I had the pleasure of being invited to experience Vancouver Fashion Week and never having been to Canada, I jumped on the offer without hesitation. I didn’t know much at all about what was going to happen apart from the fact that me and some other fashion editors from around would be there. The whole trip began with a Vancouver Fashion Week branded car picking a somewhat jetlagged me up at the airport in Vancouver. Being a luxurious Cadillac, our (designated) drivers really fulfilled our every need (nothing explicit though). Proof of this is when I forgot my camera somewhere in a national park and the driver waking up very early the day after just to go the extra mile to fetch it. Stuff like that is much appreciated and adds to the experience. Do watch the video and see me gracefully step out of the car, haha.
Stepping out of the car I was dropped of at Sutton Place in downtown Vancouver and stayed in a lovely 3 bedroom suite and despite not having much time to spend in it, I indulged in the luxury of having all that space to strut around in.
Let’s start with the fashion however, as that’s the reason a bunch of international fashion editors, me included, were invited to Vancouver Fashion Week in the First place.
ADAM is a Vancouver-based designer who stood out from the rest. This is what we are used to seeing in London, Tokyo and more experimental fashion weeks, but thankfully I got a glimpse of it during Vancouver Fashion Week. The collection was inspired by Adam’s search for his place in his sexual identity as well as trying to overthrow the stereotypes found in the gay community. With bold materials and statements Adam is one to keep an eye on.
ALEX S. YU creates colorful and minimal garments that explore the fine line between reality and fantasy. His aesthetics rollick the happy emotions of childhood, nostalgia and wanderlust; pondering in a modern, quirky way through garments. He trained at Blanche Macdonald Centre in Vancouver and then furthered his education at London College of Fashion in the UK. ALEX S. YU creates a line of contemporary luxury streetwear that is ready-to-wear with a twist of avant-garde experimental attitude. He plays with proportions, color blocking and unusual silhouettes while mixing and using different colors and fabric weights in one garment. He often designs his own original prints or collaborates with various artists from the graphic design or visual arts fields to create original prints for his collection. ALEX S. YU launched his label at Vancouver Fashion Week in September 2014 after being named Emerging Designer of the Year by Niche Magazine. He has since showed five collections at Vancouver Fashion Week and we look forward to more.
A Korean designer who caught my attention was Boo Gun Park, who made his debut as the first full menswear line to walk the Vancouver Fashion Week runway this Spring/Summer 2018 season with his brand BOOK ON THE PARK. Established in 2014 with the slogan “WEAR THE STORY”, Boo Gun Park designs each season after reading a book which is reflected in the collection.
For his SS 18 collection, Boo Gun Park read Mr. Monorail, written by Korean author Kim Junghyuk, which tells the story of being lost in travel within the boundaries of a popular board game. As a designer who does not like travel, but has the curiosity to explore the world – however contradictory that might sound – Boo Gun Park relies on imagination instead.
Every piece in the collection is reflecting the story, in which every character has a specific fixed color and job assigned to them. That is the motivation for BOOK ON THE PARK’s collection and each color in the collection embodies a different character in the novel. Despite not having read the novel (only available in Korean for the time being) we do find the mix of vivid colors, layers, and design lining up with the urge to explore and stretch the boundaries even further intriguing and well put together.
I had the pleasure of meeting the charming duo behind D’GRAPH at Vancouver Fashion Week – consisting of designer-duo Dahye Kim and Minjin Cho. They were flat mates in London while pursuing a career in the fashion industry and studying fashion, and they instantly felt a connection and a need to take it a step further. After moving back to Seoul in 2015 they set up their business together, which resulted in D’GRAPH.
The brand creates fashion with lively and artistic moods by mixing various colors and unique details to reach out to a young generation. For their SS18 collection, color truly was the key word as it K-popped throughout the pieces shown. It felt like the rainbow had scattered on the runway, thankfully with lightweight plastic details added to certain pieces to catch the colorful sky fall. Innovative, daring and a vitamin-injection for every man who wants to stand out, without being tacky or theatrical.
