Category Archives: DESIGNER INTERVIEWS

SARA ARMSTRONG – VANCOUVER FASHION WEEK F/W 15

By: Justine Barnes

Images: Peter Jensen

We managed to catch up with Sara Armstrong after her stunning show at Vancouver Fashion Week and ask her a few questions.

Sara Armstrong Vancouver Fashion Week  

What was the inspirations for your F/W 15 collection?

This season was inspired by my father and his pride that he has past down to use in our family name, but I suppose more visually, it’s inspired by Medieval Scottish winterscapes.

What makes your clothing different?

I’m not sure about “different” but what I think makes it special or unique is that it is locally handcrafted and ethically sourced. Everything is eco conscious. And, they are generally non-seasonal, gender neutral pieces, meant to last.

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What is your favourite item?

My favourite pieces are the ones with the alpaca knots. Its from a local farm, Kensington Prairie Farm, and all hand felted, dyed and sewn.

What is your favourite fabric from this collection?

Melton wools – always.

Sara Armstrong Vancouver Fashion Week
Where can we find your clothing?

Mostly by private sales through info@sararmstrong.com – I am going to be carried in a store in Saskatchewan, my hometown. And, we are looking for a few more carriers in Vancouver and beyond. 

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Are there any fashion designers that you are inspired by?

Gareth Pugh, Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto – those are always my inspirations.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Living internationally and continuing to create pieces.

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www.sararmstrong.com

xxx

NLASTYLIST

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VANCOUVER FASHION WEEK F/W 15 – DAY 2

By: Justine Barnes & NLAStylist

Images: Peter Jensen

Black and white seemed to be an ongoing, very enjoyable theme for day 3 of Vancouver Fashion Week.  While the silhouettes changed, black and white stayed the same, looking incredibly chic. Another common theme was pairing these structured, yet over sized looks with an Oxford shoe.

LaSalle College

LaSalle College is a regular and much-anticipated show at Vancouver Fashion Week, with this season being its 11th season.  It is always so refreshing to witness such young creativity, executed with such maturity.

Adam-Lin Bungang

AMAZING. Adam-Lin Bungang’s dresses kept to the black and white theme perfectly while playing with different proportions. They were truly something any women would want in their closet. These dresses were a little sporty and very chic!

Adam-Lin Bungang

Adam-Lin Bungang Vancouver Fashion Week

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Yicheng (Eric) Chen

This was Yicheng (Eric) Chen’s second time showing with Vancouver Fashion Week. We really enjoyed his take on the roaring 20’s. He created pieces with low hip lines and used feathers to evoke the 1920’s.

Yicheng (Eric) Chen Vancouver Fashion Week

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Shunan Zeng

The inspiration behind Shunan Zeng’s collection was found in women, post World War I, representing freedom and hope.  We loved the cohesive colour palette of muted tone and the creative panels on both the front and back of the garments – creating a fresh and modern twist on the classic boyish style.

Shunan (Andy) Zeng Vancouver Fashion Week

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Su Yang

Su Yang created dresses that were very chic with dropped waistlines. It was very noticeable that she created these pieces inspired by menswear, with the addition of embellishments, making it extremely tres chic!

Su (Ariel) Yang Vancouver Fashion Week

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Sara Armstrong

Headlining the night was Sara Armstrong and we absolutely loved the trouser pants that she created for F/W 15 that donned cross-over origami style panels! Each look was captivating and interesting.  Her pieces were oversized while still being perfectly tailored.

We caught up with Sara and asked her a few quick questions.  Click HERE to see more!

Sara Armstrong Vancouver Fashion Week

Sara Armstrong Vancouver Fashion Week

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Sara Armstrong Vancouver Fashion Week xxx

NLASTYLIST

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EMERGING DESIGNER – INTERVIEW WITH VESTIGE

Vestige Vancouver Emerging Designer

A recent coffee date with a friend turned into a delightful and inspiring meet up with Aileen Lee, the talented emerging designer behind her refreshing brand, Vestige.

It is one thing to be extremely creative, but you create a whole other beast when you combine that with intelligence, literature and business skills.   Aileen did not come from a design background.  In fact, she studied English Literature at UBC, at the request of her parents, and then went on to obtain her master’s degree in fashion management.  However, fashion design was something she always loved and upon completing her education, she decided to take a chance and follow her passion.

