Saturday, December 3, 2016

Held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, November 8-11, this international conference brought universities from Canada, the USA and all over the world to a symposium: Blending Cultures. There were lectures, workshops, book displays, university program representatives, scholarships and awards, a silent auction of amazing textiles, crafts, clothing, and other treasures, open to bids not only from conference attendees but also members of the public who just happened to hear about this event or be at the hotel and notice the buzz of excitement. I bought a beautiful silk scarf, one of many being sold for $5 to raise money for scholarships. Professor Joan Ellis, Washington State U., who organized the conference, directed me to a huge room full of the most gorgeous creations: dresses, jackets, shoes, necklaces: a wonderland of color, design, fabric, sculptures. You can see the entire collection at 2016 International Textile and Apparel Association Conference. My favorites are below!

Textiles and design fascinate me so I got myself on the mailing list. Wherever the next one is, I want to be there. Travel with a purpose!

Joan Ellis (Washington State University) and I

This is a mix of digital textile prints and laser cut patterns, representing Tiffany stained glass and the light reflected from it. (You can see how I am attracted to color and print from what I am wearing)

Digital Printing and Laser Cutting to explore depths with a dress. A Garden gate was laser cut and placed on digitally printed floral petal prints.

If It Ain't Baroque, Don't Fix It by Rachel Anderson, Texas Tech. U. USA
Chinese adoption of French Baroque influence and France of Chinese influence on 18th C. Art
Old World Textiles become modern

Harmonious Co-Existence by Jinkyoung Lee, Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea
Hand knitting, leather, layered, represent the layering and harmonious sharing of roots in forests of trees, flowers, mushrooms.

IRIS, a 95 year old model, brand representative, interior designer and former textiles designer, star of her own movie, IRIS and much seen, stylishly over the top icon, flew from New York to Toronto to make a personal appearance at Holt's, there.

Will I wear those big, round black glasses, wildly beautiful mixes of pattern and color and tons of jewellery? Iris, in her interview with Jeanne Beker, The Globe and Mail, encourages us to find our own style, mix up what we already have collected and be comfortable in what we wear. Our style is enhanced by exploring that big world out there and by never giving up our curiosity. If I were in Toronto, I would wear  my Swarovski crystal belt with my orange kimono. Never thought of doing this, before. I would pile on the jewels, mostly costume, because they are fun. That's the main, thing, don't take it too seriously, enjoy and have fun. Iris lives what she says, for sure.

But here, we have our own chic looks from Jillian Harris, (Love It Or List It Vancouver) who always inspires us to look great, even in the rain. And, she dresses up everything around her, especially houses, that start off as wrecks but end up as your dream spaces. Tonight, she was hosting a wonderful event in support of the Children's Wish Foundation. Would love to see her style up all of those Vancouver store windows like those fabulous ones at Holt Renfrew!

My festive look: Red trench, colorful silk wrap from Cassie Dee, (Aniimiism) gold top, firefly and leaf necklace from Carolyn Bruce, leather pants and velvet booties from My Sister's Closet. Red cat sunglasses - yes, it was a sunny afternoon, in Vancouver.

Kudos Holt Renfrew for donating 10% of Nov. 9th sales to Children's Wish Foundation. And, it was great to be welcomed with snowy shortbread and hot chocolate. Sweet!

Very inspiring events for Help Change My City Alliance, a local non-profit supporting homeless at-risk youth, youth out of foster care and young carers (teen parents). I attended the Youth Engagement celebration from 1:00-3:00 and then the Gala, in the evening. Alpha Kirabira, Founder/CEO and Christine Michelle, President, hosted both events and both told their own stories of overcoming challenges, becoming successful and giving back to the community. "Life is all about lessons."
I was at the first LBD Gala, held at the Vancouver Art Gallery here in 2015. Now it has many more sponsors, participants and followers. It was totally sold out, this time, and the huge ballrooms at the Fairmont Vancouver, were alive and buzzing. Lovely, organized registration and friendly efficient and delicious catering by the hotel. Beautiful new space for this very worthwhile cause.

Lauren Preston of Twist Parties, costumed dance performers, lead by Alex Tokiwa, in a variety of balloons that caught the eye of all of the kids and those of us who are kids at heart. Atlicia Ohana, Miss Petite, B.C. and Miss Petite Canada spoke about the importance of knowing you are here for a reason and finding that is so important. She didn't realize her own strength when she had to become head of her family when her father became ill. She is sharing strength and skills with the many youth she meets through her extensive speaking engagements, across Canada and the world.
Skye Natasha Lintott and Sean Millington (Former B.C. Lion) spoke eloquently about following your dreams and knowing that you can achieve them, despite challenges you may face. You are here for a reason. Surround yourself with friends who believe in you and offer you positives rather than negatives. "Always take a shot." I was very inspired by Tanya Zambrano, a Templeton Teacher, who spoke about her Girls' Club at the school and how they do Give Days, there. One such day involved putting an inspiration message on every locker. They are also organizing a socks and blankets drive and will distribute these goody bags to those in need. These were just a few of the many speakers who work, on a daily, basis to support youth at risk. I loved that so kids showed their talents by dancing, speaking and singing. Those on the stage, managed to energize the whole audience into actively participating. The Band, Her Brothers, were absolutely terrific. "Change your thoughts, change your world", was a constant refrain. Great video emphasized, "you are beautiful". Loved how the band's sister, Tiana, was there and sang, too!

