Friday, March 24, 2017

Vancouver Fashion Week FW 17 - Thursday Shows by Tsung Yu Chan, Gabbie Sarenas, Stefano Giammattei and Aya Bapani

Thanks to Fotowerks for this image of me with photographer Ed Ng
and Harry Leonard. I couldn'tget my posts up as quickly as I do
without their hard work!
Thursday at Vancouver Fashion Week the excitement started to build from the moment the doors opened.  Photo taking before and after shows began to reach a fevered pitch as friends old and new wanted to capture the moment. More photographers stepped out of the pit to snap candids.  As soon as you posed for one, three others were there waiting.

I had a great edgy outfit all planned out in my head early in the day so headed up to get ready that afternoon with confidence.  Bath, make-up, hair all fell into place. Then I started to get ready and could not find the most important piece. Up and down 2 flights of stairs from bedroom closet to storage room I went - the only 2 places I keep clothing. After my 3rd trip I gave up. One of the blessings of building a closet with the help of stylist is that there is always another option.

Image by Harry Leonard Imagery
My look turned out to be more classy than edgy, although I did have a couple edgy elements.  I had a light black dress jacket with sequins detailing and black knit skirt with from leather look panel by RozeMerie Cuevas at JAC by JC.  With it I wore a statement making large steampunk necklace and drop earrings by Carolyn Bruce and a pair chrome skeleton heels with with spiked rivets by Hades Footwear.  Voila! Still hoping to find that missing bolero jacket on Friday. We will see.

Before I start my show recap, I would like to extend my thanks to the many sponsors that have stepped in to support Vancouver Fashion Week this season. There are two huge teams working backstage to create the looks we see on the runway each day. Hair sponsors are Moroccan Oil and Keune. Makeup sponsor is Ana V. Beauty.  The backstage healthy food that keeps everyone fueled and high energy is from sponsor Hungry Guys. The VFW official undergarment sponsor is Shibue Couture. Water sponsor is Evian. Furniture sponsor is Form Collective. Car Sponsor is Dueck Cadillac and BU Letters provided the #VFW letters by the entrance.

Today it was really tough to pick just a few designers to be covered. There were several who had similar aesthetics making the decision of which to include very tough, so I encourage you to check out wider coverage as below is just a very small representation of what we saw on Thursday. In the end I picked 2, a photographer picked 1 and the media person next to me picked the final. Vancouver designer Mary Ebra was added to my BUY LOCAL column HERE.

Candid Images by Ed Ng Photography

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Tsung Yu Chan

Image by Harry Leonard Imagery

Taipei menswear designer Joe Chan studied at Ecole De La Chambre Syndicale De La Couture Parisienne then interned at AMERICAN RETRO and then KOCHÉ where is went on to become an assistant designer. In 2016, he launched his own menswear label - Tsung Yu Chan. Inspired by high fashion, street style, modern art and collage, the looks he offers offer a mix of of traditional technique and life experiences.

Image by Harry Leonard Imagery

Menswear continues to grow and change as talented new designers with an affinity for street wear bring their ideas to the runway.  The wonderful styling seen in this show really captures your eye, but don't be fooled.  Take away the the styling elements and underneath you'll see that the individual garments are very wearable.  While the main focus was black, pops of white, a bit of colour blocking, some graphic lettering and one print added just the right notes of interest to the show. Well done.

Image by Harry Leonard Imagery

"Aiming to introduce and re-introduce Filipino culture, Gabbie Sarenas is a brand that immortalizes tradition through clothing & lifestyle. The brand champions & preserves creative Philippine techniques and artisanship to create unique pieces for the modern woman. Each piece is created to tell the romance of heritage with the finest attention to detail. Classic, relaxed, and delicately opulent are embedded in each Gabbie Sarenas piece making it subtlety luxurious. We are storytellers weaving timeless stories while embracing the future of responsible innovation." - from the designer's VFW bio

Image by Harry Leonard Imagery

I was intrigued by this collection.  It was romantic, full of cultural references and sewn absolutely impeccably.  Despite the very architectural shape of some pieces, the designer managed to still keep them soft and feminine. Of particular interest was the embroidery decorating many of the garments. It was mostly script and one next to me in the know said it was words in the designer's home language, I cannot confirm that, but find myself left pondering what those words were saying.