Vestige Vancouver Emerging Designer

“My style is simple and neutral. I wear what is comfortable, and that is my first priority when designing products.”

Vestige Vancouver Emerging Designer

“Our customer is someone who welcomes life in its most natural form.”

Vestige Vancouver Emerging Designer ss15 Lookbook

What is the story behind your brand?

Vestige is the brainchild of fashion and literature. I have always been fascinated with the interconnections between people, and this is how I link fashion with literature. Both are vessels capable of telling others who we are, creating a bridge between individuals. Clothing is a language of its own.

Each season, Vestige tells a story of two girls, brought together by a message in a bottle. In a day and age where communication is undervalued, we try to promote the importance of connecting with others. In each story, a girl would write a message and send it off in a bottle. The process brings two seemingly different individuals together.

What type of woman are you designing for?

The type of woman who seeks meaning in life, and values her experiences. She is someone who digs deep, someone who appreciates beauty, as well as quality and craftsmanship. Vestige is very organic. We have a small team that does everything ourselves, and we use very little hired help. Our customer is someone who welcomes life in its most natural form.

What has been the most rewarding part of your career in design?

The people who became a part of or supported Vestige. Building up a brand is no easy feat, it is a wholehearted investment with no guarantees at the end of the tunnel. Yet everyone I’ve met along the way has been really supportive, and it made me realise how warm our community is.

What would you consider as the most important trait of being a designer?

Intuition and perception. Know who your audience is, because a strong design does not only cater to yourself. Design is an interactive playing field that shapes and sharpens your work with continual feedback and conversation.

Where can people buy/view your s/s 15 collection?

Our look book is up on our website, where you can read the full collection story. We will be showcasing our Spring/Summer collection at a pop up store in April. More details to come!

www.vestigestory.com

Vestige Vancouver Emerging Designer ss15 lookbook

Vestige Vancouver Emerging Designer ss15 lookbook

“Clothing is a language of its own.”

Vestige Emerging Designer Vancouver SS15 Lookbook

xxx

Vancouver Fashion Stylist

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EMERGING DESIGNER – INTERVIEW WITH ALEX S. YU

ALEX S. YU + THE LOST YOUTH

By: Nicolette Lang-Andersen

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Sometime life takes you on a path you didn’t expect or plan for – the one that you were always destined for.

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For up and coming Vancouver designer, Alex S. Yu, this is exactly what happened.  A dedicated computer science student from a traditional family, where a career in fashion was not seen as a solid career, he found a way to turn his dreams into a reality.  During school (and working part time at Club Monaco), Alex found himself consistently infusing fashion into his various website projects, and quickly realized he had another calling.  Keeping it under the radar from his parents, he enrolled in a part time sewing and pattern making class and created a mini collection to start up his portfolio, which he then used to Enroll with at Blanche Macdonald.  A few more mini collections later (which may have included a cheeky pair of polka dot boxer shorts), he showcased at TAS fashion show where he finally revealed to his parents the creative passion and undeniable talent that he had.  Needless to say, they form a part of the mass of Alex S. Yu fans out there today. Alex S. Yu Vancouver Designer VFW

Wanting to find his own voice as a designer, Alex made the leap across the pond to continue his studies in fashion at the London College of Fashion, where he found daily inspiration through the history, fashion, culture, galleries and museums. On completing his studies, he planned to work under a few designers to gain more experience on the business side, but fate again showed him a different door – a chance to showcase at Vancouver Fashion Week s/s 2015 through a sponsorship with Niche Magazine.

His collection, The Lost Youth, was whipped up in just one month and inspired by his time in London.  In particular, East London near Brick Lane – a vibrant area where street artists express their feelings and anger towards the government in a playful way through their artwork.  These surroundings translated into the colours and shapes of his collection but Alex also found inspiration from his favourite childhood book character for the exaggerated lines and curves – Dr. Seuss.   For fabrics, he wanted to create wearable clothing with experimental fabrics such as plastics, coated paper and outdoor fabrics.

