Vancouver Fashion Week S/S16 Wednesday - Tumiila, Alisa Tovmanyan, Tommy Chong

Image by Sam Stringer
The second day of runway shows at Vancouver Fashion Week held so much excitement. There were several new, unknown designers hitting the runway, as well as local talent and the highly anticipated Vancouver Community College (VCC) Fiat Mode XXVIII Grad Fashion show (24 students each showing a unique, five piece collection).

Both the local designers, the VCC show and designer Amber Nifong will be covered in separate articles. Links will be posted at the bottom as they become available.

Wednesday started badly for me as I woke up with a terrible scratchy throat.  Not now - not with so many shows ahead. Thankfully I have amazing friends. Ha Na (a wonderful local artist) found out I was ailing, pulled out a small bottle of herbal treatment, had me rub a bit on my throat and within the hour all was well. I was energetic, chatting, posing and making connections which is always such a big part of the fun each season.  Emcee Symone Says also added to the excitement. There is honestly no one I know who connects with a crowd better than Symone. Kudos my friend on rocking it both Tuesday and Wednesday.

I decided to go from full colour Tuesday to a mostly black/white palette on Wednesday. My fabulous skull print top is from Vancouver designer Kjaer Neletia Pedersen of K-O.ME Clothing, my textured skinny black skirt is by RozeMerie Cuevas of JAC and my dark pink Skull Heels are from Iron Fist. What was really fun tonight was that eight of us were wearing K-O.ME and we managed to snag a picture with six on the runway together! Unfortunately the other two had to leave a little earlier.

Kat Kozak, Randi Winter, Symone Says, Myself, Jenneil Peter
and Kjaer Pederse - 
Image by Ed Ng Photography
The shows - WOW! It started out with Amber Nifong (covered in a separate article HERE) who gave me goosebumps. That was followed by show after show of great designs.  I loved seeing some couture/avant garde elements on the runway today. When you watch every show on every day, it's great to see a wide variety of looks from ready-to-wear to high-end to conceptual. Here are three to whet your whistle. More are on the way!

Tumiila by Tumisola Ladega

Images by Ed Ng Photography

Tumiila by Tumiila Ladega is a British label founded in 2012. She was only 13 years old at the time. I love this quote from her website on inspiration - "...I design a wide range of clothes from ready to wear couture to avant guard. I love the use bold colours or patterns that would otherwise clash to make a beautiful garment. I also like to use a range of patterns and prints such as african wax prints because I feel it makes the design extra special. I take inspiration from everything whether it’s a plug socket or blinds, anything can make a beautiful garment."

Image by Mike Wu
Ladega brought a collection full of contrasts to the runway - black versus white, classic silhouettes versus edgy geometrics and soft white fabric versus a stiff, shiny black material. I was intrigued from start to finish  The three dimensional black top in particular stood out. The question I was asked by someone next to me, "Could this be wearable if you had to sit?" Some looks yes. Others would be more challenging. But I always feel runway should push the limits. When ideas are great, a way can always be found to use those concepts to create similar designs for the wearable market.

Alisa Tovmanyan of Tovmali

Images by Ed Ng Photography
As I said earlier - variety is so important when you're sitting through tons of runway shows. I can't think of one that contrasted more with the earlier shows than Alisa Tovmanyan. From first look to the last, this Los Angeles designer offered a soft, feminine collection in a variety of silhouettes, prints and textures, with the element of embroidery finishing off a few of the looks. Her designs emphasize have a fresh, feminine feel with a hint of cultural elements. 
Spring 2016  was inspired by Armenian art by artist Tsolak Shahinyan, the combination of the ideal silhouette with an array of textures and lastly, a piece of artwork with pomegranates by American artist Julia Crozier. I did have two favourite looks in this collection. The first one down the runway (image on far left) had a lovely feel to it with a mix of sheer and print that blended seamlessly. Then there was a high-waisted black skirt with embroidered crop top (2nd from right) that I felt really stood out. Were I younger and slimmer, this last one would be in my closet.
Tommy Chong

Images by Ed Ng Photography

Tommy Chong really caught the audiences attention. Menswear is always exciting to see on the runway, but taken to an edgy, conceptual level makes everyone sit up. Chong is a recent graduate of Raffles Hong Kong and this was his grad collection. Called "Extrication’’ -  it was inspired by Botticeli’s ‘’Map of Hell’’ and a Japanese novel, ‘’Kawaki’’. The designer forges cloths of usual business suits into apparel that reflects the Shibari (Japanese art of tying) and Samurai. The collection caught the attention of many in the fashion world.  Extrication was invited to showcase on the runway at Hong Kong Fashion Week and was featured by JET magazine in its Aug 2015 issue!

 Image by Ed Ng Photography
For me - I love anyone who challenges the norm. Designers who bring interesting ideas like this are the ones who change the industry.  While you may not see these exact looks in stores, I can assure you, some of the detailing here will find its way into ready-to-wear in the next year or so. I have my eye on this designer and hope he will return next season to show us where his journey will take him next.