Stefano Giammattei

Images by Ed Ng Photography

Guatemalan menswear designer Stefano Giammattei began his career at the young age of 16 when he began an internship at tailoring label. He then studied fashion at a local university and presented his first collection at Mercedes Benz Guatemala Fashion Week 2016. "'City F/W' is Stefano Giammattei´s recent collection. As the name suggests, “City” is a collection inspired in the urban lifestyle of Guatemala. Urbanwear has yet to be discovered in Guatemala, Stefano has become a pioneer in this type of clothing, making it his passion and craft." - from the designer's VFW bio

Images by Ed Ng Photography

The designer shared that his inspiration often came from trying to make sense of political conflicts, social stereotypes, and the unique components of the Guatemalan individual and I think that was evident in the collection we saw this night. The muted tones in the palette worked well here and I loved the inclusion of 2 prints.  My favourite pieces were the more sculptural asymmetrical garments - they just really popped on the runway.  I love seeing designers give menswear a new twist and Giammattei did that perfectly.

Images by Ed Ng Photography

"Designer Aya Bapani was born in a family of famous artists of Kazakhstan, and grew surrounded by creative people who cultivated the love of arts in her. From childhood Aya knew that she would be a designer and would contribute to the development of fashion.Aya’s debut collection was presented at the 2011 Kazakhstan Fashion Week (Spring-Summer 2012). The podium demonstrated a fairy tale in the form of fashion show, which masterly combined music, history, handmade crafts, bright colors, fashionable garments and the character of women. The show gave the audience an entrancing charge of emotions. Designer’s message was so powerful that the audience applauded standing, and some even shed tears. All the fashion critics of the country named Aya Bapani as “a discovery and breakthrough of the year”." From the designer's VFW Bio. 

Images by Ed Ng Photography

I adored this collection. When you sit through over 60 shows each season over a 6 day period, it's the surprises that sharpen your focus and bring you to the edge of your seat. There is no better surprise than an international designer offering garments inspired by their heritage. Bapani's use of colour, pattern and dye was eye catching. Styling of the models exceptional and the unique accessories took each look to the next level. The garment that would most fit into my closet was a beautiful flowing, floor length drape in white on white. Just stunning. I also loved the shorter jacket version in both white and black.   I really hope designer Aya Bapani will be returning to the Vancouver runway again soon. 

Images by Ed Ng Photography

Thursday, March 23, 2017

India by Debra Schoenberger

"Come with me to India!  From gypsies to princes, from monkeys to peacocks, I invite you to join me on my latest journey to this fascinating country."
​- Debra Schoenberger

Synopsis - 

I have always been fascinated by the sheer beauty and diversity in Indian culture. "Sensory overload in a glance" is an apt description of a country that is always in movement. To be able to stand still in the middle of all that movement allows me to really "see" her people and absorb the flow of life from birth to death.

From learning how to make yellow ink from cow urine to watching funeral pyres burn in Varanasi, I realized that I would have to spend a lifetime here to grasp the immense value of her art, stunning architecture, fascinating food and love of all that is beautiful.

Review -

Debra Schoenberger is a talented professional photographer who has found her calling by showcasing the world around us, the people in it and how we move through it. Her two previous books are Montreal (offering images of the city) and To Be A Child (offering images of children from ten countries). In this new offering, we follow her on an amazing trip to India.

Instead of posing people and setting up prepared ideas, Schoenberger has chosen to photograph what she saw as she saw it. Looking at the images in this book feels like we are there with her peering over her shoulder. There is no one theme - just a beautiful mix offering a look at people, architecture, animals in the street, nature, train stations, poverty, beauty and unusual bits that caught her eye. It's raw and very real.

There is a very small amount of written word as well - two quotes at the very beginning to set the tone - and then we are left with simply her intriguing images. They each speak to us in a different way offering mood, tone and insight.  While I would love to have known where the images were taken included on the page with each image, their lack allows you to instead be drawn into the story they tell.

As I am not a photographer, I asked a friend who has a lot more camera experience to look at the book and give me a comment for this review from her perspective. It's perfect.

"The photos show India today, its people: families, work, food, clothing, going about their daily lives, rather than Bollywood posing. In that sense, the book is so respectful and a quiet, mindful look at the place and the society. Because the author is in the background, her observant eye brings to light all of the color, humanity, history, religion, and diverse geography,...She has a few famous tourist sights but manages to capture them at dusk, so reader's eye must fill in the details. It is almost like she is saying: Here is the outline, now go and find out the rest..." - Colleen Tsoukalas

Buy the book: Amazon Blurb iTunes Website
Add on goodreads

Meet the author / photographer:

Read a great author interview HERE!

Debra Schoenberger aka #girlwithcamera

"My dad always carried a camera under the seat of his car and was constantly taking pictures. I think that his example, together with pouring over National Geographic magazines as a child fuelled my curiosity for the world around me.

I am a documentary photographer and street photography is my passion. Some of my images have been chosen by National Geographic as editor's favourites and are on display in the National Geographic museum in Washington, DC. I also have an off-kilter sense of humour so I'm always looking for the unusual.

