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Eco Fashion Week 2013: Value Village Thrift Chic Challenge

The thrift retailer Value Village returned for the fourth consecutive season to present a night of fashion that strikes at the core of what Vancouver ECO Fashion Week is all about – the Thrift Chic Challenge involved giving three local stylists a $500 allowance each to create ten runway worthy outfits using  gently used clothing from Value Village.  This fun challenge tested the stylists’ creative juices while utilizing the three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle.

Kenneth Wyse

Kenneth Wyse is a freelance stylist, model scout, model, photographer, as well as current judge of the Strike A Pose modelling competition.  His philosophy towards dressing has always been one of universality, discarding the notion that clothes should be classified as male or female.  In line with this attitude of blending gender types, his collection was appropriately called “Kenneth Barbie”.  Both male and female models glided down the runway in streamlined ensembles of various shades of pink.  It brought me back to the new wave 80’s, Miami Vice, and of course, Molly Ringwald in the pivotal teen film “Pretty in Pink”.

Dandilion Wind Opaine

I had just seen Dandilion Wind Opaine’s amazing collection in Vancouver Fashion Week a couple of weeks ago and was excited to see what she had in store for this challenge.  I was not disappointed – she sent down a kaleidoscope of colourful and kooky ensembles down the runway.  A definite sense of playfulness and fearlessness was shown in mishmashing every kind of pattern, colour, and texture together, which all somehow worked beautifully.  I wanted to head straight out to Value Village right after the show; where did she find those colourful leggings, that cool hat, that funky top, I need them now!

Claire Bouvier

Claire Bouvier is the founder of The Claire Closet, an initiative that empowers girls through eco art and fashion, while helping them develop lifelong skills in financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and innovative approaches to tackling social problems.  How great is that!  Bouvier made use of the many vintage dresses and skirts in Value Village and ‘supersized’ them, amping them up with accessories such as glasses, purses, and capes.  Each model sported a huge afro-like hairdo with a clothes hanger jutting out of it.  The overall look was very prim librarian gone off the deep end, in a good way.

Words + Photos by Aurora Chan

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Vancouver Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2014: Angela Huang, No Label Society Club, Evan Clayton, Dandilion Wind Opaine

Angela Huang

This year marks Angela Huang‘s debut at Vancouver Fashion Week… as well as her third year in the Fashion Design Program at Kwantlen University. I’m sure right now you’re as astounded as I was! When the first few models came down the runway, all I could think about was how architectural her work is. Indeed, her minimalist lifestyle and passion for architecture have influenced her design aesthetic. All you had to do was check out her Twitter feed after the show to see how genuinely well received her debut collection was.

No Label Society Club

Aurora & I both agreed that No Label Society Club was among our top designers for the evening. It must have been the gas masks that caught our attention, but it was the impeccable attention to detail that we appreciated. When the subtle things like asymmetrical hems and interesting panels were paired with the perfect finishing touches – from bags of his own design down to the shoes – we knew this was a designer to watch. Drew Kessler’s high-end street wear takes cues from non-conformity ideas like zeitgeist and is inspired by events like the Occupy movement. The name “No Label Society Club” is what you think it is – a rejection of materialism. Drew Kessler is based in LA and had his label after graduating from Woodbury College earlier this year.

Evan Clayton

Judging by the applause from the audience before the show began, Evan Clayton was likely one of the most anticipated shows of the evening. With his debut collection at VFW shocking the crowd with masks, blood, and gothic darkness, he returned to this season with a lighter touch. Although just as revealing, if not more, somehow his pieces looked like wearable couture. In my mind, I thought that if you wore the sheer bell sleeved pantsuit with the right tank top and shorts you’d be good to go, even if you were to just wear it to, say, a fashion show. I think there’s so much potential in this young designer, and I look forward to seeing what he comes up with next season.

Dandilion Wind Opaine

When the first model barefooted and dragging a giant leafy branch down the catwalk, it became readily apparent that the brains behind Dandilion Wind Opaine is a beautiful earth child with a whimsical and vivid imagination.  With a background in music, and having been on stage with the likes of Florence + the Machine, you can see how she treats her shows more like a theatrical performance. Each outfit was more fantastical than the last, with a sly sense of humour thrown in.  The climax was when a model crawled down the catwalk with a tremendously long white veil trailing behind her, carried by pairs of black-clad models, crossing fashion with performance art.  What an inspiring way to end the night.

Photos by Aurora Chan

Words by Aurora Chan and Miranda Sam

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