Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Penniless Fashionista!

A short while ago I interviewed stylist and entrepreneur Alecia Ebbels. I had the privilege of working with her on the set of FMA Vancouver: Sky 360 this year, where she was key stylist and wardrobe coordinator. She is a recent Kwantlen graduate and has started her own line of garments with her fellow classmate Brieanna Soo. She and Brieanna met while completing their degrees in Fashion Design and Technology. After working for different companies in the fashion industry for a short time, they both realized that they "didn't want to work for someone else." The line is called The Penniless Fashionista and the name couldn't be better suited to the current state of our economy. The company uses "dynamic colours, prints and fabrics featuring intricate details and whimsical styling. These elements enable customers to make a style statement in a world of mass produced fashions. Any woman will be willing to go penniless for these must have garments!" Their definition of the term penniless is as follows: not having enough money to pay for necessities, being broke, as she has spent all her money on clothes! This amazing design duo states that "you may be penniless, but you will always look fabulous!"

Both women bring key attributes to the table that have been making their company successful and will see them grow in the industry in the future. Brieanna pays close attention to detail and the technical aspect of the business; while Alecia has a knack for creating concepts and seeing the larger picture. Currently their designs, including patterns and samples, are created locally in Vancouver. While they both have found it difficult to create a brand new company in these harsh economic times, it is clear that they are willing to go that extra mile to make the company be a success. As you can see in the images below, their designs are named after terms they looked up in the urban dictionary, for instance poor and broke. The photo shoot is inspired by the Penniless Fashionista who will eat mac and cheese all week, just so she can afford that new dress. She has a complete obsession with clothes, so much so that her kitchen has now become her closet! The Penniless Fashionista line is currently being sold in three stores but will be available in more stores with their new Fall '09 line. Their website is currently under construction but will be viewable within the next month. You can also visit their facebook page titled, The Penniless Fashionista. Alecia claims that their success has been purely based on the fact that they set small goals for themselves each week/month and achieve them step by step; for instance, being number one on google search, which they have achieved. They travel to L.A. together to purchase their fabrics and utilize Alecia's styling and marketing contacts as much as possible. Alecia is currently represented by Judy Inc and works as one of their wardrobe sylists. She also juggles three different jobs in order to finance this venture. She says that everyone has a "real job and a passion job." It is clear that she loves styling and enjoys working a regular schedule with her sales job. A social butterfly, Alecia is easy to talk to, but amazingly composed and precise under pressure. When we were working at FMA together, she worked non stop to create a magnificently coordinated show that wowed everyone.

When asked about the Vancouver Fashion Scene, she states that it is not as appreciated as it could be. There is a larger focus on commercial and more popular designers, when there are plenty of creative and talented independent designers. Her favourite independent designers are Dace and Evan and Dean. Vancouver design schools really encourage students to work for larger companies rather than branching out and creating their own companies. For those who are looking to take a risk and start their own line she says that you have to have a clear concept of what your company represents and to never say no!" When I asked her about whether she will continue styling she said "I've worked so hard to get where I am..I will always be a part of [styling], I love my job." Her advice to current design students? "Believe in yourself" be passionate about your work.."go for it and don't let anyone else tell you otherwise and make it work." You can read an article about Alecia and Brieanna's Penniless Fashionista at 180 Magazine. It was a pleasure to work with and interview Alecia. Please check out their website here and find their clothes! The Penniless Fashionista is here to stay and will be a force to contend with in the future.


Rebecca, A Clothes Horse said...

This was a great read. I really like the colors in these photos too, as much as I like the clothes.

Rebecca Jane said...

such a great post - I am loving these photos as well - such lovely colours and textures. I will be checking them out for sure!

Vancity Buzz said...

Thanks for telling us about this, it is always great to see Vancouverites venture out on their own into the world of fashion.

I'll definitely have to check them out and do some coverage on them soon.

Athena. said...

These are amazing, I really love them :)

Anonymous said...

Hello ,
I came across you blog, found interesting and very cute by the way.
Please come and visit mine too!
Is a fashion and creative blog inspired by Portobello Road, London.
I Hope you enjoy.

Sarah Von Bargen said...

Those really are gorgeous clothes! I love the color combinations and detailing.

Siska said...

I love the silver skirt <3

Daughters of Dawn said...

Great post and images! Its so nice to be introduced to refreshing local designers.

Lisa said...

Great post Anthea! I love the lookbook images; they remind me of Carrie Bradshaw saying "I use my oven for storage." :)

Athena. said...

Oh no, I don't have photoshop ):
I so wish I did though, instead I have to make-do with this microsoft photo editor thing ahaha.
I'd love to trade links, mine's
I'll add yours now,
thanks for your lovely comment :)

yiqin; said...

The colored tights totally made my day & inspire me to wear one tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

Hi Andrea,
Thanks for stopping by!
I have alredy added your link to my page, I appreciate the exchange.
See you soon.

Margaux said...

Sure we can do a link exchange! I'll add you now.

Anonymous said...

the clothes are beautiful :) the colors & patterns are so fun!

La C.

Wanderlusting said...

Insightful! I had no idea about what goes on in my little city, fashion-wise :)

I'll have to check out those designers too - I'm pretty much only locally familiar with Narcissist clothing (as my friend runs it).

Couture Carrie said...

These pics are fabulous!!


Bobble Bee said...

oh thanks so much for this post!

Miranda Sam said...

Thanks for letting me know about the post! I have been out of the loop for the longest time.

Scrolling through your photos of Japan... I'm having a blast. "Wish I was there!"

And also, Lisa and I were at a fashion show at Caprice and we TOTALLY missed you!

Anonymous said...

Hey Anthea! I really enjoyed reading about The Penniless Fashionista! Thanks for passing it on. I love your blog by the way. The pictures of the Harajuku peeps are awesome. And they were afraid the amazing styles would die down since they opened the area to traffic again... Yeah, right! Since you were there, what did you think of the vibe?

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