​Connect with the author: Website ~ Facebook ​~ Instagram ~ Pinterest

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Interview with Debra Schoenberger, author/photographer of India

Please share a bit about your journey from childhood to embracing a career as a professional photographer. What led you from a dad who always had a camera ready to becoming a professional?

Growing up in northern Canada with no access to outside books apart from the small school library, I would pore over the National Geographic magazines that we would receive every month via subscription. My dad renewed that subscription for years. It was quite an education.

I observed that every photo my father took, preserved a bit of history. As a history lover myself, I thought this was the most practical way to continue doing just that. We both have a pretty crazy sense of humour, so there have been some “unusual” shots over the years.

I was dealing with PTSD for several years and one of the therapies I experimented with was photography. I had been working for a photography business for many years but was rarely behind a camera. This all changed when I bought a second-hand professional camera and started walking for hours on end just shooting things that would catch my eye. Although familiar with the technical aspects of photography, I studied photojournalism almost every day and practiced improving my composition and lighting techniques. A series of very strict mentors also motivated me to improve my craft.

You have a focus on nature and lifestyle that highlights how people move through their day and the world we move through. Has this always been the focus of your passion? What is it about this direction that speaks to you?

I did a lot of formal portraiture, weddings and family sessions for several years. It was work, but I didn’t want to be labelled as a “photographer who had to work”.

Review Here!

“I am interested in art as a means of living a life; not as a means of making a living.” - Robert Henri

Any artist goes through phases of experimentation until they ultimately do what they enjoy most. Capturing the unexpected is what fuels my imagination. I love to explore new cultures and places and this has become a large part of my photography.

While your photography is quite diverse - even weddings - your books seem to grow from a love of travel. India, Montreal and To Be a Child (images of kids from 10 countries) - and you offer long bucket list on your website (Russia, Iceland, Peru, Galapagos, Tanzania, South Africa, Antarctica, Greenland, Norway, Sweden, Brazil, Czech Republic, Costa Rica). What is it about travel that inspires you to now only take images, but share them in books?

I guess you could say that I’m curious about the world around me.

“Curiouser and curiouser!” Cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Photographers always takes hundreds, if not thousands of pictures, now that they work with digital cameras. Of all the images you took on your trip to India, how did you choose which ones to feature in your book? Was there a theme or time frame to their choice and order in the book?
As a rule, I don’t just shoot everything I see. I wait for something intriguing to catch my attention. I used a film camera (SLR) for over 25 years so composition and timing became second nature to me. I do take images that I like to keep in my photo bank but they aren’t necessarily for general publication.

The images in INDIA are laid out side-by-side for a reason. There is a strong connection between the two, they weren’t put there randomly. It takes time to study and uncover that connection, like a link in a storyline.

While I know your artistic focus is images, I really loved the well chosen quotes at the front of the book. They added a deeper dimension. Would you ever consider including more throughout the pages - echoes of thought to add to your powerful images?

Yes, I probably would. There are so many beautiful quotes that I could have used. This would be a bit time-consuming as there are about 200 images in the book.

Other Books by the author: Left - Montreal, Right - To Be A Child

What would you like those that buy your book to know about you as a photographer and the photographic books you offer?

That I’m just a regular person with a quirky sense of humour and a camera. I want others to feel the emotional tug my images evoked in me.

What can we expect next? Do you already have a new book in the works or another trip in the planning stages?
I will be going to Iceland in the fall with National Geographic Journeys and then on to Europe to study art for a couple of weeks. With respect to a new book, I have a few ideas rolling around in my head. I’ll keep you posted!

​Connect with the author: Website ~ Facebook ​~ Instagram ~ Pinterest

Vancouver Fashion Week F/W 17 - Wednesday Shows by Designed by Beely, Hangjun Jo and Kakopieros

Image by Harry Leonard Imagery
Day two of shows started a little low energy for me as I was working on writeups for the previous day from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. It's not just the words to write. It's receiving, formatting and adding the pics and any needed hyperlinks.

Then it's sharing across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, making sure all involved are tagged.  I love what I do, but it does take awhile and the reason my writeups are not longer.

When it comes to choosing what to wear each day, it's all about what looks good with my new edgy hairdo created by Myles Laphen of Avant Garde Salon.  What sets off that black accent? I first thought I would wear black all week, but yesterday decided to go in a different direction. My unusual
Image by Harry Leonard Imagery
colourful shawl is by Eco designer Elina Tan of Toronto. My printed leggings are by Vancouver's Some Product.  My hand-painted bottle cap earrings are by an African artist and purchased at a free trade store.  Last my not least, my little bag is by Geir Ness of Laila, the Essence of Norway.  It came filled with little samples of parfum and lotions, but I love to use it as a mini-purse.

