Saturday, September 24, 2016

Vancouver Fashion Week S/S 17 Friday Shows - Seafolly Australia, Lee Atelier, Salomé Barragán and IAROCHESKI

Runway images by Ed Ng Photography

Love this image courtesy of Rosanne Braniski.
Not only does it include some of my great friends,
it offers a look at how diverse style truly is.
Day five of Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW) found many of us slowing down and getting a little fuzz-brained.

I am not sure those attend just a few shows, watch for pleasure only, read daily media reviews or enjoy the thousands of images - runway and candid - really understand the sheer hard work and long days that go into this week.

For the event itself, hundreds of volunteers are involved.  They arrive early in the day and stay far enough past the last show to get everything ready for the next day. Then some of the staff and volunteers also support the after parties for another few hours.

Many media and photographers, including myself, sit through all shows. That can be up to 15 shows in one day. I just counted and I been in my seat to watch 55 runway shows (students shows featured multiple designers) and there are still two days to go. The photographers have to stay up into the wee hours trying to get at least 5-7 images in the media bucket for each show. Without their hard work, I couldn't do what I do.

As media, I am up between 6 and 7 a.m. to write my article, add in the images/photog credits, make it live by noon and share links across all SEO platforms. Then I have just a short time to clear my head, have a bite to eat, figure out what to wear, put on my make-up and head out the door to do it all again. The difficult rush hour traffic this week has meant I have to leave home 1-1/2 hours before the first show to be in my seat on time. A very day.

Why do we all do it?  The inspiring fashion designers - local, national and international - who come to share their vision on the runway. Each and every season, I meet at least one new designer with a great story that inspires me and see a other collections that challenge my views on fashion. Then there are hints offered of what may emerge as new trends. I am honoured to give press to these talented artists and go on to follow the careers of many. And I love the increasing number of student shows featured. These new designers are the future of fashion.

I have said it many times. Fashion is art for me. It's not about what the media says I should be wearing, it's about connecting with designers from around the world to see what I am drawn to - what makes me feel special when I wear it. Katherine Soucie of Sans Soucie once asked me what relationship I wanted with my clothes. It took me six months to figure out, but my most cherished pieces have a history to them.

Occasionally I have the honour of purchasing a unique piece for my wardrobe from one of the artists I admire. The designer's story is usually a part of the reason I am drawn to the garment and it's their story that surrounds me when I wear it proudly.  Love a show you've seen this season? Try to support that designer by putting one of their garments in your closet.

Now on to today's coverage. And my look today featured a long top with a criss cross neck and black/grey colour blocked skinny pants by JAC. These were paired with a pull tab and crochet handbag from Escama Studio (you really need to check out the amazing variety of designs and colours they have) and a pair of cool shoes with spinal heels by Hades Footwear.

As always, this is only a very small representation of the shows featured on Friday. Please take a moment and check out all the collections shown on the runway.

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Seafolly Australia

I almost never feature swimwear in my column.  It's very hard to create an interesting show and have enough diversity to keep it interesting. Well, Seafolly Australia is obviously an exception as here we are.  This Australian swimwear/coverup label has grown to be not only the centre of beachwear in Australia, but has a huge presence in international swimwear boutique and major fashion department store. I love this excerpt from their bio, "Seafolly’s fashion designers, staff members, friends and family spend countless hours enjoying life in our own products. We are our own best customers and our toughest critics. Innovative, fashionable, high quality swimwear, lifestyle apparel products and accessories are as important to us as they are to our customers."

What we saw on the runway was a great mix of fabrics, colours and swimsuit styles intermixed with a variety of beach wear and coverups.  Props included great bags and blow up pool toys.  Make-up was fresh and kudos on the hair team for catching the feel of "beach hair." Models were encourage to have fun - interacting with each other and the audience and playing it up for the photographers. A note of thanks to the organizers - loved the fabulous cookie you handed out.  Well done all around.

Lee Atelier

U.S. based designer Angela Lee was born and raised in Toronto, then trained in New York City. But she has always felt a strong tie to her Asian roots and travels there often. These trips are where inspiration is found for her Lee Atelier label, but there are still elements of her western upbringing evident. It is a brand that spans two continents and Lee hopes to establish a loyal client base in each.

Black and white dominated the palette, allowing our focus to be on the silhouettes and construction. This collection was interesting.  Classic looks were taken apart and revisited in ways that challenged the audience's concept of how a pant, a shirt or a blouse should look. Fabrics and construction were excellent. Looks were strong and very architectural.  An interesting, thought producing show that I truly enjoyed.

Salomé Barragán

As  the first model took to the runway, I found myself intrigued. The textured multi-hue fabric in the long, simple jacket was paired with white pants and a white blouse that had tiny coloured flecks to echo the jacket. I will try to add a picture of the tomorrow. Colombia based designer Salome Barragán shares this in her bio, "My dream is to tell colourful stories through fashion... I am inspired by the beautiful forms of nature, in the incredible beautiful objects around us, in the vibrant colors of the Colombian landscape where natural and organic patterns development. in terms of technical interests me propose a novel and disquieting draping. resulting in a playful and elegant style."

What we saw were lots of separates in mostly soft, pastel hues. Fits were loose and comfortable and there was some combinations which offered contrasting fabrics or prints.  Definitely very wearable in our West Coast summers.


This is a Brazil based menswear label founded by Lui Iarocheski which has graced the runway in Vienna, Vancouver and Sao Paulo.  The pieces are all designed in house and offered in only a limited run to maintain quality with great attention paid to fit and finish.  From their bio, " Our focus is on quality and experimental design translated into pieces that you can build your wardrobe around. We are committed to producing products that are unique, made from quality materials, designed with great care and presented in simple and inspiring ways. This is a story sewn by honest hands speaking to a better way of living."

We last saw IAROCHESKI at VFW a year ago - write-up HERE! I for one am so glad the brand has returned. I love seeing menswear on the runway, especially when it brings something new and interesting to the table. Let's face it, in North America it's pretty staid. Iarocheski brings a fresh look to menswear that walks the perfect line between wearable and pushing the fashion envelope. There was also an intriguing fabric that caught my eye in the collection this year. It was seen in two looks including the last coat down the runway. The coat in this final look was my hands down favourite. Yes, I know it was designed for men, but I would wear it myself in a minute.  