Alex S. Yu Vancouver Designer VFW

This rushed but stunningly executed youthful collection peaked much interest from around the Globe. Since the VFW show, Alex’s collection has been featured in Vogue UK, Vogue Italia, Glamour UK, Elle Italia, The Province, Vancouver Sun and more, and he just recently travelled to Tokyo for an exclusive photoshoot with his collection showcasing his talent to a whole new audience.

Alex S. Yu Vancouver Designer VFW

His views in design have remained the same since the day he started, believing that we live in an age where fashion should be an outlet to express yourself, to have fun and break the rules a little…or a lot.

Alex S. Yu Vancouver Designer VFW

The ambitious designer has his sights set on some big goals for next year.  Apart from wishing to dress Susie Bubble of stylebubble.co.uk in his collection, Alex is planning to take part in the next season of VFW, will be launching an online store and hopes to showcase at London Fashion Week. 

As any young designer knows, showcasing a new collection on a bigger platform can be costly and Alex has recently set up an Idigogo campaign to help him launch his f/w 2015 at VFW, where in return for your contribution, you are rewarded with various items from a small collection he has made.  To contribute or find out more, visit: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/launch-alex-s-yu-fw2015-collection

Alex S. Yu Vancouver Designer VFW

Alex S. Yu Vancouver Designer VFW

www.alexsyu.com

Image Creds:

Photographer – Jason Mordeno Photography
Make up – Jerry Kuo Makeup and Sally Chiang
Hair – Ling Liu
Models – Lisa Chen, Mia Jiang, Monica Zhang, Yidan Gao, Sandy Song

xxx

Vancouver Fashion Blogger

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UWI Twins Fashion Label launch At Alfie Italia

By: Rachelle Lupton

cre·a·tiv·i·ty

The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of artistic work.

 un·der·dog

A competitor thought to have little chance of winning a fight or contest.

 Reuben and Levi Uwi were born in Rwanda in 1987 and after surviving the 1994 Rwanda Genocide they came to Vancouver to create a new home and a new life.  The twins spent years overcoming their defeat and pursuing an inner desire to move forward.  This October (on their birthday), they were able to see one of their many dreams come true by launching their U.T.F.L collection of well designed jackets, dresses and unisex tops at local Gastown boutique Alfie Italia.  The twins have overcome so much in their lives and have been seen as the underdog, but with their charismatic personalities, humble approach to life and creative minds, the pair is sure to prove any skeptic wrong.  We had a chance to meet the twins and talk to them about life, their label and what we can expect from them next.

 Being twin brothers how do you find working together?

 L: Being twins and business partners there is that personal line that you are treading.  But it works for us because we trust each other.  At the same time we might disagree on certain points, but if he is very passionate about what he is defending, then I’ll say let’s do it.

 What do you admire about each other?

L: He is very good at not hesitating in decision making.

R: His intuition.

 What or who is the biggest influence in your life?

L & R: Our mom!

R: She has always been an inspiration to me.  I see her working so hard and I think, “Hey, if she is working that hard then we should work that hard too”.

L: She is the example to us that pushes us.

 What would you say has been your greatest achievement?

L & R: Getting this brand up and running. But we also started a brand after high school, and getting into business right after that was challenging.  We were able to get our name out there and get our collection into Hudson’s Bay so that was a great point.  It was received so well and just because of that we have been able to get so much more attention and get ourselves featured in the Huffington Post.

Do you have any plans for the future?

L: Right now we are designing our next collection.  We want to get into other product lines like bags and shoes.

 What has been your favourite aspect about designing so far?

L: I guess just expressing ourselves and being able to tell our story through our label.  With our brand we have been able to share our story.

R: Also helping make people feel good.  We want people to feel good, it brings happiness to us when we see someone wearing one of our pieces happy.  We definitely want to empower people and give them confidence and inspire them with our clothing.

L: That’s what our brand is all about, we want to inspire the underdogs and let them know you can persevere.  Just like me and my brother.  We have gone through hardships and put them in the past.  We put our head downs and we powered through.  

 Do you have any advice for aspiring designers?

R: You’ve got to find your voice, and you’ve got to find yourself and tell your story from wherever you are.  If you know your vision and you know where you want to go, then you will find whatever means necessary to get to your goal.

L: Be true to yourself and don’t follow trends. Don’t give up if someone says no to you.  

www.uwitwinsfashion.com

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Event Images – Photo credit: Louise Uwacu

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