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The hottest designers at Vancouver Fashion Week

Designers are busily working on last-minute details in the run-up to Vancouver Fashion Week, which kicks off Monday. The style event will feature more than 40 local and international designers at shows held throughout the week.
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Designers are busily working on last-minute details in the run-up to Vancouver Fashion Week, which kicks off Monday. The style event will feature more than 40 local and international designers at shows held throughout the week.

“It’s just a good alternative to New York or London Fashion Week, where a smaller designer would kind of get lost,” Fashion Week communications director Yana Petrova says, explaining what draws so much talent to the west coast of Canada.

Here’s homegrown talent worth checking out next week:


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Vancouver Island designer Eliza Faulkner is one to watch at Vancouver Fashion Week, which opens Monday.

Eliza Faulkner

Eliza Faulkner’s spring line, available at Eugene Chu and LYNNSteven Boutique, is filled with clean, monochromatic, mostly denim pieces, but Faulkner says she is in a “sumptuous” mood.

“It’s a real mix-and-match kind of collection. So the idea was kind of inspired by what’s in a woman’s own closet. Nothing ever matches; it’s always bits and pieces from here and there,” says Faulkner, who trained in London and has worked in the studios of Erdem, Zandra Rhodes, and Roland Mouret. “It’s very colourful, but the shapes are still similar.”

Her ability to make shapes – whether slouchy or tailored – is just one aspect that makes her work so appealing.

• Sunday, March 22, 6:15pm


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Connally McDougall

Connally McDougall

Connally McDougall is sending both womenswear and menswear down the runway in her highly anticipated show. She moved back to Vancouver from London just this month, bringing her thoughtfully crafted and sustainable designs with her. McDougall, who started making clothes about five years ago, was drawn to the idea of creating wearable art.

“In this way, I get to be an artist, but I’m making something that functional and people still wear it, and they live in it,” she says. “Clothes are what people get to have adventures in.”

Gustav Klimt’s dream-like painting, Wasserschlangen, she says inspired her fall collection.

• Tuesday, March 17, 9pm


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Allison Wonderland

Allison Wonderland

Designer Allison Smith, whose expertly made clothes balance style and comfort, is showing two of her lines, the classic Allison Wonderland, along with the eco-conscious Pillar. The later is a west coast casual collection, while Allison Wonderland is a line of clothes that go seamlessly from day to evening. Smith has been a fixture on the Vancouver fashion seen for more than 15 years, but this is her first time showing at fashion week.

“The opportunity came up, and it just seemed like a good idea,” she says.

• Friday, March 20, 5:15pm


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Sara Armstrong

Sara Armstrong

Sara Armstrong is an interdisciplinary artist who practices in industrial and fashion design.

“My work was usually circulated around the body and observing relationships, so I was always going back and forth between form and people and the armour that we wear, so fashion felt like it made sense to move into because I wanted to do a lot of public sculpture, and to me fashion can be that,” says Armstrong.

This is the third time Armstrong will show her work, known for exaggerated silhouettes, androgyny, and pair-down functionality, at Vancouver Fashion Week. Her fall collection was derived from her Scottish father’s call for a kilt.

• Wednesday, March 18, 8pm


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Designer Cassie Dee of Aniimiism


The name of this contemporary brand by designer Cassie Dee is a play on the worldview from some indigenous cultures that inanimate objects, like mountains and trees, posses a spirit.

Attendees at her show can expect to see a line with a nomadic, pick-up-as-you-go theme for fall 2015, she says. Dee drew inspiration from a recent trip to Italy when she started crafting her upcoming collection.

“This is a big collection for me; I think that really helped – travelling, getting out of the day-to-day space I’m at,” says Dee, whose next trip takes her to Asia.

• Friday, March 20, 7:45pm



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Shelley Klassen of Blushing Designs

Blushing Designs

Designer Shelley Klassen has shown at Fashion Week almost every season since she launched her eponymous label in 1999. Today, she has an additional, more youthful label called Story of a Girl. Klassen, who runs Blushing Boutique,thrives on showing at fashion week.

“Just the fact that you can invite your clients and they can see what the clothes look like on the runway, on real bodies,” she says.

She describes her Story of Girl fall collection as “modern mod” – wearable feminine pieces that evoke ’60s charm. Expect to see both her lines at the show.

• Thursday, March 19, 6:30pm


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Designer Grandy C. of Grandi's Atelier

Grandi’s Atelier

Designer Grandy C. grew up training as a classical pianist and worked in banking before turning to clothing design.

“I was there right when the recession hit,” she says about her years in finance, “and that was not a fun introduction to the industry, but nonetheless, it taught me a few things about myself – more than anything else that I cannot sit at a desk for eight hours a day, I can work like do now for 14 hours a day, but I can’t be at a desk working for someone else.”

In 2013, Grandy started making one dress a week, from scratch, and blogged about her journey in creating classic, glamour-infused looks.

• Tuesday, March 17, 5:45pm


Alex S. Yu
Alex S. Yu - Contributed

Alex S. Yu

Alex S. Yu was the darling of last season’s fashion week, with his entire collection selling out at a pop-up shop after his show. Yu is back again with his fall line.

“I still maintained my aesthetic, but I made the collection a bit more wearable this time,” Yu says, explaining what’s in store from the designer whose works evoke the vivid colour and whimsy of Japanese anime.

“The world we are living in is very serious,” says Yu, who pushes against this grievous nature with his playful clothes.

• Tuesday, March 17, 7:30pm