Friday, September 23, 2016

Vancouver Fashion Week S/S 17 Thursday Shows - Casa Lefay, Clio Sage & Francesca Phipps

Runway Images by Ed Ng Photography

Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW) has grown exponentially over the last decade, having to move to ever larger venues as it expanded.  Now in it's 28th consecutive season, the Vancouver audience is being treated to over 100 runway shows featuring local, national and international designers. WOW! And I've been here for 19 of those seasons.  Each time, I see new artists who take my breath away.

I was personally excited to have Vancouver's very own Symone Says step back into the roll of emcee this evening. Tuesday and Wednesday just had a back stage announcer and the audience was much more laid back. Symone brought back the sizzle. From talking with various people in the audience to arranging a men's and then a women's runway walk off, you could feel everyone coming alive and most stayed right through the last show of the evening.

My outfit today showcased four people very dear to me.  The beautiful short kimono jacket is by Patricia Fieldwalker, the reversible pink/grey handbag is by Geir Ness of Laila: The Essence of Norway. Geir created this great bag for one of his Nordstrom events and sold it filled with Laila product. The beautiful mixed metal and gemstone handcrafted earrings are by Pam Jackson of Street Cat Designs. Last but not least, my white blouse and deep Turquoise slacks are by JAC by JC.

Now onto today's shows. The ten designers came from a wide range of international destinations - Mexico, Columbia, Congo/Paris, US, UK and the Philippines - making it very hard to pick just a couple to cover. I want to repeat, there are many incredible designers each day with a wide range of aesthetics. Not a single person in the audience would agree on which should be covered, so be sure and take a moment to check out the other great collections.

Camila X Castillo
Before I begin my coverage, I want to give a shout out to designer Camila X Castillo. While she is not featured below, there was one skirt in her collection I felt compelled to acknowledge - in photos above. The craftsmanship is superb. Created from strips, the skirt moved beautifully and the pattern reminded me of Tahitian skirts used when performing with Poi Balls. There were a couple garments using this technique in her collection, but this was piece was just outstanding.

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Casa Lefay

Casa Lefay is a new label just launched in March 2016 by designer Maria Jose Marroquin. This first collection is very appropriately called Journey from the Tropics.  From her bio - "[Cafe Lefay is] a sustainable collection inspired by the Colombian Caribbean...We want to awaken the adventurous character and mystical bent that inspire the rediscovery of the world through travel and connection with nature." Looks were created in organic Pima cotton with all patterns and prints hand reproductions of watercolor artworks using water based inks. Eco fashion from start to finish.

I was a fan of this show from the opening notes.  A great tropical backdrop, fabulous ethnic music, interesting make-up and phenomenal hair were just the start.  The show was split into four sections. Each featured four unique looks created in a single print. What is difficult to see in these images is the incredible detailing used to create each look - intricate pleats, tucks and seaming were the tools to sculpt the wonderful fit of each garments.  It's only when you get up close that one can really appreciate the expert tailoring and craftsmanship.  Fabulous show from every angle. I hope to see them next season.

Clio Sage

I love being surprised and this show by Brooklyn based Clio Sage did just that. I sat up in my seat and leaned forward often to get a better look.  It was art on the runway and there were a couple pieces I would have loved to snag for myself.  Titled Tesselations, this series debuted in Spring 2016. It has since grown as she added collaborative work created with abstract expressionist painter Addis Goldman. The designer would like to continue to expand it by collaborating with other artists in both traditional arts and new digital mediums. 

It was no surprise to discover Sage's educational background is in architecture.  She has taken her love for 3D shapes and found a way to apply it to creating her apparel line.  Wood, Plexiglass, plastic and cork are laser cut into shapes and then are assembled by hand into one of a kind, unisex garments. Why do I sit through all shows at VFW? Collections like this one are one reason. It was inspiring. I can only hope Clio Sage will come return to Vancouver soon.

Francesca Phipps

Only 22 years of age, UK designer Francesca Phipps has already made her mark. She has received the FDC Young Designer award and her strong design work earned her a spot on the runway at New York Fashion Week. Now working in a boutique in London selling evening gowns and couture pieces, this graduate of De Montfort University loves to push boundaries. From her bio, " I always try to find new innovative silhouettes with a mixture of tailoring and drape. Drapery is a very strong skill for me, something I am always pushing. I am also constantly exploring the experimental use of colour and alternative construction of materials and fabrications."

This show challenged me. I felt an illusive thread underneath that I couldn't quite grab onto. I love getting that feeling. For me fashion is about art and even deeper, about the artist behind the garments we see.  When I feel that pull, that's special. And it usually means I won't sort out that feeling until I sit and do a full interview with the designer. I will be keeping on eye on Phipps. 

Vancouver Fashion Week S/S 17 - LaSalle College Vancouver

Runway photos by Harry Leonard Imagery

One show I look forward to every season is the LaSalle College Vancouver's (LCV) student showcase. The number of students and the focus changes each season. Usually they are Vancouver students, but one season the school even brought in collections from LC institutions around the world.

For this runway show, five of LCV's student designers hailing from Canada, Ghana and China were challenged to find inspiration from various different elements and forms in daily life such as withered flowers and architecture. Fabric choices ranged from handmade crochet and lace, chiffon, psychedelic art print on double knit, luxurious sequin, dupioni silk to metallic vinyl and no two collections were the same.

From the press release - "Acclaimed Vancouver fashion stylist Tracey Pincott is serving as Artistic Director, working closely with the student designers. Lizbell Agency models will help the students showcase their designs on the catwalk and Nimbus School of Recording Arts will produce the mixing of the music for the show with their engineering class.

Kudos to all involved on another great show this season!

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Zory Sun | China

COLLECTION INSPIRATION This collection is inspired by Psychedelic Art. This collection incorporates a lot of prints to depict the inner world of the psyche. You can also see this collection as a visual display of mind manifesting in Fashion.