The three designers I chose to feature here again offer a really wide range of aesthetics from very wearable to out of the box alternative - Designed by Beely, Hangjun Jo and Kakopieros.  I have a fourth show I want to cover separately - Toni Marlow - because it is the message behind the show that needs to be given wings!  It might take a day or two and I need to connect with the designers to do a Q and A.

Last but not least - four new Vancouver designers were added to my BUY LOCAL column, but the images may not go up until tomorrow. They are Lo Life x Lauren Kemp, Tima.G, Ginger & Flora and Kirsten Ley.  The Tuesday section of this column is now complete. You can check it out here -

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Designed by Beely

Images by Harry Leonard Imagery

Designed by Beely is an independent women’s apparel and accessories label founded by its designer, Beely Huang. Her designs express a connection to nature and appreciation of minimalism through the emphasis on natural materials in organic hues. Beely caters to fashion-forward professional women, redefining classics to offer versatile, sophisticated styles with an edge. The combination of timeless, pared-down aesthetics with distinct features are the signature of this label.

Images by Harry Leonard Imagery

Beely finds inspiration from places she has traveled, learning to work with a variety of mediums including sustainable, re-purposed hides and furs using traditional sewing techniques for quality craftsmanship. She is also drawn to the blank canvases she sees in unassuming and often overlooked objects. She perceives beauty in the understated, and is interested in the ‘imperfections’ and unexpected features found within these objects. These challenge her to give bold voices to the simplistic.

Hangjun Jo

Images by Ed Ng Photography

"Hangjun Jo graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a BA(Hons) in Fashion Design in 2016. Specialised in womenswear. His tasteful sense of colour, print idea and structural comprehension turn out to create contemporary casualwear, which contains elegance and masculinity at the same time. Especially his artistic background is transferred into interesting prints/ cuts and that makes details more unique. Currently Hangjun is a freelance designer and preparing for his first label HANGJUN JO." - VFW bio

Images by Ed Ng Photography

When you watch a lot of runway, it's always wonderful to have a designer offer a unique collection from a different viewpoint. Such was the case here.  I found myself sitting up in my seat and leaning forward to take in the smaller details. This collection was very architectural and the designer played with layering unique shaped separates in striking ways. He also mixed the palette of white, grey, pink, blue and black in in eye-catching ways. The stripe pattern seen in this collection was created by hand painting.


Images by Ed Ng Photography

"The work of Kakopieros embraces many human dichotomies—order and chaos, meaning and absurdity, light and shadow—to explore artistic, philosophical, spiritual and scientific questions. Designed to confront and alter viewer perceptions, Kakopieros is motivated by her need to address issues surrounding society's treatment of animals and the environment...Art is political and they are intrinsically connected to one another. My thoughts are inevitably tied to the aesthetic of politics. It fuels the very core of my work." - From the Designers VFW bio

Images by Ed Ng Photography

I happened to see this hard-edged collection doing their model run-through before the doors opened and was anticipating it all evening.  I love variety and I love surprise.  The opening video offering disturbing images, the individual garments and the way they were combined, the unique accessories from those featuring doll parts to facial hardware, the palette, the styling - it was all bang on. It was only after the show I had a chance to connect with the designer and learn a couple key elements. First was she had a team of 3 with her to pull off all these amazing looks. Second, her collections are motivated by politics. This one was a comment on human trafficking.

Images by Ed Ng Photography

I appreciate seeing fashion used as political art. It brings a physical impact that cannot be denied. Well done and a great way to end the evening. I am hoping to add a personal comment from the designer on this collection's focus as well as the names and credits for her truly talented team. So be sure and check back!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Vancouver Fashion Week F/W 17 - Tuesday Shows by Katherine Tessier, Keem and Illusions Lab X Jennifer Reeves Designs

Image by Harry Leonard Imagery
Tuesday, March 21st, offered the first days of shows for the Fall Winter 2017 season at Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW).

I always love the first day full of anticipation and have a set routine. I arrive and sort out my seat early, do a quick wander through the backstage to say hi to first designers lining their models up back stage and then take a few moments to connect with the many volunteers both veterans like me and new on the scene. It's a great time.

Next the doors open and the excited audience begins to pour in, all jockeying for the best views. The runway fills with the buzz of people talking about the shows they are looking forward to. Many of us also start to share about what we are wearing in support Vancouver and Canadian designers. There were some taking candids together, but it wasn't the feeding frenzy of previous seasons. There was a more relaxed feel to this evening with many of the images taken on cell phones instead of by the pros.

