Interview With David Chen - Founder of the Vancouver Fashion Festival

Readers would love to know a bit about the person behind this event? Who are you and what do you do in regular life? 

My story behind this is about love and art. I am moved from Japan to Vancouver since 1996 as the general manager of Nikko Group company. I had a happy life, I married with my wife Mariko Sugiyama in 2006 ... in 2008 we had our baby Sofy Chen. Then in 2009 my life changed when the doctor told me my wife was diagnosed with cancer stage 4. The doctor said she could only survive for 6 months to one year.

I quit my job where I worked for 19 years and came back home to tell my lovely wife " I will be with you to fight cancer and take care you." We followed under the doctor's guidance she did chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery, but in Feb 16th 2012, I held in my arms as she left to the kingdom of heaven.  

My wife Mariko was a pianist. Below is a video of her performing at a Vancouver charity event - 

What was your journey to launch the Vancouver International Fashion Festival?

Since I lost my beloved wife, I have been volunteering for the Canadian Cancer Society. In 2013 IPOP Hollywood came to Vancouver for auditions to scout for new faces, I applied for my daughter Sofy Chen to go to this audition. She was selected, but we would have to pay 10 thousand US dollars to go to Los Angeles for training and competition. I couldn't afford this big amount of money, but when I met the IPOP president, Ron Patterson, and told him about my story, he told me the financial problem is not the end of the world. BUT I would have to bring my daughter to LA, and promise I would bring her to train and work hard because you can not buy time and time is precious. You must use it wisely. 

Event Founder David Chen
He issued a scholarship to my daughter  when she was 4, after she had been training for acting, modeling and dancing at IPOP. At the award ceremony for the competitions, she got a gold medal and had 13 agencies who would have liked to sign a contract with her. After we signed up with one agency, in 6 months she got her first job in her life for a TV commercial for Cereal at the age of 5. She continues to act, dance and and be involved in all different types of activities. 

Canada Vancouver International Fashion Festival 2018

One day Ron Patterson called me and offered me a job as vice president of IPOP Canada. I would be responsible for developing IPOP for the talent market in Canada and China. I have to say a big "Thank you" to Ron Patterson. Now I follow Ron's passion by developing lots of young actors in Canada and China. We also give lots of young kids with talent scholarships to help them to make their dreams come true.

I founded the Vancouver International Fashion Festival to give back to help young models, designers and charities. In 2016. I came up this idea for the Canada International Fashion Festival - a platform to develop the multiple cultures of fashion, acting, modeling, singing and dancing. The first show was in March 2017. Thank you to Keiko Boxall and Iryna Getman and all the sponsors, models, designers, volunteers, photographers, videographers, lighting, DJ, media and all the team players that had help me to establish this very first event as well as those that followed. 

Article in the Richmond Sentinel - HERE!
How has the festival grown and changed from that first event?

The Vancouver Fashion Festival is growing very well because we take care of all our members. We give young designers and models scholarships to help them meet modeling agencies, giving them opportunities, experience, credit, and certificates.  Our event has changed into more of a fashion art industry compared to our first show.

Live events are unpredictable and there are always surprises. Can you share a funny behind the scenes story of something unexpected that happened during one season? We'd also love to hear about a favourite moment. 

We don't remember any funny behind the scenes moments, but I'm sure there is at least one. My favourite moment of every show is to see everyone who came to our show smiling and happy. We would also like to say thank you to all the members of the show who worked hard to help us make the shows happen and thank you to the audience who took time of their day to enjoy our show.)

What can attendees expect this year at the Vancouver Fashion Festival?  Is there anything exciting that is new this season? 

The Vancouver Fashion Festival is presenting the inspirations of fashion and art. They can expect many new things, but we are going to keep them a surprise. We are excited this season to invite both Japanese floral master Hikaru Seino Ganon and Japanese singer Junko Shimizu to be a part of the program. 

Where can readers go to get more information on this great event? How can they purchase tickets?

You can learn more about our show at one of the links below (we would love to have you follow us on Facebook and Instagram) -