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Eco Fashion Week 2013: Young Oak + Park, Couture Therapy, Dahlia Drive and more

Young Oak + Park

I really loved the look, craftsmanship, and ideas behind Tammy Joe’s first Young Oak collection. Designer Tammy Joe sources vintage pieces from all over the US and locally in Vancouver, then re-constructs them into re-contextualized pieces for the modern woman. After the show, we spoke with Tammy where she informed us that the brand is homonymous with her mother’s name. The name also spoke to her because of the juxtaposition of the two words: newness paired with the imagery of an old oak tree represents her re-construction process perfectly. Park Apparel, on the other hand, is her friend’s hosiery line that she used in the show.

We were surprised to find that most of the styles were constructed from two separate pieces – even some of the jackets were made from two items. Each look was so flawless and the entire collection very cohesive. We also spoke with Tammy about the scalability of producing one-off vintage pieces, and she said she had thought about all the work that goes into producing  unique pieces, but that she loves the process so much she went with it. I love her passion for reworking vintage, love her vintage-contemporary style, and hope to see lots more of her in the future.

Cherry Blossom Design

Cherry Blossom Design is an eco fashion clothing company which began in 2004 and is based on Salt Spring Island, BC.  The clothes are all sewn in Vancouver and screen printed in the Cherry Blossom studio using screens made from reclaimed picture frames and curtain sheers.  The most sustainable and softest fabrics are used, bamboo being the favourite due to its many environmentally friendly properties.  Designer Deanna Milligan is inspired by Chinese brush paintings, as well as the many flora and fauna surrounding the company studio on the island.

Dahlia Drive

Wendy Van Riesen is the one-woman show behind Dahlia Drive. She salvages pre-loved slips, shirts, and fabrics, then brings the garments back to a colourful life by hand-dying, screen printing and embellishing them in various ways. Some printed designs included trees, the human skeletal system, swirls, and abstract prints. One of my favourite pieces was a white 3/4 length sleeve shirt-dress that had a red background and a white tree. Somehow this piece’s tree branches played tribute to the spirit of the skeleton print from other pieces, while being wrapped in a pool of blood-red colour, and in the end captured the spirit of beauty found literally on the inside (of the body) and outside (in our natural environment).

Sally Omeme

An Albertan native, Sally Omeme learned to knit in the early 2000’s which led to her studying at the John Casablancas Institute in 2011. Supported by her instructors, she decided to realize her dream of becoming a knitwear designer and showcased her first collection at the John Casablancas Institute fashion show in May 2012. Watching Kim Cather’s 68 Pound Challenge creations at Vancouver ECO Fashion Week inspired her to experiment with used fabrics to make knitwear. She considers Audrey Hepburn, Carrie Bradshaw and Sarah Burton her style icons.

Couture Therapy

Sarah Couture was born in the small town of Merritt, BC, and has been passionately designing since the age of thirteen. She graduated from Blanche Macdonald in 2002, and after starting a family (her two very lovely little girls walked down the runway with her), she returned to fashion to start her own fashion business, House of Couture. The Couture Therapy ready-to-wear line she showed at Eco-Fashion Week was very street smart. Her ideal client is definitely a woman with attitude, and a whole lot of confidence to back it up. Models walked down the runway with t-shirts reading phrases like, “I heard that you like bad girls…” and “I am FU#@KING crazy but I am FREE.”

But the question is, who doesn’t need some Couture Therapy?

Photos by Aurora Chan

Words by Miranda Sam

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