My outfit this first day was inspired by my hair.  I was feeling the need for a change for several reasons, so asked my amazing stylist Myles Laphen - the creative director at Avant Garde -  to make me edgy this time. To an asymmetrical cut, he added a fabulous black swash on the longer side. I love it. To show it off, I choose to wear all black right down to my nylons and very muted jewellery.  My knit top is from JAC by JC. My big, fabulous wooden bead necklace is by Laura Siegel (purchased at Holt Renfrew's Project H Shop). my Eco bracelet created from recycled bicycle inner tubes is by London based Eco designer Matilda Janosi of Tildart and my purse featuring cork detailing I picked up in Find Finds - Yaletown. It is by Canadian Eco brand, Matt & Nat.
Image by Ed Ng Photography
There are three courtesy notes I would to make for anyone attending more shows this week. Please don't lean forward and hold out your phone or tablet during a runway show in a way that blocks the views of those next to you or behind you.  I saw some really tough situations yesterday. The second is stay in your seat during a show. Don't get up and leave or cross the runway. Lastly keep your voices low.  One show there were several laughing and chatting loudly a few rows back. It's disrespectful to the designers and distracting for the other guests. Want to socialize, just go out to the lobby. Enough said.

Image by Ed Ng Photography

I picked three designers to showcase in today's column that give a hint to the wide range of aesthetics we saw on the runway this day. As well, all Vancouver designers are featured in a separate BUY LOCAL column which I will add to each day.  Today's BUY LOCAL additions are Encima, Mahari Collection and Blushing Boutique Designs. You can check out this column HERE

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Images by Harry Leonard Imagery

If I read Quebec designer Katherine Tessier bio correctly, this is her fourth collection. It is also her second appearance on the runway at VFW. The designer is a graduate of Parsons The New School of Design in New York and has interned at Zimba Collections.She launched her first in October 2014 and had her designs featured in Vogue UK, Glamour UK, the Newspaper of Quebec, Le courrier de Portneuf, MAG2000, Quebec Scope Magazine and Elle Quebec.

Image by Harry Leonard Imagery

This was a clean, tight collection of garments designed to work together to create a wardrobe of looks. The palette was created with three soft colours - white, pastel pink and light grey.  Most pieces were monochrome so that they could be combined in endless ways.  While this doesn't always pop on the runway, it's a gift in the closet.  I loved the fact Tessier chose to end the show with a great closing piece - a coat featuring all three colours in a polka dot fabric. It was a great exclamation point to close her wonderful show on.

Images by Ed Ng Photography

KEEM is a new Irish eco-luxury fashion brand created by designer Denise Thomas. The label is inspired by Keem, Achill Island, a place that offers awesome seascapes and emotional landscapes. Garments are created in natural fibres, certified organic cotton and 100% faux fur ethical luxury and are infused with a rural state of mind – meandering freedom, human discovery and universal perspective. Classic contemporary separates and outerwear are designed for urban living and can be worn regardless of season, trend or gender traditions.

Images by Ed Ng Photography

What I loved about this line is the easy wear aspect. The men's wear was super casual. The women's wear took it up a notch. Still very easy wear, but a little more stylish overall. I could see myself wearing many of these pieces in both daily life, at meetings and while travelling.

Illusions Lab (clothing) X Jennifer Reeves Designs (jewellery)
This collaborative offerings was one of my favourite shows yesterday.  The designer Jeanne Mesecha's garments were unique, one-of-a kind wearable art pieces created through a process of ecological felting. They were created without seams to smoothly contour the body.  These were paired with beautiful jewellery featuring natural gemstones from Australia, Brazil, India, USA, China, Russia, Switzerland and other exotic places - all created by Salt Lake city designer Jennifer Reeves. It was a match made in heaven.

Images by Harry Leonard Imagery

Illusions Lab - Jeanne Mesecha VFW bio

It’s hard to believe that before art has turned into Jeanne’s profession and then into a lifestyle, she had 15 years career as a financial analyst. For all these years while art was her passion and hobby, Jeanne has been practicing many forms of art as painting and stain glasses.

Learning and exploring the felting techniques for last several years gave Jeanne an idea of implementing art approaches in apparel and accessories line. The concept of creating luxury wearable art collections is rooted in the idea that everything we wear can be unique as our personality. The idea that fashion reflects our individuality as a foundation and essential element of dedication to the art of everyday life, lies behind a creation of Illusions Lab brand.

Designer: Jennifer Reeves VFW bio

Jennifer Reeves is a Salt Lake City based gemstone jewelry designer who is brilliant at blending exquisite stones in bold hues with superbly crafted designs. Jennifer’s first artistic love of flower design came to fruition in her native country of Australia where she gained inspiration by collecting organic creations from the earth and arranging natural elements in order to transcend her original aesthetic.

Boulder Opals, known as Australia’s national gemstones are featured prominently in her collection. Along with freshwater pearls, crystals and other rare gemstones hand selected from around the world. The ‘Artistry Meets Sophistication’ collection captures Jennifer’s passion for creating, embodies her love of life manifested through her journey, career and transcends into an exquisite jewelry collection.

