Monday, April 24, 2017

Photos and writing by Colleen Tsoukalas

Evan's Biddell's remarkable collection of 81 pounds of repurposed fashion is truly a stunning visual example of why and how clothing can have a long, purposeful life, instead of a short, destructive one, filling landfills and killing oceans. This collection debuted at Eco Fashion Week, Toronto, this season, and is now at the Museum of Vancouver until April 17th. On the way there, I was thinking about design, pattern and color, all of which I knew I would see in Evan's work. The museum's spectacular setting is perfect; how much of this will remain if every person continues to toss 81 pounds of textiles every year?

I loved the way leather jackets and coats were refashioned and paired in such unique combinations. Fabulous earrings and painted shoes reminded me so much of the 60's, a dynamic and revolutionary era of fashion that I would be thrilled to wear today. Is this collection for sale? I really want that record purse. Oh, and I also covet that little jacket with the sculpted hem and the red plaid coat skirt with it. 

The 81 pound challenge is always such a power reminder not to discard what can be beautifully recreated and reused. Thanks to Evan Biddell and to Value Village and yes, Eco Fashion Week, for leading the way.

Dianne Drahanchuk
Here's Dianna D. partnering up with this look, wearing her own, one of a kind, 
high collared jacket and skirt, saved from the landfill by her and 
My Sister's Closet Thrift Boutique at Semour and Helmckken.





Photos and writing by Dianna Drahanchuk

Evan Biddell Designs Unique Looks from clothes destined for the landfill. His collection created for Eco Fashion Week 2017 in Toronto, also came to EFW Vancouver and is at The Museum of Vancouver until April 17th. Here is my perspective, Colleen's to follow.

Evan Biddell's self-taught talent is especially remarkable in the 81 pound challenge collection he designed for Toronto’s first ever Eco Fashion Week held in March 2017. The collection later traveled to the Museum of Vancouver where Colleen and I got to see about 20 mannequins dressed in 81 pounds of Value Village castoffs up close. Many coats were refashioned into colorful pants and tops. Evan cuts the ruffled and leather strip details adorning many of the pieces freehand, without a guide or template! The pieces were accessorized with hand painted boots, melted plastic jewelry disc earrings, necklaces, and bolo ties.

Evan has a great idea for creating original one-of-a-kind pieces using products from Value Village stores and selling these in-store. The aim is to entice people who normally would not visit a Value Village, encourage them to purchase recycled goods and to their recycle clothing and textiles rather than tossing these items into the landfill. We wish him luck because we would definitely go out of our way to see that!





Colleen Tsoukalas

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!





 
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