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 awards. Congrats to Dorcas Markwei who won the $1500 Gabriel Levy Scholarship for best overall collection and scholastic excellence as well as the inaugural Mason's Sewing and Babylock Canada aware for best sewn collection. For the second she received an industrial sewing machine. Congrats to Megan Beveridge who won the $500 Sally Hudson award for scholastic excellence and the $1000 Telio Scholarship for excellence in textile design.
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
Brain Washed Generation
Bright/ Fall Winter
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.
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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.
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.
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 www.vcc.ca/fashion/
To connect with one of these designers go to www.vcc.ca/fashionshow/
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.”