HANNAH KLIEWER is a fashion design student from Hamburg, Germany. Her collection was inspired by her hometown, Hamburg, with the Hanseatic influence. That is why she picked classic colors and handmade knitwear, to represents the traditional way of living in Hamburg.
Menswear designs have for her always been driven by tailoring, tradition, authenticity and details. Even though it was her first time to design menswear, she managed to combine these four aspects in her collection named Steife Brise.
When it comes to fashion and the ability to produce such a saying as “age is but a number”; it does not really apply when it comes to the prodigy behind Krow. I met up with the young, merely fifteen years old Adrianos L. Souras, designer of Krow, behind-the-scenes to have a chat, to see what inspired him to go into producing a collection at such a young age.
It resulted in a casual, yet utilitarian and even military-inspired collection, which took the astoundingly small time frame of thirty days to complete. “If fashion is something I am going to pursue, it remains to be seen,” Adrianos said, but whatever Adrianos decides to do in the future, he is one to keep our eyes on for sure. According to him, there will be a collection coming next season too, so we are awaiting what that will contain and how his style will develop.
MR HUA is a Chinese designer who should have had a PG 20+ warning before the show as I had just seen the film It a few days before and being inspired by clowns and balloons the show was equally scary as it was beautiful and intriguing. Being on the verge of a masquerade, MR HUA still managed to pull it off with a fashion aspect and thus managed to walk on the right side of the thin line separating the two.
REBECA REBECA is a young brand created in 2012, which has already been noticed on the international runway. Starting to develop in 2014 after their show at Vancouver Fashion Week, the brand cherishes a slow-fashion mindset and it continues to grow. The design is elegant with focus on quality, and a refined minimalistic expression combined with Norwegian culture. The inspiration mainly comes from ancient legends, myths, astrophysics and very much music, which influences Rebeca all the way from the creative idea to the choice of music on the catwalk. Her fashion refuses to fit in and maybe that is why we like this Scandi designer a bit extra and hope she will pursue more menswear in the future.
TIELER JAMES is a multi-award winning internationally recognised designer. He discovered his passion for clothing at the age of five and began working with a sewing machine and designing clothes at age seven. In 2014, at just fourteen years old, he was selected to compete on Lifetime’s Project Runway: Threads. Tieler won his episode. Tieler is now seventeen years old, and was a designer on Lifetime’s Project Runway Junior, Season 2 making it into the top five.
Tieler is an advocate of the anti-bullying campaign and fully supports It Gets Better, The Trevor Project, HRC, and Pflag. In addition to being a fashion designer and public figure, Tieler is also a full-time student at the New Orleans Center of Creative Arts where he studies a standard academic curriculum along with theatre design. Tieler maintains a high grade point average while designing costumes for the theatre, working on his own collections and making media appearances. Even I felt old when meeting this prodigy.
As for behind the scenes…
Me gossiping with Caitlan “Cush” Mitchell from Apparel Magazine during what we assume was a boring show, whereas Adriano from Fucking Young is bonding with Bryan from GQ over something we apparently didn’t see.
My Editor-in-Chief thought I looked smol on the front row. Then be it.
The VFW team also took us on a lovely trip to Stanley Park which has been voted one of the most beautiful parks in the world, probably by Canadians themselves though. Jokes aside, it was a pleasureable experience and here I’m joined by Caitlan, Adriano and Tasia (from Getty Images).
The freedom of overviewing the beautiful landscapes surrounding Vancouver.
Fake army on the move in China Town.
Me and Adriano decided to go normcore and blend in with the locals.
Michelle was part of the team behind VFW who took great care of us international fashion editors and I cannot thank her and the team enough. A huge thank you also to Jamal who is the organizer of this thrilling week filled with surprises, not to mention a lot of bonding over dinners and lunches, despite a hectic schedule. And oh, Jamal, Michelle was off schedule when this was taken so I tried my straight moves. Looking at her facial expression I’d say I didn’t convince her though. To sum it up, see you again in March, Vancouver. You were a blast!
Video by Takashi Komukai.
Backstage pictures by me.
Runway photos by Arun Nevader/Getty Images for VFW Management INC.
Other photos totally miscellaneous.