SHORT BIO Zory studied visual arts and sculpture in China prior to pursuing her fashion design dream. Combining the skills and knowledge she learned from both sculpture and fashion, Zory creates garments with unique shapes and structure.

Hannah Vanderveen | Canada

COLLECTION INSPIRATION This collection is inspired by a warm summer evening at the lake; the colours of the sunset dancing over the gentle waves and ripples of the water.

SHORT BIO Hannah recently moved to Vancouver to pursue her interest in fashion design at LaSalle College. Originally from Manitoba, she has lived the past number of years in Calgary where she taught high school math and science. Her recent career change is the result of her love of adventure, her need to be challenged, and a love of learning.

Erica NanaAma Fouillard | Ghana

COLLECTION INSPIRATION “Soft Power” was inspired by sun beams creating silhouettes that combine both warm and soft elements. The fabrics mimic the strong and forceful nature of the sun.

SHORT BIO After graduating from university with a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration (Marketing), Erica worked in the fashion and hospitality industry in Ghana. She came to Vancouver in 2015 to pursue her passion in fashion design at LaSalle College Vancouver

Mona Zhao | China

COLLECTION INSPIRATION This collection is a play on two contrary inspirations; the beauty of imperfection and the idea that sometimes things are perfect the way they are. All flowers on the garments are handmade and sewn on somewhat unfinished. This creates a contrast against the elegant fabrics and fitted silhouettes.

SHORT BIO Mona studied fine arts in China before arriving at LaSalle College Vancouver to study fashion design. She would like to use her experiences in life as her muse to create garments as she enters the industry.

Zi Xia “Zee” | China

COLLECTION INSPIRATION This collection is inspired by the clean lines found in Zen architecture and the silhouettes from the Tibetan Buddhist robe “Kasaya”. The garments are designed to evoke calmness with a hint of modern class. Various materials are used to mirror Zen architecture and minimalism including cork, layers of translucent vinyl and metallic fabrics.

SHORT BIO Before beginning her journey in fashion design, she studied at UOIT in Social Policy. While in Toronto, she performed frequently as a singer in the Chinese Community, as well as taking part in a collaborative album “My Ears Only Hear Fine Sounds.” In China, Zee also runs a business selling Buddhist fine art, boutique fashion and home furnishings.

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About LaSalle College Vancouver (

Established in 1998, LaSalle College Vancouver (LCV) is a boutique design school accredited by BC’s Private Career Training Institutions Agency (PCTIA) and meets the provincial British Columbian Education Quality Assurance (EQA). 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.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Vancouver Fashion Week S/S 17 Wednesday - LillzKillz, Macdie, Maya Rene, ShaniceEmily

Runway Images by Ed Ng Photography

I ended up arriving at the Chinese Cultural Centre early today. No worries, I had lots of connecting and things to do before they opened the doors for Wednesday's shows at Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW). Changing from flats to proper heels was at the top of the list.

For some reason, what to wear took more time today.  Before the season starts, I try to look at my treasured pieces by designers and select a few to wear over the seven days. Anything I haven't had a chance to wear yet or something that hasn't been worn in awhile tops my list.

I had noticed a lovely royal blue tunic that had been patiently waiting for it's moment in the sun. Unfortunately, when I went to style it, I realized I just didn't have the right pieces to show it off properly. Even my husband gave me a thumbs down. So it went back into the closet for a future event.

I decided to embrace what was to be my Thursday inspiration - a wonderful Asian themed necklace, earrings, ring and satin purse by the uber talented Carolyn Bruce.  They were stand out, statement making pieces on their own, so a simple textured sheer black top and a textured knit pencil skirt offered the perfect canvas. Last but not least, I needed a pop of balance to the look so added some bright floral heels with gold studs.

Audience candids will be added as they become available.

The basic pieces I used as a foundation for this look are by Jac by JC and have been in my closet for several years. I cannot stress enough the importance of building a solid, versatile wardrobe from the ground up. First build the basics - pieces that mix and match in neutrals - then start adding those all important statement making pieces. This makes moments like yesterday come together easily and without panic.

There was a real diversity in today's shows - students, local designers and then those from out of the area. The last is covered here.  Shows by Vancouver area designers are covered in my BUY LOCAL column and Vancouver Community College's Fiat Mode XXIX grad fashion show is covered HERE! For out of the area shows I chose four designers to cover - LillzKillz, Macdie, Maya Rene and ShaniceEmily.

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After a decade covering fashion and with it -  a climb in my age and what I can wear - I have to stop every once and awhile and reconnect with the young talent coming up. The best part about fashion is the utter diversity in styles and aesthetics. It's so important to continue to support those with unique voices. LillzKillz was one of those shows for me.  While I don't see myself wearing these pieces, I want to give a nod to the designer for her unique vision and young voice.  It is also interesting to note she is an Eco designer as well.
From her bio -  Lillea Goian "...brings a new light to reworked garments, by using thrifted and vintage piece’s to create never before seen ensembles. Lillea’s passion for personal style goes beyond what you see on the exterior, it represents Lillea’s strong feelings of acceptance of all people; however they choose to dress or be...Each one of Lillea’s outfits are one of a kind, Lillea’s designs evoke the feeling of mystery, and encourage critical thinking.

Macdie Moulin-Vézina is another offering a collection aimed at the younger generation. This 27 years old fashion designer from Quebec City. Started sewing at the age of only 14. She also loved the guitar and has found a way to mix of these two passions Add in studies at theFashion Design at Campus Notre Dame de Foy as well as interest tattoo art and photography and you get an idea of all the influences in her work. The collection created in black with lots of skin and clean lines. Add in lots of skin and a mixx of sheers, solids, camo and a bit of shine and you have a collection aimed at the 25-35 year old rock crowd.

Maya Renè

From her bio, "Maya Ramirez first knew she wanted to be a fashion designer in the third grade. Now seven years later, 15 year old Maya is making her mark on the fashion world. She is most known for winning the inaugural season of the hit TV show Project Runway Jr, and since then she has revived two spreads in Seventeen Magazine, as well as a full scholarship to FIDM." If you aren't impressed you should be. I did not looker up ahead of time so watched the show assuming she was much older. She held her own.

