The SS16 edition of the Vancouver Fashion Week opened with local Vancouver designers, who showed a wide range of styles from casual to haute couture. For 25 seasons, Vancouver Fashion Week has produced a runway that celebrates multiculturalism and emerging talent. Here are a few of the local Vancouver designers to look out for.
Eliza was born and raised in Vancouver Island, Canada. She trained at Central St. Martin’s College of Art & Design in London where she graduated with a BA in Fashion Design and Marketing in 2008. Eliza has since gained valuable work experience in the London studios of Erdem, Zandra Rhodes, and Roland Mouret, before launching her namesake label in 2012.
Allison Wonderland designer Allison Smith realizes that a woman’s life is not all about evening gowns, she designs clothes for everyday life of working, running around town and getting things done. Designer and dreamer by day, Allison creates clothes that she and her friends want to wear, often inspired by references form her favourite decade – the 70s! Eating and drinking is a very important part of Allison life. So it comes as no surprise that her designs can be summed up by how much food and drink a girl can consume while still looking great! After all, women should be able to look great while popping open a bottle of bubbles and breaking bread with family and friends.
After graduating from the Fashion Design & Technology program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Allison paid her dues in Montreal’s rag trade before starting her own line, Allison Wonderland, in 1998. The line grew in popularity across North America, prompting the addition of an eco-friendly sister line, Pillar, in 2011. Both lines are manufactured in Vancouver. A BC girl at heart, Allison loves summertime patio parties, lying in the grass, evening swims at Kits pool and snowshoeing at Cypress. When she’s not too lazy, she gets around the city by bike rain or shine.
aniimiism as a series of free flowing thoughtful concepts presented in a ongoing format. aniimiism as set out to embrace change, embrace collaboration. aniimiism as a mission to create new shapes and forms in understated ways. loose and tailored, detailed and clean. inspired by inspiring things… all garments are sewn in Vancouver, Canada in local factories by technicians who have spent years perfecting their craft and emboldening many of the designs here.
Taranjit (Taran) Cheema is a Canadian-born designer who has a strong eye for colors and graphics. She explores mix media and always strives to create unique and inspirational pieces. In addition to fashion, she also enjoys exploring other passions such as photography and fine arts. Originally, she pursued her love for fine arts, which naturally progressed into an interest in fashion design. In 2009, she got accepted into Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. Taran Cheema recently graduated from Parsons with a Bachelor in Fine Arts. In May 2013, she exhibited her thesis collection at the Parsons 560 Exhibition and the Parsons Benefit Gala. Within her graduating class in the fashion program, she was recognized as being among the students who received a high score on her thesis collection.
Connally McDougall is a highly acclaimed Canadian fashion designer, mastering her discipline at Central Saint Martins and based out of both Vancouver and London. Her work is rich in textural details, architectural silhouettes and is fundamentally designed with confident, international women in mind. Her line encompasses ready to wear couture as well as accessories, active and intimate apparel. The materials used in her collections are sustainable and responsibly made in the UK and North America and made by hand in her studio. After honing her skills with private clients and collectors, her first collection was featured in Vancouver Fashion Week to an international audience with great success. She has since shown her second collection and has been invited to show in London, New York, Milan and Beijing.
A celebrated humanist once put the ratio of passion-to-reason bestowed in man at 24-to-1. After graduating from business school, Grandy found this to be approximately the ratio of time she spent designing and making dresses, versus that spent searching for what her mother referred to as gainful employment. After 4 years in the financial and consulting sectors, she realized that the most gainful part of her employment was saying farewell to the regimented 8-hour work day. For the next 2 years, she devoted her time to building on her passion of dressmaking and the art of traditional tailoring. Grandy discovered that few other professions so beautifully combine her artistic and the analytical expertise. A keen history enthusiast, she often draws design inspirations from sentiments of bygone eras.
In 2013, Grandy started making one dress a week, from scratch, and founded ADressAWeek.com to blog about her journey. From there, her style and philosophy as a designer emerged, with special emphasis the beauty of timeless elegance, the bespoke tradition, and quality craftsmanship. All garments are locally hand-made, and tailored to the specific measurements and body type of each client. Trained from a young age as a classical pianist, Grandy continues to be an avid musician, and devotes one day a week to teaching music lessons. She made her debut with Vancouver Fashion Week, with her autumn-winter collection of 2014.
Sofia Mendez Schenone, the designer behind Sofia, was born and raised in Chile. After graduating from Fine Arts and Fashion Design she launched Sofia in the Fall of 2010 and then her Spring 2011 collection earned her the title of Best Up-and Coming designer in Western Canada’s GENERATION NEXT competition. After the competition, Sofia was inspired to relocate to Vancouver, which is now where all Sofia production takes place. Each design is locally made using luxurious and natural fabrics. Special focus is directed to construction, fit and detail resulting in beautifully designed, easy-to-wear garments. The pieces are vibrant, feminine, and do not over shadow the woman wearing them. Sofia is perfect for a day about town or a night of wine and laughter; perfect for bringing out the best qualities in you.