Sunday, December 15, 2019

Written by Colleen Tsoukalas
Photos by Peter Jensen

Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week was an outstanding showcase of Indigenous Fashion Design, Art and Performance. I was fortunate to see the first one, here in Vancouver, in 2017. I also met many of these designers at IFWTO (Toronto) here.

When I heard that VIFW had set its dates for Nov. 18-23, I knew I had to get there. I couldn't make  the opening night, Nov. 18th, at The Orpheum, but when I saw the explosion of Social Media, particularly the photographs by Peter Jensen, I wanted to reshare the Red Dress dedication to the memory of the murdered and missing Indigenous Women. I also wanted to salute the Designers: Debra Sparrow, Evan Ducharme, Morgan Asoyuf, Lydia GardinerPam BakerPIQSIQ (Throat Singers) and Yolanda Skelton. As you will see, this night, as well as all of the other nights, were filled with outstanding displays of local and regional Indigenous talent, skills and achievement. Thanks to Joleen Mitton and her team, Indigenous Fashion Week is a strong, dynamic expression of enduring language, culture and creatives. The models, in all of the shows I have seen, are the Youth, strong, confident and well trained to be and share the rich legacy of who they are.

This first photo shows all of the Red Dresses that set the stage for a historic first night. Many of the audience wore red, raised fists, stood, to honor the memory of lost and murdered Indigenous Women.

Debra Sparrow is a Coast Salish Graphic Artist. Since 1983, she has been combining textile and Coast Salish Design through geometric, hand spun blankets and hangings. She also designs jewellery and murals. Her latest project: Blanketing the City, is a series of murals under the Granville Bridge and at Granville Island Market as well other sites across Vancouver.

Evan Ducharme is a Metis Designer, originally from Manitoba but now in Vancouver. He says, "I make clothes about our stories, our struggles and our happiness and joy."

Morgan Asoyuf is Tsm'syen from Northern B.C. A Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design Grad, she is also a Jewellery Designer, whose current work, Royal Portrait, salutes the Matriarchs, with gorgeous crowns and accessories and is on display at The Bill Reid Gallery, until January 2020.

NIPII Designs - Lydia Gardiner is a Cree Designer, from Saskatchewan, renowned for her bead work and ribbon skirts.

Pam Baker, is of Kwaguilth and Squamish ancestry and is located in North Vancouver. Her life long goal is to showcase Indigenous Arts and Culture and to provide a platform for others to do the same. Her TOC (Touch of Culture) showcases her designs (clothing, jewellery and art).

PIQSIQ - Sisters: Kayley Inuksuk and Tiffany Kuliktana Ayalik share their confusion with cultural identity, through songs via the challenging art of throat singing. Their name, PIQSIQ means storms, like those found in Nunavut, very unusual because during the storm, it looks like snow is falling back up to the sky.

Yolanda Skelton - Sugiit Lukxs Designs, is from the Gitxsan Nation and House of Hax-be-gwoo-txw of the Fireweed Clan. A textile Artist, she designs both traditional and contemporary styles. Her robes of power are one of a kind, functional, wearable Art.

This was an awe inspiring beginning to an extraordinary Indigenous Fashion Week. Each evening was expertly timed and beautifully showcased at The Orpheum, Queen Elizabeth Plaza and The Museum of Vancouver. Culture, Language, Music, Dance, Art and Design, completely welcoming, accessible and inclusive. As Yolanda Skelton says, "Red is the colour of our life's blood; it connects all human beings."

Once again, a big thank you to Joleen Mitton and team and to Peter Jensen, Photographer.

See more posts from Indigenous Fashion Week on Clothes Line Finds Facebook Page:

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Written by Colleen Tsoukalas

This is the second fabulous Fashion Show, produced by David Chen, (IPOPCanada) and directed, this time, by Photographer/Artist, Nina Pak. Assistant Producer/Technical Advisor, Christopher Manansala, VCAD Fashion Design Program Coordinator, Laela Blanchet, Eleni Alexandra Banakas, Key Makeup Artist, Huriye Sefayi, PR. Coordinator, Brodie Marples, MC and Amanda Straith, Key Hairstylist, were the dynamic shapers of this finely executed Renaissance showcase, but there was also huge team of volunteers who assisted the many Designers and Performers to make The Gala, the spectacular event it was. Three VCAD Fashion Design students: Alexandra Avenn, Madison Prangnell and Triptych Taylor, dressed for and drew their impressions of the finest details of a dress, a look, a fabric or a headpiece. Their descriptions of what they saw and their vivid, colourful illustrations provide instant recollections of a magical Renaissance evening in 2019!

Alexandra Avenn says that for her, illustration of Eve Jenkins, Designer and Andrew Flatland, Headpiece Designer, she used her IPAD Pro and a photo as her reference. She is flexible between Digital (photoshop and paintstorm) and traditional watercolour, gouache. She loved the Renaissance Theme for its whimsical, fairy tale esthetic. Eve's design fit perfectly with the theme. Alexandra is in her 4th term at VCAD and loves her pattern making courses.

Madison says for her headshot drawings, she used the headpieces as her inspiration. She loved the garments but feels that the headpieces added an extra dimension.She chose VCAD Designer Chantel Chang, for one illustration and Designer, Eve Jenkins and Headpiece Designer, Andrew Flatland for two additional illustrations. She is just a year into her program and will graduate in 2020. Her favourite classes are Fashion Styling and Product Development. She loved the Gala's venue: The Vancouver Club, for its d├ęcor and architectural details. Madison loved the Renaissance theme: "It could not have come at a better time. We are looking towards a revolution and are building to a "maximalism" in fashion. We are in a day and age where we express who we are regardless of social norms."