According to her notes, Maya's collection was inspired by Greek and Roman architecture as well as the Victorian ages. But she changed it up by introducing modern silhouettes and chrome fabrics. The palette was a rage of neutrals, then the pop was added by a lovely mix of fabrics - sheers, solids, textured and mesh - as well as a mix of young silhouettes,

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The palette for the  ShaniceEmilye collection was very muted, but for good reason. Each garment on the runway had textural elements and design work that needed a simple foundation to shine. Some had what looked like braided sections or cutouts.  Others had strips of raw fabric appliqued on. Fabrics included leather, knit and sheers and woven.  This diversity in fabrics and textures were allowed to take centre stage by the designer keeping everything else, including silhouettes, simple.

From the VFW bio - "SE offers both creative bespoke garments, which are made for you, just they way you want and like, as well as offering the ‘MUST HAVES’ all garments endorse an individual creative streak but are incredibly wearable. ‘We focus on the wearer feeling confident and comfortable, whilst taking influence from nothing more than what surrounds us, our details and love for textiles are a main focus and the use of leather allows us to create visually stimulating garments.’"

Vancouver Fashion Week S/S 17 - Fiat Mode XXIX by Vancouver Community College

Runway Images by Peter Jensen Photography

On Wednesday, the first show of the evening was Fiat Mode XXIX - Vancouver Community College's (VCC) annual grad fashion show.  This show holds a very special place in my heart as in 2007 when I began working with a partner on a new magazine, VCC was the first student show I attended. That was in September 2007, nine years ago.

I love student shows. They give the audience a glimpse into what the future of fashion will be. This young talent offers fresh ideas and new takes on classic.  For Fiat Mode XXIX, nine students showcased the culmination of their two years of hard work.  Each was allowed to explore the depths of their creativity one last time before heading out into the more structured fashion world and they all dug deep.

Before the shows began, announcers shared the list of student who won awards, but I didn't have my notebook out.  Still waiting to receive the list of names so I can credit them here, so check back.

Then the runway show began. It was an impressive show. Strong design work, great construction and a wide range of creative styles kept the audience on the edge of their seats.  We were treated to little of everything from casual to evening to avant-garde - a great mix.

You will find more information on the VCC fashion programs and why the school chose to showcase their students at Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW) below. First, though, I want to offer the runway images from each show as well as a soundbite offered by each student on what their collection is all about.

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Polina Shatunova - Balaclava

Street Style
Hip Hop
Brain Washed Generation
Spoilt Teenagers/Rebel
Stand out/Visible/Loud
Bright/ Fall Winter
Walking Art
Pinch in the Eyes/Lost

Every designer’s collection is a part of who they really are. I feel that I am a mix of weirdness and fun. These two elements make my collection what it is. Breaking the rules, I decided to create a loud, bright coloured collection for Fall/Winter 2017. I wanted to break the norms and wanted to add some life to the season. The inspiration for this collection comes from TV, glitches, disturbance, hip hop and street style. This collection is for the young, brainwashed generation who are spoilt and rebels. They want to stand out, walk around wearing oversized pieces of art. I want when people see my collection for it to pinch their eyes.

Sarah Lacroix - La Croix

This Autumn/Winter 2017 collection is an analysis of the garment industry majority. Several key concepts are presented and examined here, including the nature, ethics, and utility of overseas garment manufacture and the social, environmental, and economic consequences of so-called fast fashion.

The collection itself was made at a time when I sought to learn more about the inner-workings of the garment industry. This subject is, in many ways, taken for granted by those that consume it. Nonetheless, there is a significant amount of literature on the subject—documentaries, articles, etc.—which puts at the forefront the (often gross) conditions of production in the jour modern. We trade the lives of others for convenience and monetary gain.

As an aspiring designer, I take myself to be directly affected by—and directly implicated in—this hidden world. As such, I understand it to be my moral responsibility to do what I can to use my own art and ability as a symbol to promote awareness, and thus responsibility, with respect to the practices in modern western society. However, this is not simply a personal goal or a mute statement. Rather, it is a categorical imperative: It is the responsibility of all designers to hold one another accountable for their actions.

The collection also presents examples of contemporary design in its silhouettes and textiles. Black neoprene fabric is used to construct elegant shapes and is contrasted with white quilted textiles and indigo denim. Traditional weaving techniques have been incorporated into the collection with red and black neoprene yarn. The collection also displays a heavy use of surface design—intended to imitate rug hooking—with buffalo wool, lamb’s wool, and neoprene yarn in black, red, and white. These elements contrast aspects of traditional garment design, work wear textiles, and new age clothing production, the synthesis of tech fabrics such as neoprene and stretch quilting, as well as new substances entering the market such as neoprene yarn. This serves to illustrate the contrast between elements of traditional garment design with contemporary clothing production.

Ji Ji - 

No information provided.

Cynthia Wei

My collection tells a story of different generations; the garments also transitions from a mysterious, dreamy look to more modern. The colour pallets are inspired by the foggy forest, they are creamy white, different shades of lavender; grey and black. I used velvet and organza to achieve the luxurious and feminine look. I also used wool, melton and felt to add interesting shapes and colour to the pieces. Most of my pieces are asymmetric and has a lot of curves in them. There are some forest, wolves, human face and lake motifs in my collection. These motifs are created by appliqué and cut out techniques.

Megan Beveridge

Reflect on what you have and the life that it has lived
Appreciate the flaws and what it has become
Preserve the stories it has to tell
Revitalize the old to create something new
Progress into a new stage of life

By achieving a hand done aesthetic through utilizing vintage and recycled materials in combination to hand embroidery and natural dyeing, peoples focus is brought back to the process of creating with a conscious attitude towards the final products they are consuming. By developing this personal connection and story, these are the garments that will stand the test of time in this ever changing industry.

Maria Melnikova- Masha Miller

My collection explores the relationship between a woman and her clothing; evoking feelings of sexuality and confidence in your everyday woman. Designing garments with a simple, minimalistic aesthetic and neutral color palette, gives versatility to a women’s closet. I use fine fabrics to create comfortable, affordable, luxury feeling clothing so a woman can go day to night in her favorite dress. Inspired by modern ballet dancers and the flow of their outfits I added a mix of fitted and flowing silhouettes which make every shape of woman feel confident in their daily life.

