Continuing with Day 2 of Vancouver Fashion Week! With the talent and luxuriously excessive embellishment still on my mind from the first slot designers of the LaSalle College international campuses, I forged forward.
Day 2 was loaded with talent and eco-friendly designers. Diversely dark natural fibres and colourful synthetics matched each other step for step. It was a long night but a delightful one!
The tents were buzzing and it was standing room only around the runway and in the VIP Lounge. After a second glass of a refreshing pinot grigio, the vintage Christian Lacroix black velvet jacket was hung carefully on the back of my chair. The temperature in the tents was rising and those who did not layer were regretting their fabric choices! My little black cotton blend dress with grommetted lacings was cool and comfortable as was the straw and netting hat from Granville Island Hat Shop.
Wendy Ohlendorf, Magenta de Boulevard, Portland
Following up with Wendy after her runway presentation I found out more about her passion for recycling and repurposing. In fact, this whole collection can be summed up by the word REPURPOSED. I get giddy thinking about someone who creates so consciously – her workspace must be a haven for every little bit and bob – creating new pieces each with the history of the last sewn into it.
This Spring/Summer Collection featured silk/hemp fabric in the finale Gigi gown and the shorts in that ensemble were repurposed from another garment. All of the leather featured in the straps, belts and bustiers of the metallic dresses was also repurposed. All of the metal featured in the headpieces was repurposed. The metal belts featured pieces from vintage chandeliers, jewelry, vintage cake plates and religious medallions. Buttons, zippers, rhinestones – you guessed it – repurposed!
Every garment in the collection was composed piece by piece and by hand by the woman whose name is on the label and not in a factory. Love this passion and by the response of the audience so did they. Within 24 hours she was invited to show this collection at an event in mid-November.
“This was the first time I have seen the collection all together this season. I had a lot of positive response about my collection from the audience, show personnel, and the models. I thoroughly enjoyed the city itself and the very welcoming reception that I received on my visit.”
Wendy is back in the USA prepping for Portland Fashion Week starting October 1 and for FashioNXT on October 9, where she is a finalist in the Emerging Designer Competition. She is interested in sourcing an outlet to host her collection in Vancouver and we hope she finds it.
www.magentapdx.com / FB: magentapdx
Shop Boulevard de Magenta at 632 SW Pine Street, Portland, Oregon
Lu Liu, Los Angeles
Lu Liu has a big heart that radiates happiness. She loves to smile and spreads that feeling through her latest collection with digital printing, chunky knitting and bright delightful colours.
“I was very excited to see the models come down the runway. It was a feeling of childhood. I could see the people smiling from their hearts at my clothes.”
Her future plans are to find a professional designer in Los Angeles (where she currently resides) to work with and create even more colourful collection of designs that will grace the runway with fun and flirtiness and to inspire cheerfulness in those who experience them.
Interested buyers are welcome to contact Lu Liu through her FB page: https://www.facebook.com/michelle.liu.315428
Sara Armstrong, Vancouver, BC
Sara Armstrong is a gal after my heart. Oversized sculptural separates in dark colours and patterns paired with flat shoes and alpacas. No matter your gender, size or build, there are so many pieces that can and should be incorporated into your west coast wardrobe. As a result of being a long term resident of Vancouver I have learned that pieces that transition with the seasons are more likely to be appreciated as all year round wear which makes them very good value for the money.
Her runway show began with a sepia toned slightly creepy video of her collection in a field of curious alpacas contentedly chewing away. (I have since learned that the video was shot in Kensington Prairie Farms in Langley which raises alpacas and llamas for textile production).
As the collection made its way down and around the runway, those around me whispered their pleasure at the pieces that had caught their eye. Pieces that were wearable and not fussy like some of the eye-candy that had been shown earlier. Pieces that had a place in our closets.
In the spring, Sara will be launching her online store and hopes to have opened shops in both Vancouver and Saskatchewan. Why Saskatchewan? She hails from Regina – that’s why!
In the not so far future she plans to be selling internationally and continue her journey with sustainable eco-fashion, produced ethically and to be an innovator in the fashion industry.
www.sararmstrong.com / T: @saraarmstrong_ / IG: saraarmstrong / V: user17383036 /
Alex S. Yu, NICHE Magazine’s Second Annual Emerging Designer Recipient
Imagine my surprise when my favourite piece from Alex’s last collection showed up at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on fashionista Sue Randhawa! Her fondness for his work obviously pre-dates this new collection and she looked stunning in this pink and grey colour/fabric blocked dress with embellished collar.
Even fashion bloggers StyleByFire caught the Yu bug and came on Day #3 decked out in whimsical dresses constructed with fabrics containing absolutely nothing natural! I wondered if the synthetic dresses were hot to wear, given their unique fabrics, but both Miranda Sam and Aurora Chan said no, that the dresses were amazing comfortable and cool given the temperature inside the tent. Miranda upped the ante and classed up her look with a rhinestone clutch and gold chains while Aurora played up the Dr. Seuss sentimentality with a blue wig, green lipstick and pink plastic tubing around her neck. I could not resist a photo with the two complete with a big hug!
NICHE Magazine may have went out on a limb with the backing of an emerging designer with limited market appeal but they are a ‘niche’ oriented magazine and while we may not see these designs in Holt Renfrew anytime soon, it is inevitable that the playful Asian market and cosplay fans will gladly scoop up these ice-cream coloured treats.
(This article was written by Helen Siwak)