Trip's illustration is a marker and pen drawing of a  dress created by VCAD Designer, Chay Clayton. He chose this one because it is similar to a line he hopes to design, later on. The Renaissance theme is one he would like to see even more developed and with more guests dressing in that theme. The venue, The Vancouver Club and the ballroom setting were beautiful. Trip is in year one of VCAD's Fashion Design Program and he loves courses in Fashion Illustration and Pattern Drafting. These 4 Illustrators also illustrated at VFW here

Nina Pak, Producer/Artistic Director of the Gala tells us that since David Chen, Executive Producer, was interested in Dutch Painters of the Renaissance, this became the theme. Fashion, Art, Music, and Performance all played roles throughout the night. Literature, or story is the many posts, blogs, photographs, videos, and yes, illustrations of the Renaissance Gala at The Vancouver Club, decorated in gold and white and such a perfect combination of past and present.

The key feature of the runway modelling was a slower, steady pace (low heeled shoes) enabling media and illustrators to see the designs from all angles. Models were human, designs stunning and gone was that dreaded robotic progression, in one straight line, usually too fast and too much the same. As you can see from the Illustrators' drawings, their perspectives reflect their unique take on what floated past them in an instant, greatly enhanced with their use of colours and also the mood/tone of the sketches. Nina says that Fashion Illustration is one more fantastic way to document an event. It is a great opportunity for students to see what happens behind the scenes and at the actual show, both of which will likely be in their future careers.

The Fashion Schools who contributed so much to the success of this event are: VCAD, (4 Designers, 3 Illustrators, Staff and Volunteers, and VCC and Blanche Macdonald provided expert Hair and Make-up crews.

Thank you to everyone for a fabulous Gala! And to the Illustrators, a special thank you for sharing your vision! I bow. #IFG20 #IFG @InternationalFashionGala

The gold dress by Eve Jenkins, Headpiece by Andrew Flatland, Model Dani Barnes

Alexandra Avenn

Madison Prangnell

Madison Prangnell, Illustrator, Designer VCAD Designer, Chantel Chang

Madison Prangnell, Illustrator, Designer Eve Jenkins, Headpiece by Andrew Flatland

Triptych Taylor, Illustrator,  VCAD Designer Chay Clayton

Me, Alexandra, Madison, and Trip

Me in my Renaissance jewelry by Carolyn Bruce

Sunday, November 17, 2019

I blogged about Little Black DressGala 2019 recently. Naturally, I included my favourite Fashion Designs. I don't use my camera as much, now, because it takes me longer to work on the images and then get them posted. Still, there is nothing like the shots from a Professional Photographer, like Jose Manuel, at Vancouver Photographer that you will see at so many Art and Cultural events, year round. More at  Leaders, Alpha Kirabira and Christine Michelle, through the alliance, Help Change My City (HCMC) work with young people to build leadership skills that enable them to team up in positive community building activities. Alpha and Christine also work with single Moms to develop skills and to attend LBD to see so many examples of Achievement, Scholarship and Leadership. The Little Black Dress Gala raises money to fund programs and scholarships. Teamwork reaches a much wider audience. So, I originally posted one blog. You are reading my second one, now, thanks to Jose Manuel, Photographer, Extraordinaire.

Chalett Boutique

Julie Blaney


Kim Ledger

Shaghayegh Trafeshi

Shanj Couture


Tetyana Golata

Friday, November 15, 2019

Congratulations Alpha Kirabira and Christine Michelle for an evening full of positivity, achievement and top notch performances in Music, Art, Fashion and Community Building. The Little Black Dress Gala continues to be a well attended and well supported event to raise funds for Youth and Single Moms and programs and resources to help them achieve their dreams. Leadership, Mentorship and Scholarship are keys to success. Through Help Change My City (HCMC) mentors help students build self esteem, work towards career goals, make community contributions and make these practices life long. Single Moms are also provided with many resources and are invited (and supported) to attend the Gala at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Our Emcees, first photo: Skye Natasha Hintotott and Justin, who we know from many previous Galas, kept the energy levels sky high, throughout the evening. When they introduced the YPOSBC, Young People's Opera Society of BC, we knew this would be a fabulous example of a skillful and inspiring group. And, it was! I especially enjoyed hearing "Maria" from "West Side Story", as it made me look for her in each dress. Another powerful performance came from a very young, Ethan Charles Smith, who played and sang with such confidence and charm. Dance Performances, from Karen Kobel, Dance Co. and Ahmed Dance Academy were extraordinary. On November 8th, when the song, "Celebration" was played, the whole ballroom got up and danced.  

Congratulations everyone on the immense success of The Little Black Dress Gala! We saw a video of the tremendous work of schools and colleges preparing food for the homeless and we saw, Tanya Zambrano, Templeton Teacher and Justine Higgs of  LaSalle College, Vancouver award a scholarship to a hardworking school community builder. Everyone working together! Tickets to see this amount of achievement, were sold out! The photos tell the story. 

Please note that in the blue dress photo of Giovanna Ricci, the accessory, a painted purse, is by Artist, Hajni Yosifov. Final two photos show Eco Designer Tetyana Golota transforming her 'Marias' into Gala Gowns. Transforming lives from challenge to celebration!

© 2012. Design by Main-Blogger - Blogger Template and Blogging Stuff