Kayla Hanvold

This collection explores perspective, focusing on an idea of bringing confidence and acceptance in ourselves by seeing parts of us that are unconventionally beautiful, as beautiful. My influences come from physical imperfections of the skin caused by skin conditions or an event that left a physical mark on the surface of the skin. Imperfections are intimate autobiographies; each spot, scar or mark has its own story, a place in time and location. They are maps of landscapes in which we have lived. They are physical memories etched into us carrying an emotional echo.

The collection combines exquisite surface design elements with ebony, pale pinks, and nude colours to give perspective to diversity in modern beauty. Comfortable fabrics and modern silhouettes give the garments a next to skin fell giving the collection complacency.

Dorcas Markwei- “Unapartheid”

The “Unapartheid” collection finds its roots in the unsettling rise in racism in America, and my desire to quell it. Taking a look into America’s past, to the times of the Civil Rights Movements in the 60’s, I focused on two of the most prominent efforts made by anti-racial activists: The ‘Freedom Riders’ and the ‘March at Selma’. Both these movements are the heart and inspiration of this collection, showing a joint effort of both blacks and whites to sand together against racism.

“Unapartheid” represents the unity between both races in its use of colour and print: the colour being similar to that of Caucasian skin tones, and the African print details representing the African-American community. The tailored silhouette of the collection has been made similar to those of prominent activists in the focused movements, as homage to their efforts. All these features embody the need for unity between both races against racism.

Ekta Sheoran- Rajputana 

Rajputana is a couture collection inspired by Rajput forts and palaces (India) and renaissance era. The embroidery and hand beading is all inspired by the artwork found in these forts and palaces. All the pieces are hand sewn, which makes them exclusive and expensive.

The embroidery for this collection is self-designed and made in India. This very unique Paper Mache embroidery is done only in the North part of India.

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For more information on the fashion programs at VCC go to
To connect with one of these designers go to

For nearly 30 years, the VCC fashion program remains one of the best in B.C. The newly launched Fashion Design & Production Diploma mimics the real-world fashion industry. Students will experience a fast paced production process while learning fundamental skills. The self-directed garment project gives the opportunity to hone in on their craft and personal sartorial interests.

The Fashion Design & Production Certificate is the only part-time fashion design program in Canada. The emphasis is on technical skills, creativity, and a fast paced production process. The Fashion Merchandising Associate Certificate is a one year program that prepares students for the business of fashion through hands-on experience and knowledge of fashion fundamentals and theory. Non-credit courses are the place to test the fashion waters, upgrade, and develop the required elements for design school portfolios.

“Our program allows graduates to pursue entrepreneurship or a career in a small or large apparel company,” says Andrea Korens, Co-Program Coordinator, Fashion. “Showcasing their collections at an event like Vancouver Fashion Week gives them the exposure they need to source potential customers and employers.”

Interview with Barbara Warren, author of Everlasting Lies

Can you share a bit about your journey to becoming a writer/published author?

I became interested in my family’s genealogy in about 2000 and spent a lot of time being a detective, using the local Mormon research center and the scant information that, at that time, was available on the Internet.

In 2003 my husband and I went to London, England, to do genealogical research at various registries and records offices there. I was trying to fill in some of the blanks, particularly regarding my Grandfather Vernon who I knew as my mother’s father.

Much to my astonishment I discovered from his WW1 army records that my “grandfather” was out of the country when my mother was conceived! So who was my mother’s biological father? It certainly wasn’t who Mum or I thought he was!

In the ten years after I discovered the information about my “grandfather” I found my grandparents’ history and early life in England and India was constantly on my sub-conscious mind. A story began to form and the characters began shouting for me to write this story. So began the journey of writing my first novel! I started writing in November 2013 and finished in August 2014. After what seemed a long, long journey the book was published in March 2016.

This story was a work of fiction inspired by your grandparent's story. What parts of the story line are factual and where does your writer's voice take over the creative process?

The early part of Everlasting Lies, which describes how Edina and Charles met, is factual. He was a lodger in the house belonging to Edina’s parents, the Paxtons. The description of Edina's family is supported by English census records and registries of births, marriages and deaths. The birth and early life of Charles Vernon, however, was a problem to verify. I know, from talking to him when I was a child and a teenager, that he had a brother Abraham and a sister Lily but the details of his years before he married my grandmother are definitely the results of listening to my creative voice.
I was able to use information found in the English military records to describe Charles’s service in the Army in WW1, how he was sent to India as part of his convalescence from his many illnesses and the fact that he was loaned by the Army to an Indian coal-mining company. So those parts are accurate.

According to the 1901 census, William Charlton lived next door to Edina and they were at school together. Their teenage love affair is imagined, although strange as it may sound, there seemed to be spirits sitting on my shoulder as I was writing and were either agreeing with what I had written or leading me elsewhere!
Review HERE!

The family’s journey from England to India is based on the shipping records of the SS Mantua and her ports of call. I imagined all the events that happened on board. The one exception to this is the description of my mother’s birth on board the SS Mantua, which was written up in the ship’s log.

The family’s life in India is based on descriptions found in references to Indian history, although I created the day-to-day details.

One strength of this novel is that the characters and places come alive. What research did you need to do on the locations and what was like for people in that era to bring this sense of reality?

I did a huge amount of research on the locations in Everlasting Lies. I also used many of my own travel experiences to write about many events such as riding on elephants, their cross-continental train journey and their long ocean voyage. I am a huge fan of Janet Macleod Trotter who wrote books about Northern England and India, which, I know, influenced my writing.

How do you organize your time when working on a new book? Research? Working on Manuscript? Pre-marketing?

Everlasting Lies is my first book, which I started when I was 73! Once I decided to write the book the research and writing were intertwined. I worked every moment I had, and my first draft was over 110,000 words! There was no organization of time; I just worked. Part way through I decided I needed a content editor and was lucky enough to find Tanis Nessler.

Marketing never entered my head until I started looking for a publisher, so that part of the process occurred after publication.