Image by Harry Leonard Imagery

Vancouver Fashion Week F/W 17 - Monday Night Opening Gala

Guest Article by Randi Winter, Passionate Travel (& so much more - see bio below)

Vancouver Fashion Week, Canada’s largest fashion event in Canada, and second largest in North America, has settled in nicely at the Chinese Cultural Centre, and the 15th year started out with a proclamation from Vancouver City Hall declaring this Vancouver Fashion Week.

The Gala evening gave us tantalizing hints of what is in store for the rest of the jam packed week, and the week looks good including local crowd favorites Alex S Yu and Sunny’s Bridal. Visiting crowd pleasers returning include Gatsbylady London and Zuhal Kuvan-Mill’s Green Embassy, who wowed the runway with our own Nova Stevens epitomizing The Empty Ocean Series theme in a skirt made of recycled fishing nets and an alpaca bustier representing the coral. Special thanks to Nova who took time out of her busy schedule before heading off to Toronto to compete as a top 12 finalist in Canada’s Top Supermodel! Good luck Nova! Vancouver is rooting for you all the way!

Image by Harry Leonard Imagery

Of particular note, on my “who to watch”, was definitely the Japanese collection of Wasso Vege. His brilliant hued kimonos were both traditional and modern at the same time! His show closing collection on Tuesday will be a sure show stopper. I do not think that anyone expected Sasaki Vege (yes the name does stand for what you think… his father was one of the founding members of the Macrobiotic movement) to appear as the dignified businessman and athlete that he clearly is.

Images by Ed Ng Photography

I love how his description of the collection explains when you put on a piece of Japanese traditional clothing, the main constituent is not a person who wears it. A person is only tool for expressing clothes. The protagonist is absolutely the design and motif of the clothes, and the most important thing is the linear designs of clothes themselves. the person who wears Japanese traditional clothing, must adjust themselves to the line of clothing from the moment they put it on. The body of woman is tied or tightened with many kinds of bands and strings and fabrics. Sometimes you put padding between the clothing and the body as well. In other words, we sew the human body line into the kimono itself. This series of work is called “Kitsuke” Most of these concepts are very different from Western design and function. For this “LIPS on a SPIRAL” collection, WASSO VEGE’S utilizes the line and motif of traditional Japanese WASO, that can be worn in the same sense as western clothes for the western woman, while providing liberation from Kitsuke, a high degree of comfort, and ease of movement for Japanese woman.

Images by Ed Ng Photography

Atelier Valeria Costa was tonight’s only full show, and I do mean FULL SHOW! Valeria’s Costa had such a broad range of styles, fabrics and literally took you from beach to boardroom, to Belle of the Ball with a double dose of Brazilian Mardi Gras for good measure. Her leathers looked as soft as butter, and were worked into many beautiful daytime to daytime styles and textures. The bathing suits were bright and playful and the evening gowns were so varied, from embroidered, brocades, lurex, velvet, beaded, spangled and dangled! The two Mardi Gras costumes were any samba dancer’s dream. There literally was something for every woman in her collection and her post runway models were in high demand for photos. Congratulations to Valeria on her first show at VFW!

Images by Ed Ng Photography

In some ways, I have saved what was the best surprise of the night for last, even though it went first and that was the student presentation from the now combined schools of LaSalle College Vancouver and the newly acquired Art Institute. The student’s presentations were the most sophisticated, polished, cohesive, wearable and retail ready of any show that I have seen-albeit that I do not have the decade long experience of Marilyn! The lines were sleek, the silhouettes varied, the atelier collections stunning and special kudos to the accompanying video that kept your eyes wandering from the runway to the screen, eager to see what was going to come next. In fact the only disappointment was that the entire collection did not come out at the end for the accolades that were well deserved! (Individual student bios, the school's press release and runway images can be found HERE!)

To all the student designers and first timers, I want to share a second piece that was written by Kate Miles of Kate’s Couture. She was the youngest designer to ever show at VFW, never mind it was haute couture, and in the fall, she is starting at FIT in New York, and has already interned with Nicole Miller and will be having two internships in London this summer with a bridal designer and Jose’ Hendo! Please also check it out here on the Vancouver Fashion Week blog.

Vancouver Fashion Week: Designer Kate Miles -The Door that Changed My Life
Kate Miles Message to New Grads and her Journey since Vancouver Fashion Week F/W15

There were also lots of upcoming designers in the audience and the house was full with standing room only. I am excited to see Sacha Cooper from Luxembourg present his Cooper Hotcooture collection!

Jose Hendo is returning for her second time to Vancouver Fashion Week and her own outfit made you hungry for more. This eco fashion designer had a show stopping debut, with her felting techniques and her techniques for creating fabric out of tree bark. Don’t miss her show Saturday night.

