Ever Onward - Blogging During COVID 19

Guest article by Colleen Tsoukalas of Clothesline Finds

Walking the runway at Little Black Dress Gala
I have never been a homebody. I am forever running out the door to follow Fashion, Art and Book events, both when I travel and when I am right here in Vancouver.

Clothes Line Finds is a fashion blog started by my daughter in 2008 and jointly written by both of us for many years. I am now the primary writer and editor, and she continues to support behind the scenes. Our blog also regularly features guest writers, including Fashion Illustrators and Designers from some of our local schools: VCCVCAD, John Casablancas, LaSalle College.

My focus has always been on supporting local by featuring Vancouver events such as: VFW, VIFW, Little Black Dress Gala, Vancouver International Fashion Festival, Design School Grad Fashion Shows, Art World Expo, RAW, Art!Vancouver, Vancouver Mural Fest, Cherry Blossom Fest, Powell Street Fest, VIFF, VPL and VAG. I try to attend as many as I can that showcase what our Designers, Artists and Community Makers are creating.

Before COVID 19, I had a regular schedule of events, new media invitations, and volunteered one day a week at My Sister's Closet, a boutique thrift shop that supports all women, but especially those fleeing from violence. I often invited and met people at My Sister's Closet to help give it more exposure. I featured Designers and Artists interested in sharing their work on the blog as a way of shouting out talent and support for the cause. I have always had a particular interest in Fashion Illustration, so I asked the design schools to connect me with any aspiring student illustrators who were interested in illustrating fashion shows at VFW. This provided a showcase for emerging talent and the excellent programs we have here. 

Vancouver Fashion Week

Many of the Designers and Artists I want to support live and work in other communities, so I often have to travel to where they live. Fashion Splash Victoria is a recent example of an event that took me out of my door, introduced me to new Designers and gave me new opportunities to do pre-show Fashion Shoots, as well as schedule to connect up with Designers afterward. Of course, meeting up with the designers post-show will now have to be done at a later date. Why? Because I am at home - in isolation but not isolated. Instead of meeting people in person, I am now using my blog as a way to keep people I have written about in the past in focus. I do this through re-posting previous articles and by reaching out to see what everyone is doing to keep their businesses going forward. 

Left, VCC Flourish Fundraising Gala - Centre,  Little Black Dress Gala - Right Art! Vancouver

Social isolation has allowed me more time to focus on Clothes Line Finds and think about how it can be used to support others during this time of social isolation. Marilyn R. Wilson inspired me to follow her lead by interviewing Designers, Artist and small Business Owners who are employing new ways of sharing their work during COVID-19. Interviewing by email is entirely new for me, but I now realize that connection is the key and email is a good way to get started. 

With daughter and blog founder Anthea
How many people do I already know who should be in the public eye? How are they adapting to social isolation, loss of platforms, advertising and more? I started by reaching out to Director Colleen Lanki of Tomoe Arts, a Japanese Dance Company: Ay Lelum, an Indigenous Design Family; Paper Hound Book Shop; and VCAD Fashion Student/Illustrator Triptych Taylor for interviews about their strategies for reaching their audiences during COVID-19's isolation restrictions. I am excited to hear and share on the blog what they have to say.

Clothes Line Finds offers me a platform to share my writing, reading, photography, and the many creative people I know along with their accomplishments. What else provides fuel for the journey - the ever onward, look who I met today, here's a treasure I found, bright spots, every day journey? Buying groceries online from Costco and Superstore through InstaCart. Bow to them for excellent goods and services! A beautiful birthday bouquet delivered by Flowers by Michael! Using up what I have in my small fridge/freezer and cupboards. More frozen vegetables, beans of all kinds, porridge in the morning, making bread, less instant, and no eating out - although I will be ordering from our favourite Greek Restaurant, The Greek by Anatoli, Yaletown. Kudos also to Memphis Blues BBQ House for a home delivered meal which we devoured in an instant. I also recently ordered a surprise Art Box from CRUSH for my three year old grand-daughter who will hopefully love painting. 

Left - All’Italiana: The Craft of Italian Fashion from 1900 to 2000 at the Italian Cultural Centre
Centre & Right - on the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week

What am I wearing today? Local treasures of course! I love my 100% cotton pants from India purchased at KAPADE Vancouver and my Fluevog shoes inspired by Dr. Bonnie Henry's nightly pair. And as I relax safely at home, I find myself thinking about my friend, Author/Blogger/Speaker Marilyn R Wilson, ... who invited me to sit with her that many years ago at VFW and said, "Tell me about yourself and your blog." She always invites everyone to join into the ongoing, creative conversation about Fashion, Food, Books, People, all that we have in common. 

Thank you, Marilyn! Ever Onward. 

Left with designer Terry Sasaki in his Sasaki Gallery
Centre, top a
t Vancouver International Fashion Festival and bottom at Eco Fashion Week
Right - Alley Oop, a yearly laneway improvement celebration.

Note - To check out Colleen's COVID-19 interview series (coming soon), head over to Clothesline Finds!

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About Colleen Tsoukalas - 

Colleen is an writer, editor, photographer, brand ambassador and advisor. She has 35 years of teaching experience and has been an active member of the Vancouver fashion community for over a decade. She currently writes and edits for clotheslinefinds.com and volunteers with My Sister’s Closet (MSCBWSS) in her spare time.