As an author - what do you enjoy most about writing process? What feels like a chore?

After I decided to write the book it seemed as though I had a movie playing in my head and I just had to get the words I was hearing down ‘on paper’. It was a very exciting and rewarding experience….until I came to the third edit and then that was a chore!

What would you most like readers to know about you?
  • I find life enjoyable in many different ways. My husband and family are important and a joy to me.
  • Meeting and helping people that are less fortunate than me have given me many enjoyable times.
  • I enjoy all kinds of creativity. I was a drama major and have acted on stage and I love good conversation, which, I’m sure, helped me to write the dialogue in this novel. Other artistic outlets for me have been photography, drawing, painting, and designing both clothes and the interior of houses.
  • I believe that every experience I have is a building block for something that I might undertake in the future
  • I believe strongly in following my dreams be it travelling, helping others or writing a book.

Are there any new books in the works that we can look forward to?

I couldn't help laughing at this question. My readers, unknown and known, are asking for a sequel. They are asking me to take another leap into the world of creative writing. That’s very flattering and I appreciate their support. Certainly, I have been thinking about it but, at the moment, I am concentrating my time on marketing this first book.

However, winter in the tropics looms and I’d like something creative to occupy my time so………

Everlasting Lies by Barbara Warren

Everlasting Lies, a novel based on the author's story of her grandparents’ love affairs with each other and with others.

Synopsis - 

Edina Paxton is kissed at twelve, seduced at fourteen and married with child at fifteen. She immediately regrets her marriage to Charles Vernon and is relieved when he leaves to fight in the trenches during WW1. She soon finds love, comfort and sexual satisfaction with Bill, another soldier and the boy who first kissed her.

Charles is invalided out of the army and is sent to India on a hospital ship. There, he becomes a manager of a coalmine in Britain’s Indian Empire, with all the privileges that his position rewards, including sexual favours from female employees. At the end of his army service in 1920 he returns to England to collect his family and return to India, only to be greeted with the news that while he was away Edina was at play. She is pregnant.

Reluctantly, Edina and her three children sail for India with Charles and Edina gives birth to her fourth child while sailing south on the Red Sea. On reaching India Charles finds his Indian mistress is pregnant and Edina finds Charles’s Indian boss to be very attractive. It’s a mutual attraction. Neither Edina nor Charles is a saint.

Piecing together fragments of her grandmother’s remarkable and tragic story, Everlasting Lies is Barbara’s loving tale of the early life of Edina, her grandmother, and Charles, Edina's husband. They both experience the horrors of WW1 and, in hopes of renewing their marriage, start new lives as members of the upper class in Imperial India. ​

Review -

Everlasting Lies is a work of fiction inspired by the lives of the author's grandparents. It opens in England just before WW1 and ends with the family living in India.  It's a tale of love, sorrow and infidelity by both main characters - Charles and Edina - with a fair amount of amorous encounters along the way. I actually ended up being torn on how to review and rate this book.

On the plus side, the author has a great writing style. The characters came alive as did the settings - both which drew me into this historical time in a very real way.  I loved that Edina's character moved from the young wife with no power, to a woman coming into her own in the end. Charles went from abusive and egotistical to having a few softer edges.

On the negative side are two notes. Charles change of heart was a bit abrupt and out of the blue instead of developing over time. However, what bothered me the most was her unflattering, one-dimensional portrayal of East Indian women - always beautiful, always dressed provocatively and always willing and widely experienced sexual partners. While I am sure during the time of British Rule there were women who pursued relations with men in power to survive, not for a moment to I believe it was the norm, nor that they were all eager to please men in this way. I am also sure there were subjugated women who were taken advantage of because of their lower station by those in power.

Warren's talent is obvious. I hope she continues to offer new works, but at the same time that she is more thoughtful in her treatment of women from different cultures.

Buy the Book: Author Website has links to all retail sites where book is sold including - Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Chapters Indigo

Meet The Author - 

Check out a great behind the scenes interview  - here!

Barbara Warren always has the pedal to the metal. Born in England and educated at a convent, she left school at sixteen and was selling encyclopedias in the roughest part of London at eighteen. She married and emigrated to Canada when she was twenty-three, had three charming daughters, went to university when she was thirty-six and retired from teaching in her mid fifties.

Then she pursued her passion for the arts and for travel. She and her husband rode camels in India, elephants in Nepal and horses in Montana. They hitchhiked in Norway, cycled across Denmark and snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef. Barbara’s paintings grace homes in Canada, USA and Mexico and she designs her own clothes. She spends the winters in Mexico and the summers in the bible belt of southern Alberta.

Her first novel, Everlasting Lies, tells the story of her grandparents’ love affairs with each other and with others. They struggle to survive in the last years of Victorian England and the horrors of WW1 and then start a new life with four children in Imperial India.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Facebook

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Vancouver Fashion Week S/S 17 Tuesday - Joseph Ribkoff, Michal Negrin, JKline and Give Guatemala

Runway Images courtesy of Ed Ng Photography

With SHINE founder Dean Thullner
Shawl by Chloe Angus.
As I said yesterday, I usually miss the gala but there were just some must attend moments that drew me this season. That said, the real Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW) for me always starts on the first full day of runway shows and Tuesday held a whopping 11.  There was a great mix of styles and aesthetics to keep us all interested and several new-to-me designers who caught my eye. Always a treat.

I really enjoyed the mix of new guests in attendance. Getting to know people outside your normal circle is just one of the many benefits of attending each day. On Tuesday I was privileged to sit between Anil Bora Inana, the Turkish Consulate General, and Julia Mariuska Hodgins, radio host on Iheartlatinamerica. We shared resources, made introductions, and of course, traded business cards.

My outfit today featured a wonderful wool button wrap shawl from Vancouver designer Chloe Angus' Spirit Collection with original artwork by Haida Artist Clarence Steven Mills. This versatile piece is a must in every closet as it can be worn over 30 ways. It was paired with a wide leg pant by JAC by JC which I just realized I may need to shorten a bit, and a pair of earrings featuring shredded bicycle inner tube from a local designer. Unfortunately, I'm struggling to find their name.

