Vancouver Community College's Fiat Mode XXVI

The very first fashion show I attended as a writer was Vancouver Community College's Fiat Mode graduation show in September 2007 - 6 years ago - and I haven't missed a show since. The month before that show I interviewed my first design student - also from this school.  So when I sat in the audience last night to see the new group of talented students from this school show their graduation collections, it felt like coming home. 

Brianna Rae Pearce - Chin-yu Yu 
There are a couple of things I liked about the VCC show. First, there was a great range of collections from ready-to-wear to out of the box conceptional. This season students found their inspiration in a wide range of really unique places such as earthquakes, Tron, vintage basketball shirts and white jellyfish! The other thing I loved was that each designer showed five complete looks - this is the only school to use this format. It gives the audience a better feel for a student's range and skill. When someone puts five great looks down the runway that are all sewn impeccably it really makes a statement. I do need to note that as there are only two looks shown, some of these designers had others that showed a much wider range. EX. -One student you see her casual looks, but she also offered high-end gowns.

Fia Gobbato - Maggie Selzer - Raven McLean

Over the years the show has been produced in the Rocky Mountain Station, the Italian Cultural Centre and now in it's latest season - in the Vancouver Community College Broadway Campus. I have to admit, I liked the more intimate setting. It was in an open atrium on the 2nd floor with the portfolios in a side room on the floor below where you entered. Missed the portfolio room display until after the show when most were already gone.

Mi Huynh - Lisa Ngo - Henia Trylowsky
The challenge? The runway was in an L-shaped layout. Enter Sarah Murray of Fashion Capsule. I have had the privilege of knowing this talented professional (PR, Sales Agent, Writer, Teacher, Runway Show Producer) for a long time and she is known for creative runway show ideas such as musical chairs or carrying in the set. Want to know more? Check out my article for Fame'd reprinted here called Much Much More.

Michelle Nguyen - Cecilia Chenchen Xiao - Chloe Liu

For this unusual space Murray put five perfectly spaced elevated squares along the runway from start to finish. The entire collection of five looks came out at the same time with one model on each square. As host Tina Lovgreen (seen on overhead screens for those of us without a clear view) offered commentary on the designer's inspiration, fabric, favourite moments and more, the models moved from one square to the next, offering 360 degree poses at each stop so everyone could get a good look at the garment from all angles. 

Alice Tai - Saman Sandhu - Alita Gorgichuk

Photographs were being snapped constantly - media, friends and family on cell phones, Instamatic's and professional cameras. Probably the only negative was I didn't see a great place for a photographer's pit, although there may have been something in a place around the corner from where I was. I apologize for the non-professionally shot images. They were what I could snap on my little camera and most were shot into the spotlight. The beauty of using my own images, though, is that I can get this up right away and include images from every designer. So I think the pros balance out the cons.

Emily Kan - Jatinder Grewal - Luella Gomes

Of course, each graduating class has a few exceptional students selected for special mention. From this year's class, awards were given as follows: Maggie Selzer received the Hudson Award for academic achievement, Fia Gobbato received the Gabrielle Levy Award for scholastic excellence and Jatinder Grewal received the G & S Dye Award for best textile design work in a collection. I also want to mention that Grewal showcased the first pair of asymmetrical pants that I actually loved. More than love - I COVET them.

Nahal Baniadam - Tannaz Fathi Zadeh - Sophia Kim

I want to take a moment and recognize all those individuals who make an evening like this exceptional. Behind the scenes are people taking care of set up, organization, arriving guests, hair and make-up, announcing and more. From the program the list includes: Producer Nancy Nesbitt and Harumi Suzuki, Director Sarah Murray, Show Hair and Makeup Anita Lee, backstage and front of house crew from the Fashion Arts Faculty and Volunteers, Fred Michael of Rocky Mountain Production Service and MC Tina Lovgreen. Models this evening were from Wilhelmina, Lexington, JC Vancouver as well as independent. 

  Serine Zhang - Jennifer Kappler

Then there are the all-important sponsors that are crucial to the success of every show. They include Rocky Mountain Production Services, Telio Fabics (which also runs a nationwide student design competition each year), Novus TV, Mason's Sewing Machines and Jarislowsky Fraser Limited. Kudos to these generous sponsors and I hope everyone in attendance will support these generous companies.

Want to know more about the Fashion Design program at Vancouver Community College? Check out the links at