Image by Silvester Law

Vancouver Fashion Week is lucky to have recently returned Mrs BC and Mrs Canada Globe finalist, Tetyana Golota, walking the runway Saturday night for GatsbyLady. This was her inspiration to pursue modelling and participating in pageants as well as her own fashion design. She will also be walking for Jose’ Hendo on Saturday and for Green Embassy on Sunday!

It is always so much fun to reconnect with so many friends between shows on the runway. Special shoutout to all the people adorned in Carolyn Bruce Designs and I am always runway ready in K-O.Me and Spectacles that are spectacular by Sarah Moshurchak of Eyeland Framemakers. I also want to pay homage to my mother and sister in law who were devoted fashionistas in their own right, and whose cherished possessions are now in my safekeeping and worn with pride.

It is a privilege to share my thoughts on tonight with all of you on Olio by Marilyn. For twenty seasons, Marilyn has been the godmother of Vancouver Fashion Week and after this week, she is retiring! It seems impossible and unfathomable to anyone who has ever been involved in Vancouver Fashion Week whether it is as an organizer, staff, designer, model, , media, visiting dignitary-she is always there behind the scenes giving encouragement, seeking out new designers and honouring every student and local designer with coverage and connections (plus cookies). I too, owe my front row seat to Marilyn

If you cannot make it down, did you know that VFW is livestreamed every night?

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Randi Winter is a New Yorker by birth who promised her mother she would never lose her NY pizazz. She is a Virtuoso Specialist in and Journalist of Inspired Pursuits (shopping should always be inspiring). Her website is She is an active community supporter and mentor for local and global philanthropic and non profits including leadership and facilitator positions at BC Association of Travel Writers, CHW, University Women's Club TRAVEL!, Team Helping Diabetes, The Besa Project, International Perfume Foundation, Four Pillars Project. She is always pleased to be mistaken for Marilyn. Contact: FB Randi Lee Winter and Passionate Travel, twitter @randiwinter @passionatetrvl Pinterest passionatetrvl

Vancouver Fashion Week F/W 2017 - Lasalle College Vancouver Alumni Show

Image by Harry Leonard Imagery

To celebrate The Art Institute of Vancouver joining the LCI Education network, Lasalle College Vancouver chose to offer a very special alumni show for the Fall/Winter 2017 season.  Featured were seven outstanding graduates who have become strong designers with their own labels chosen from both campuses - their downtown Yaletown location and their new Renfrew location.

 To make this show one to remember, Lasalle College again brought in an amazing team - renowned stylist and fashion show producer Tracey Pincott, international video/photographer Trevor Brady and the stunning Lizbell Agency models.  The audience sat up in their seats from first look to final offering. Well done!

Below you will find the designers Vancouver Fashion Week bios along with runway images and at the very bottom, information on Lasalle College Vancouver, The Art Institute of Vancouver and the LCI Education Network. Enjoy!

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Adam-Lin Bungag

Philippine born Adam-Lin Bungag is the founder of A D A M, beginning in 2014 he marked his career with his first collection C O M P O S I T I O N shown at Vancouver Fashion Week and Vancouver Emerging Designer show.

Adam-Lin’s designs focus on the enigmatic qualities of the psychology and the physicality of society. With A D A M’s recent collection, R E C L U S E, Adam-Lin wants the audience to experience his collection the same way he created it, in isolation. The collection took its inspiration from his feelings of separation in his personal life and the reflective of his relationships with others.

Laura Torrella

Laura’s passion for colours and shapes is influenced by her upbringing in Cuba. After studying Fine Arts in her home country she moved to Canada and discovered fashion as a form of art. She loves to play with the endless possibilities of fashion design, texture being one of her favourites. As a sculptor enthusiast Laura manipulates fabric as if it was clay and her work shows it. Laura, also a LaSalle College Fashion Design graduate, has been able to perfection her style by successfully combining her background and the new life as a Canadian. Her inspirations come from “city in nature”..hint: Vancouver…and a chaotic stability between opposites, or as she likes calling her latest work “Clean & Messy”. She mixes textures of handmade frayed layers with clean cut structured silhouettes. It is the perfect balance.

Britt Wacher

Brittany Wacher is a Montreal based designer who studied at LaSalle College in Vancouver, BC. Following graduation she worked as a stylist in Thailand before relocating to Arnhem where she worked with Dutch designer Pauline Van Dongen. It was under Van Dongen’s tuleage that Brittany began to refine her approach to garment construction and the practice of conceptual exploration. Wacher’s pieces are reflections of experiencing life through fantasy and simultaneously, the core conflicts of the physical world. Integral to her vision is the concept of duality and the passage of energy through time and space. This energy, represented by moods and feelings is transformed into shapes, colour blocking and use of lines in textile. Habitual examination of information collected consciously and subconsciously, creates a strong dialogue between simplicity and chaos. Thus, producing a display of shapely, complex, unconventionally tailored garments.