I will be adding audience candid photos to this article as they become available. 

Now for the shows. I pick 3-4 each day to feature from the amazing number offered, but there are always many other wonderful designers each day. Be sure and check out all of them.  And a note - I am again running a separate BUY LOCAL column that will feature only Vancouver Designers. It will be added too each day.

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Joseph Ribkoff

It was obvious from the very first look down the runway - one I wanted to snatch right off the model - that this collection would be something very special.  Silhouettes, proportions, great fabrics and excellent tailoring were an intricate part of every single look. No surprise, as leading Canadian designer Joseph Ribkoff has been successfully designing collections for women in over 64 international markets for over 60 years. Best of all - almost all clothing is designed and created in Canada. The palette focused mostly on white, gray and black. The garments had a nice balance between fitted and softly draped.  By the end I think there were at least three if not more looks I would love to put in my wardrobe.  

I wanted to know more, so found this 2015 interview with Ribkoff in Dress To Kill Magazine - 58 years of fashion: Joseph Ribkoff. It's a great read.  And while the main headquarters are in Quebec, we are luck to have a showroom right here in Vancouver at 100-1737 W 3rd Ave.


Designer Kristina JGENTI was born in a small town in Georgia - her mother Russian, her father is Georgian. Since her childhood she had always strong passion for fashion and design which led her to pursue studies in fashion design at ESMOD. While there, she also entered numerous competitions. After graduation, she spent eight years working at PHILIPPE CARAT where she became head designer. Eventually she felt it was the right time to launch her own brand - JK Line. Her extensive experience was clearly visible in her strong tailoring skills. Leather took front and centre on the runway with top stitching, cut-out and fabric insets used as accents.  A few woven fabrics were added to the mix, used mainly to create companion blouses to complete looks. I love the occasional unique silhouette details such as in the image second from right above. An excellent show overall.

GIVE Guatemala

I had the pleasure of sitting next to the host for ilovelatinamerica radio who had conducted an interview with GIVE Guatemala the day before. While I knew GIVE Guatemala was a collaboration of Guatemalan designers, she let me know there were a whopping 17 helping to create the magic. They embrace their country's beautiful nature, landscape and colourful textiles as inspiration. Each piece is a unique and handmade work of art, made with a Mayan ancestral technique of back strap and foot power loom. We were offered bright colours, unusual menswear designs and even 4 children's looks.  The accompanying handbags and backpacks were stand out accessories.  My favourite looks involved the traditional woven fabrics, but in the end, the four child models stole the show. 

Michal Negrin

While this was not the final show of the day - I moved it to the end because I wanted to add some extra runway images. Israeli designer Michael Negrin's collection was both alluring and feminine - "...a vintage-inspired fantasy world of beauty and romance." Her design aesthetic had an understated ethnic element. The styling of every look right down the the jewellery chosen and the matching handbags was right on point.  This show was a breath of fresh air that lingered long after the designer had taken her bows. Well done.  I have taken an excerpt from her VFW bio for those who, like me, wanted to know more.

"[Negrin] began designing as a child, driven to counteract the drab, sensible aesthetic of the Kibbutz where she grew up. Her first collection was launched at Tel Aviv’s open-air marketplace in 1988. The demand was overwhelming and led to the opening of the first store in Tel Aviv. Today there are over 50 Michal Negrin stores in nearly two dozen countries, in major cities such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sidney and Moscow. A core value Michal Negrin is to keep production local, so despite rapid international success,the extensive fashion and jewelry lines are still hand crafted at the studio in Israel by skilled local artisans. Fabrics are hand printed and meticulously layered with lace and Swarovski crystals for an enchanting, intricate look."

Note - this international designer does have a Canadian location - 1225 Government St, Victoria, BC V8W 1Y6.

Vancouver Fashion Week S/S 16 - Buy Local

A few seasons ago I started to put all Vancouver, B.C., area designers in one column called Buy Local. It was a hit, so I am continuing the tradition.

Each day or two I add new runway shows to this specific article to make it easy for readers to see all local talent in one place. Because of the amount of coverage I am offering this week, time is limited. So to keep these going up quickly, I decided to offer their press release from the Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW) site instead of a personal write up. These are accompanied by their runway images.

If you want a thriving local fashion scene, there is only one way and that is through supporting local designers by making at least one purchase each season. Over time that will build into an amazing wardrobe of unique garments created right here in our city.

While there are many more designers locally than shown here, this is a great place to start.  Enjoy! And remember to Buy Local as much as you can.  You support great talent who offer responsible production.

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Thursday Shows -

Sinbi Collection

Images courtesy of Ed Ng Photography

Katherine is a Vancouver based designer. From young age she was inspired with arts and design. Before launching her line Sinbi Collection in April 2016, she studied textile design and earned her degree at OCAD in Toronto. She continued to pursue her passion for fashion and completed fashion design at Helen Lefeaux and earned a fashion degree at Parsons School of Design in New York. After her studies, she started working in many well known fashion companies in New York and Montreal then decided to return to her hometown in Vancouver to achieve her dream of starting her new line.

The concept for SS2017 collection is focusing on poetic elegance, which represents calm and sophisticated ambience. It involves lot of sheer fabrics layered with emotional printed fabrics expressing mysterious femininity, emphasizing some of the beauty of women’s body lines. The color scheme of the collection includes black, pastel and metallic colours. Each individual garment has interesting shapes and details with some prints to make the collection look more special.

Alex S. Yu

Images courtesy of Ed Ng Photography

I create garments that explore the fine line between reality and fantasy.

ALEX S. YU’s aesthetics rollick the happy emotions of childhood, nostalgia and wanderlust; and ponder the very definition of femininity in a modern, quirky way through garments. The ALEX S. YU woman loves to have fun, and isn’t afraid of trying new things. She loves colour, prints, quirky shapes, textures, and most importantly, values comfort. The ALEX S. YU woman is eccentric, lively, nonchalant and views life through a pair of rose tinted glasses. ALEX S. YU creates a line of contemporary luxury street wear that is ready-to-wear with a twist of avant garde experimental attitude. He plays with proportions, colour blockings and unusual silhouettes while mixing and using different colours and fabric weights in one garment.

