in the top 50 fashion schools in North America.

She loved drawing as a child and would draw clothes she wanted her aunty to sew for her. Wisely her aunty suggested that Nneoma make her own clothes and then taught her.

Although her pieces for the show are typically North American in style, with fabric of raised sequinned squares and asymmetric hemlines, she plans to go back to her country and start her own fashion label using African materials but with garments designed differently. This is an auspicious time in Nigeria for fashion design as this creative endeavour is currently being encouraged.

ROXANNE NIKKI ®.... Modern Luxury Non-Stop Chic
Dressed to Kill, Film Noir’s Fashionable Femme Fatales
Film and Fashion Show March 26 and Shopping Preview March 29, 2017
Photos and writing by Dianna Drahanchuk

“Hollywood Haute Couture” a series of film clips featuring fashion from the 1930’s to 2000’s in film noir was curated and introduced by film scholar Michael van den Bos at the Vancity Theatre, host to many unique films and events year round. After the show, Roxanne Nikki, a local designer, presented a noir themed fashion show as tough guys and glamour gals. Her artist's statement "I design for modern men and women who are not afraid to make a statement and embrace his or her identity as an individual” was very evident.

The fashion show was a fitting accompaniment to the Dressed to Kill film and truly enjoyed by the patrons of the sold out afternoon. I enjoyed it immensely. Swag bags containing an invitation to the Pop-up Shop and Open Studio Mega Sale, plus “Nikki Bucks” to spend there were handed out at the end of the show. Visit her website here for more information.

Me trying on a fabulous coat!

Roxanne with her looks!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Vancouver Fashion Week started off with a fabulous Gala, that opened with a beautiful collection from LaSalle College Vancouver, now including The Art Institute of Vancouver. Welcomed with delectable treats from Culinary Program students. Fantastic to meet Staff, Parents and, of course, emerging designers, who no doubt, will be in the stores and on clothing labels, soon.

I wore a jacket by Karl Lagerfeld, Paris and a dress by Tadashi Shoji, Prada shoes and jewelry by My Sister's Closet. Make-up every night by Ana V at the top of the stairs at the venue, so stop by before you hit the photo wall.

Jamal Abdourahman - Founder and Producer of Vancouver Fashion Week
Jamal Abdourahman, founder of VFW, is always at the helm, supporting and highlighting local and international designers, both here and worldwide.

LaSalle featured magnificent designers who could easily show at NYC 
Fashion Week. Elegant, sophisticated, colorful and oh, so wearable.

Adam-Lin Bungay, Laura Torrella, Britt Wacher, Bahareh Memarian, Jamarec Eiammanassakul(Rily), Esther Ashu and Wilbur, those really set the tone for not only the Gala, but for the rest of the week. For more about these designers see Olio by Marilyn.

 People did dress up, and I loved the butterfly shoes, for which I would gladly have traded my black ones. Nothing like fashion head to toe!

Following LaSalle was a sample from other designers showing throughout the rest of VFW. See their profiles and interviews at  Loved them all but especially loved the ECO handmade dresses, hats and accessories by Green Embassy, by Zuahal Kuvan-Mills of Australia. Notice the black fish net skirt and touches of net on the blue dress that is made entirely of recycled materials found on the beaches. Fitting for this collection: Empty Oceans. I will be wearing a suit made of Alpaca, at the show, this Sunday at 8:00

And who could resist the vibrant, neon kimono wear from designer Sasaki Vege (Beji): WASSO VEGES. A kimono from this stunning collection is not restrictive or heavy. I went up to the showroom to see the obi and to imagine how many places I could wear the obi as a top, under the kimono, forever looking for an outfit to wear in multiple ways. The Japanese way is to fit and fold the material to the body. It seems that with Western design, I am stuck forever in the world of alterations.

Every night, so far, has been an adventure of Art, Design, Community and Fashion for great causes. 

To all of the Artists, Organizers, and Fashionistas, ever onward!! Thanks! And last but not least, an even bigger thanks to Dianna Drahanchuk for the photos.

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