Brittany Wacher’s label Brit Wacher, has been viewed at Toronto Fashion Week, Montreal Fashion Week, Saturday Night Live, and featured in Vogue Italia, Glow Magazine, Clin d’oeil Magazine, Flare Magazine, FASHION Magazine, Brooklyn Magazine. Brittany collaborates with other designers, artists, and musicians in creating multi-disciplinary projects which allude to the overall concept of creation and contribution to creative community.

Bahareh Memarian

Bahareh Memarian studied architecture at the Eastern Mediterranean University in Cyprus and got her Building Engineering Certificate from BCIT. Realizing it was not the right career path for her, Bahareh decided to do what she had always loved – fashion design. She received her Fashion Design Diploma at The Art Institute of Vancouver, achieving President’s Honour Roll, the Best of Portfolio Show Award and the Most Outstanding collection Award at the Atelier 2016 Fashion Show.

Upon graduation, her collection got featured on the New York Fashion Week runway in February 2016. She designs edgy, elegant and flattering yet comfortable, functional and one of a kind pieces. The love she has for animals is a huge part of the inspiration behind her designs. Animals can and do feel and understand everything just as intensely as a human being does and making them suffer for any reason including creating textiles is definitely not ethical. She believes there is no beauty in what that has been achieved if it has caused another pain and misery.

Her focus is to create luxurious collections using stunning, high quality 100% cruelty-free, manmade materials including faux fur products, expanding the depth of beauty of this world, rather than taking away from it.

Jamaree Eiammanassakul “Rily”

Jamaree Eiammanassakul was born and raised in Thailand. She has been passionate to be a designer since she was young. Rily earned a bachelor’s degree in Interior Architecture from School of Architecture and Design, Soa+D, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (International Program), Thailand. After working for a while, she decided to pursue her dream. She enrolled in The Art Institute of Vancouver and earned a diploma in Fashion Design in 2014. The design schools, she had attended trained her to be a hard worker, as well as a team player. Rily loves creating minimal designs with rich details and hidden concepts.

Esther Ashu

Esther is a Vancouver based Fashion designer, born in Nigeria and raised in Ireland. Esther has always been fascinated by the ability of certain colors and items of clothing to change moods or express emotions. Enjoy experimenting with styles to create my own unique look, her work tends to focus on the body figure and fashion as a type of performance. In this collection, Paris Bound, the focus was to create luxurious red carpet evening wear using stunning, high-quality fabrics such as sequin lace, beads, lace and silk organza – that perfect couture dress that royalty would wear in the city of lights.

Esther also designed evening wear for fundraisers held by the Royal Thai Consul-General of Vancouver as well as for the Little Black Dress Gala. Her recent collections mostly focus on creating luxurious Red carpet evening wear collections using stunning, high-quality Fabrics such as sequin lace, beaded lace, and silk organza.

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About LaSalle College Vancouver (

Established in 1998, LaSalle College Vancouver (LCV) is a boutique design school is accredited by the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education of British Columbia. Offering diploma programs in Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising, Interior Design, Jewellery Design, Graphic Design, Professional Photography and 2D/3D Animation as well as a certificate in Artistic Makeup, LCV has doubled its student population since it inaugurated its new campus in Yaletown in 2014. LCV also offers e-learning programs in Fashion Marketing, Administrative Assistant, Video Game 3D Modeling, Interior Design, Graphic Design – Branding and Event Planning and Management.

About The Art Institute of Vancouver (

The Art Institute of Vancouver (AIV) is an award winning higher education provider offering an array of exciting applied arts programs in diverse fields such as VFX for Film and Television, Video Game Programming, Digital Film & Video, Game Art & Design, Graphic Design, Interior Design, Fashion, Culinary Arts and just to name a few. Located in an 80,000 square feet building in beautiful Vancouver, AIV delivers programs with credentials ranging from Bachelor Degrees, Diploma’s and Certificates and has been consistently named one of the top 10 undergraduate schools for video game design by the Princeton Review. AIV is also a member of the LCI Education network.

About the LCI Education network (

LCI Education traces its origins back to LaSalle College in Montreal, which was founded in 1959. Present today on 5 continents, the LCI Education network consists of 22 select higher education institutions, and some 1,500 employees offering instruction to over 12,000 students throughout the world each year. LCI Education is also known as a leader in online training in Canada. LCI Education encourages program harmonization across the various countries in order to ensure greater flexibility, better control over the quality of its services and respect for cultural diversity.