Wednesday Shows - 

Images courtesy of Ed Ng Photography

Kate Schreiner- the creator of ‘hetki / a moment’ is a Vancouver born and raised visionary and creative. She grew up being inspired by everything, and used sketching as a creative outlet. Kate became familiar with textiles based on a family history of seamstresses and tailors, and soon developed the same passion and interest.

During her studies majoring in Fashion Design & Technology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Wilson School of Design, Kate’s passion and understanding of what being a creative individual meant became stronger. After 9 years of formal textile and industry education in Vancouver, Canada and Helsinki, Finland, Kate refined her skills in conceptual and technical design, illustration, manual and cad drafting, production, draping, styling, event planning, marketing, and business.

After spending time studying fashion in Europe, Kate began to look at design in a new way; she focused on perfecting the process simply because the process is a greater learning tool- and once the process is perfected, the product falls into place naturally.

Kate’s brand, ‘hetki / a moment’ is derived from the root of Scandinavia. The inspiration for her collection came from her experience studying fashion in Helsinki. The Nordic and Scandinavian countries have a beautiful, peaceful, and slow-paced disposition, and an overall quality of lifestyle is appreciated and valued; Kate felt these attributes should be considered in the fashion industry. She developed her collection to encourage the growth of the slow-fashion movement by creating pieces that put an emphasis on quality, longevity, timeless, and uniqueness, and aesthetically blur the lines between seasonal trends.

Rebeca Dascal

Images courtesy of Ed Ng Photography

I live in the beautiful Vancouver and it’s my passion and honour to add clothing beauty to people’s lives.

Clothes are the closest things to us, they represent us, our values and priorities. I always believed it’s better to have just a few that represent me, rather than many just for people to like me.

I want to help people people dress for themselves!

Images courtesy of Ed Ng Photography

Founded in 2016 by Judy Wong, the Lorraine Sui Collection is all about bright colours, fun textures and playful sophistication. The mother-daughter design team was inspired by the culture and aesthetics of Vancouver to create a line of beautiful handbags to capture the essence of this city. Each handbag is crafted with durable materials, but also with hearts and the story of Judy and Lorraine working together to create and refine each piece. We continue to design and expand our line with our philosophy of modern design, strong construction and urban functionality.

Images courtesy of Ed Ng Photography

April 2016 Q & A w/ this designer - HERE
Bahareh Memarian is a fashion designer based in Vancouver. She studied architecture at the Eastern Mediterranean University in Cyprus and got her Building Engineering Certificate from British Columbia Institute of Technology.

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.

Image courtesy of Ed Ng Photography
Upon graduation, her collection was featured on the New York Fashion Week runway on 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, highquality 100% cruelty-free, manmade materials including faux fur products, expanding the depth of beauty of this world, rather than taking away from it.

Tuesday Shows - 

Edzerza Gallery

Images courtesy of Ed Ng Photography

Alano Edzerza was born in 1981 and belongs to the Raven clan of the Tahltan Nation. He has been an artist since he could hold a pencil; and received his rst recognition of merit at age thirteen for a sculpture award from the School Board of Victoria. This early encouragement pushed him towards his artistic career.

At 21, Alano began working in Northwest Coast art under the tutelage of his family member, fellow Tahltan artist, Terrance Campbell. In 2002, Alano furthered his education by attending school in Arizona for jewelry where he worked under the instruction of Rick Charlie. He has also had the opportunity to work with artists Jay Simeon, Marcel Russ, Philip Grey, Rick Adkins, Corey Bulpitt, and many others.

Alano cemented the reputation of his growing company during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games when he designed the outerwear for the Dutch Olympic team. Today now being one of the key artists in the contemporary northwest coast art movement, he is the owner and director of Edzerza Gallery, Edzerza sports and Edzerza Artworks and has been running his own business since 2007.

Recently, Edzerza Gallery has moved from the downtown Vancouver location to a fully operational online store and gallery, The Edzerza Artworks business plan and proposal has been set up since starting the gallery. Ongoing activities have included art production, sales, wholesale and as of late focusing on online retail sales.

TKC Design Inc.

Images courtesy of Ed Ng Photography
Taranjit (Taran) Cheema is a Canadian-born designer who has a strong eye for colors and graphics. She explores mix media and always strives to create unique and inspirational pieces. In addition to fashion, she also enjoys exploring other passions such as photography and fine arts.

Originally, she pursued her love for fine arts, which naturally progressed into an interest in fashion design. In 2009, she got accepted into Parsons The New School for Design in New York City.

Taran Cheema recently graduated from Parsons with a Bachelor in Fine Arts. In May 2013, she exhibited her thesis collection at the Parsons 560 Exhibition and the Parsons Benefit Gala. Within her graduating class in the fashion program, she was recognized as being among the students who received a high score on her thesis collection.

TKC Design Inc. is about the embodiment of color. Inspired by color and rich textures, TKC Design Inc. hopes to inspire a movement of endless possibilities. Our pieces are so unique and bold that they will catch everyone’s eyes. We offer one of kind pieces that we guarantee you will not find anywhere else. Enriched in bold colors our collection is made to empower women. We dare you to be bold and vibrant in a grey society!

ODD - One Delirious Dream

Images courtesy of Ed Ng Photography

Jennifer Bond and Cecilia Bright have been sewing together since they were children. They have similar aesthetics but different ideas about self expression. One Delirious Dream was created to combine their love for fine garments and proper fit. Clothing is made to order, and accompanied with a fitting at their studio. Their main aesthetic is drawn heavily from the occult and macabre, monochromatic palettes, nature, and historical garments. It is dark, hazy, a little decadent and very dramatic. Cecilia primarily designs and with Jennifer’s input they truly create unique pieces that are cohesive and easy to put together for a lifestyle effect. Women are not made out of a mold, and should not be on a pedestal. We want to help you leave the ideals of society, and express yourself the way you want to be seen and heard. Take up space, over dress, be sumptuous.

“We like to create bold statement looks without using too much colour, that are both haunting and beautiful. Something curious, and highly intimidating.”