So, for the afternoon, there was all of this, plus dancers and a fashion show. Students I spoke with from Templeton and Magee, said they were glad they came and really enjoyed the experience. A lot of them are volunteering, too, and endorse the messages about positive friendships and giving back to their community.

The glamorous evening event was sold, sold, sold, out! Dancing and music were options before Alpha and Christine hosted the evening. There were dancers, acrobatics, operatics, and a fabulous fashion show. A beautifully decorated Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Pacific and B.C. Ballrooms, and friendly and efficient staff, set the tone for the best welcome to an evening of celebrating how Help Change My City, and all of its volunteers, are making big changes in their support of youth.

So much more at the Little Black Dress Gala, 2016. See you next year!

Photos by Colleen Tsoukalas

Christine and Alpha 

The band - Her Brothers

Dancers dressed by Lauren Preston of Twist Parties

Alicia O'hana - Miss Petite Canada 2016

 Dancers "if only" support mental health

My little Black Dress is from My Sister's Closet
Jacket from Joseph Ribkoff
Wall art by June Ba Designs

Me and Rich Abarquez  

Alisha Kalie - Miss Teen BC

Wedding designs by Vina Guingcangco

Following photos by Dianna Drahanchuk

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Just had to snap a photo of Amazon's new green garden structures, opening in 2018, but hopefully before that. Can just imagine EFW seminars or even runways, here. Love how EFW does so many events, in addition to partnering up around the world. Here they are at the Vancouver Aquarium, showing how clothing in the garbage ends up on the beaches and in the water.

Taking ECO Fashion beyond Vancouver, sharing creative minds' ideas for sustainability, partnering up with organizations who share the ECO vision and active pursuit of common environmental goals...the shows, always vibrant and new, are only one part of the ECO movement. They are a brilliant way to help change habits and bring all of us to a bigger picture.

Had to add just a few more favs: Men's shirts and intricately patterned women's wear from Canting Hijau (Indonesia) and more from Kimmi Designs.

Best of all was the Value Village show. 5 Stylists and 5 Designers showcased their looks from 8.1 pounds of material sourced from Value Village. North Americans annually discard 81 pounds of clothing, per person, into the landfill. Instead of tossing, reuse, recycle, upcycle and voila, a whole new wardrobe. Stunning color and variety. I would buy it all. See more at ECO Fashion Week, Day 3-Project 8.1. Can't wait for Spring and for Eco Fashion Week continued.

Me and Totemmi

Canting Hijau (Indonesia)

Canting Hijau (Indonesia)

Kimmi Designs

Kimmi Designs

I always look forward to EFW, its range of local and international designers, dynamic team of organizers and the many new directions for increased sustainability. The giant orange fish overlooking our meet and greet site, was a vibrant symbol of life and the environment we are fighting for. Our seats for the shows, were tops and the rest of them filled very quickly. Standing room was also packed.

 When I attend EFW,  I try to wear Vancouver designers, so I wore my silk wrap from Cassie Dee, Aniimiism, and jewelry from Carolyn Bruce. Immediately, though, I was drawn to a gorgeous coral, organic cotton (Peru) v neck t-shirt, designed in Hood River, Oregon. TOTEMMI, is a Sustainable Fair Trade Artisan who makes beautiful exercise wear that is soft yet durable. The shirt can be dressed up or worn casually and it feels like a warm hug.

Love that EFW is happening everywhere. I can attend here, in Seattle, in Vancouver, this Spring and next Fall, in Perth, Australia. Should I happen to get to Perth, I will already be familiar with Australian line: ECOBling, featuring accessories made from upcycled materials that would otherwise end up in the landfill. I want all of those necklaces! It's great that Vancouverites have supported EFW for 10 seasons and that they are part of Seattle's and Perth's weeks, too. Tetyana Golota and her Ukranian inspired, hand made, embroidered, collection not only created a fantastic runway show (including her 6 year old niece) but also modelled! Tetyana's dresses really flatter any figure, but especially taller, plus size figures. Bright colors and one of a kind detailing, really set any stage. At EFW, because of the 'familiness' of the whole event, I enjoy many unique experiences. This time, I met Kimmi of Kimmi Designs, both eco conscious and retro chic and I saw one of her exquisite wedding dresses. Then I met the real bride and saw her model her dress.You can see all of the extraordinary runway shows and behind the scenes Eco Fashion Week, and here are just a few of my favorites.

Big thanks to Myriam Laroche, Vee Pho and team for making EFW the super event it is now and from the beginning. Peter Jensen continues to be the best eye for the best photography coverage!

Fish Sculpture


Fiormanti (Seattle)

Henry Wanjala (Kenya) 

Henry Wanjala (Kenya) 

Totemmi (Seattle)

Tetyana Golota (Vancouver)

Tetyana Golota (Vancouver)

Rimpy Sahota (Vancouver)

Eco Bling (Australia)

Eco Bling (Australia)

Eco Bling (Australia)

Love the Seattle Art Museum with its admission by donation, first Thursday of every month and truly spectacular exhibits. While I was in Seattle for ECO Fashion Week, I made sure I luxuriated in the fabulous displays of dresses and accessories and learned more about the history of the iconic Saint Laurent. He had a 44 year career and the exhibit features, early paper dolls and outfits, advertisements, videos, photos and more than you can imagine. I loved the reds and golds and focused on those colors as I passed over 100 haute couture and read-to-wear looks. Not only is the collection fantastic, but at the entrance, downstairs by the admissions desk, is a photo op, which photographs you in three looks and you can choose any or all to email to yourself and friends. There was a line up for this chance to dress up and have fun. Guess what, men loved the color and designs, too.

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