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Jason Matlo Sample Sale: Big Savings on Stylish, Quality Pieces

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In a trendy little studio in the heart of Gastown is where you will find Jason Matlo’s studio. When I first arrived, I heard the sound of a sewing machine and shortly after, I saw the two designers hard at work. I thought maybe I was in the wrong suite or interrupting the designers but they were very welcoming and I quickly got straight to shopping. As I scrolled through every article of clothing on the three full racks, I was surprised at the great prices. Everything from fun patterned skirts to elegant sequenced gowns filled the racks; Each garment discounted at 60%-80% off!

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Jason Matlo & Wen-Chee Liu

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I found lots of treasures (unfortunately, not all in my size). A beautiful black silk skirt priced regularly at $400 and now on sale for only $20 was my favourite. The gowns were also unbelievably priced, a violet sequenced mermaid gown was down to $580 from $1597. The selection was directed towards work wear and evening wear with a variety of sizing. There is a mixture of elaborate patterned pieces, neutral pieces, and solid bold coloured pieces. I even spotted a one-shouldered dress in Pantone’s 2014 colour of the year, Radiant Orchid. While going through the racks, I noticed the great quality and soft feeling of the fabric that Jason Matlo uses. After trying on a few items, I ended up purchasing a $152 black cotton/nylon tee for only $15! I had a lovely experience, got a nice addition for my closet, and even got a chance to meet the two designers, Wen-Chee Liu and Jason Matlo. Be sure to check out the Jason Matlo sale next time!

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Words + Photos by DesireeAnne Holder

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Style SEEN: Ivido Jeans Fashion Show

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On Friday, January 31st, LuvnGrace Entertainment hosted the Ivido Jeans fashion show at the Waterfall Building. Ivido Jeans is a brand of push-up jeans designed in Vancouver and manufactured in the South American country of Colombia – the same place where hip-shaking songstress Shakira also hails from.

The show had a late start, leaving the crowd in much anticipation of the night’s entertainment. Once Magdalena Lima, designer of Maggie Fu Fashion and Zumba instructor extraordinaire, came on stage with a dynamic Zumba routine, she got everyone swaying in their seats.

Afterwards, when the models started coming out, there was immediately a sense the positive feedback from the crowd. Many people oohed and ahhed at the interesting blue hues of the denim, and of course commented on how good the girls’ assets looked in the jeans.

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Halfway through the show, two models even demonstrated exactly how much stretch Ivido Jeans actually have. They sashayed up and down the runway, bending, stretching, and finally performing the splits in the jeans!

Another highlight of the show was when Ivido founder Ivis Gonzalez performed a traditional dance routine with a gentleman, portraying the flirtatious dance of two lovers getting together.

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When asked about what exactly pushes up the jeans, Ivis told us that it’s simply in the way that the pattern is cut. This surprised us as we would have easily placed a bet on a padded seat.

Now this definitely intrigues us to go try on a pair ourselves! The Ivido boutique can be found at 638 West Broadway in Vancouver.

Words by Miranda Sam

Photography by DesireeAnne Holder

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A Fun and Skin Happy Night at Bare Essentials

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This is the first post by DesireeAnne. Learn more about her here!

Tuesday evening the Style by Fire team had the opportunity to learn how to get ‘skin happy’ at Bare Essentials Skin Bar on Richards street. When I arrived I was greeted by friendly faces and industry experts. I then received a tour of the skin bar and browsed a variety of event perks, including food, wine, and even a photo booth! I was able to view products and speak to professionals, learning different ways to achieve ‘skin happy’ skin.

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I was introduced to Shantelle Robb, a dermatology expert here in Vancouver. She taught me neat tips and tricks for my skin and introduced me to the skincare line Dermalogica. Upon asking about her biggest skin care advice, I was surprised with her response of “picking your skin’s favourite foods.” Shantelle went on to describe how certain foods are beneficial to specific skin types, “Pineapple is a great solution for oily skin because the enzymes exfoliate your skin from the inside out.” Most women (myself included), do not realize that good care of the inner skin will significantly increase the appearance of your outer skin.

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After gaining insightful information from Shantelle, I had an opportunity to chat with Skye Lintott, who is not only a sales rep for PRIORI skin care, but a former member of The Real Housewives of Vancouver. She discussed her background in esthetics and skincare as well as her passion for ‘beautifying’ women. Her eyes lit up while talking about PRIORI, “I love working in the makeup industry because every woman loves to be beautiful.” Skye shared how easy it is to represent such an amazing brand. The products spoke for themselves as Skye was giving free mini treatments at the event.

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Cleverly named after cocktails and drinks, Bare Essentials’ services range from target treatments to de-stress & relax remedies. The most popular menu item? The Mai Tai facial which hydrates customers’ thirsty skin with ingredients that reveal dewy and fresh skin. Not only did I receive an awesome gift bag on the way out, the entire Style by Fire team left with knowledgeable insight we can apply on a day-to-day basis.

Thank you, Bare Essentials!

Words by DesireeAnne Holder

Photos by Aurora Chan

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Woo To See You: Unique Designs that Stretch Your Comfort Zone

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Tucked away in the Yaletown Shops on Homer Street lies a little fashion gem: the whimsically named Woo To See You boutique. It’s where shoppers can find a well-curated mix of unique Korean designs, European styling, as well as local jewelry.

Two mannequins standing outside the shop gave a small indication that fashion existed inside the indoor plaza. From the outside we could see the entire shop in one glance. Although Woo To See You is small in size, it’s jam packed with great products, and a great shopping experience too.

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Ours began when we met Hans Woo, store owner of Woo to See You. Dressed in a slick leather jacket, harem pants, winter tuque, and peep-toe pumps with socks, we could tell this was one woman confident in expressing her unique style.

In her down to earth manner she told us her story. A fashion designer by trade, Hans worked in Korea’s fashion industry but needed a break from her work. She first visited Vancouver in 2008 and immediately fell in love with the city.

In 2009, she moved back, got some experience in retail and started planning her own store. She created an e-commerce store in 2012 because she wanted a flexible schedule. But the charming and extroverted Hans soon realized it was more fun for her to meet people face-to-face, whether it was customers she introduced new brands to, or suppliers stopping by to check on how their pieces were doing. So in the summer of 2013, she set up shop in Yaletown.

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The idea of Woo To See You was to bring Korean culture and style to Vancouver. And how exactly? It had to stay small and personal. Things have definitely changed since she started. Hans says, “When I first started this business I was only thinking about ‘Is this going to sell or not?’… It is a different culture and different style where I am from, so I was always thinking about if this will do well in North America… So I started thinking like, if this piece doesn’t sell, do I keep it? Am I confident enough to say this looks awesome, like you have to have this piece? Or do I need to wait for someone to walk in who really likes this stuff. So I started shopping by following my style.”

By sticking to her guns, she ends up spending countless hours researching the perfect mix of product for her customers. Each brand she brings in has to pass three tests: the design has to be unique, of good quality, and reasonably affordable.

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I tried on an oversized blue and white Pink Berry sweater coat, and immediately noticed there were 3 different kinds of patterns in the knit. I confessed to Hans that although the oversized sweater was super unique, it wasn’t a silhouette I was used to seeing on myself. She assured me I wasn’t the first person who reacted to the designs this way, and went on to explain why she chose a looser aesthetic.

“I don’t wear really tight-fitting dresses. We did have a lot of straight fit last summer. I had so many people who came in and tried them on and asked me for a belt, and I was like ‘No belt! Not allowed here!’”

We couldn’t help but crack up laughing because it’s so true: Vancouverites can definitely play it safe, but Woo To See You is here to push your comfort zone, in the kindest way. She takes great care of her customers by educating them that loose-fitting cuts, drop-shoulder styles and cocoon shapes are an aesthetic to be embraced, not belted. “I think people just need to try… and just experience,” Hans remarked.

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I asked her to elaborate on what she meant by ‘good quality.’ Instead of luxury fabrics we would expect like silk and cashmere, she made a case that good quality also meant longevity. Hans said, “I do love cashmere but I stopped buying cashmere products because it’s so hard to take care of them… so I do think about those factors. If people do buy this, is it easy to wash or take care of?” I wholeheartedly agree with her philosophy; it might be a lot more closet-sustainable if you can wear it a hundred times rather than wear it only a few times before the delicate fabric tears, or having to endlessly pay for dry cleaning.

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For many of us who are shop high and low, who pick up pieces at Forever 21 and occasionally drop a few bills at Holt’s, Woo To See You could be our new best friend. A beautiful black coat by Barcelona designer Nerea Lurgain retails at only $179 – a price which is nearly impossible to find in the mall let alone a Yaletown boutique. Anyone can afford to look unique here, as the store carries limited runs of each style.

When asked whether she misses fashion design, she said with a knowing smile, “I think I had fun with it but I am in a different place now. I have more fun curating pieces than making it. “

In the future, we will be seeing her own designs – although not in fashion. She and her husband, Justin, plan to start a lifestyle line (stationery, tote bags) named after his grandmother, Hilda, who had a passion for sewing.

“We’re really excited to do it! We just have to find some time to do it.”

Be sure to check out all the amazing designs at Woo To See You in Yaletown at 129 – 1208 Homer Street.

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Words by Miranda Sam

Photos by DesireeAnne Holder

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