Tag Archives: vancouver eco fashion week

Cool Designers at Make It! The Handmade Revolution

Make It-02

Make It! The Handmade Revolution is the largest independent retail show of its kind in Western Canada, with shows in both Vancouver and Edmonton.  Owned and operated by the sibling team Jenna and Chandler Herbut who are designers themselves, the idea behind the market arose from their own personal experiences in having difficulty getting their friends to come visit them at traditional craft fairs.  With Make It!, they strive to overhaul the craft market image and transform it into a hip and upbeat experience for shoppers, complete with food carts, licenced bar, and groovy tunes to pump up the vibe.  In addition, they create a platform for Canadian independent artists who create ethically made products to showcase and sell their wares.  Win-win opportunity for all!

Over the years Make It! has grown and flourished, and this year is the biggest one yet with over 250 artisans setting up shop inside the PNE Forum.  Shoppers can choose from a wide spectrum of handmade items, from pottery to felt brooches of your boyfriend’s likeness (for when you want to literally wear your heart on your sleeve or lapel).  What was a bonus for a frugal fashionista like myself was the fact that many of the items were very reasonably priced, especially compared to other markets.  And there was no doubt that inwardly reminiscing to the 80’s new wave tunes heard overhead enhanced my stroll up and down the aisles.  Thanks to the DJ who knew how to win my heart!

Dancing Leaf Design

Dancing Leaf Design had already caught my eye at the Hycroft Manor Christmas Market a week ago and didn’t lose any of its lustre the second go round.  Noriko Mahoney is the creator behind the brand who derives inspiration from small treasures in nature and transforms them into delicate jewelry made of Japanese lace.  Each piece is beautifully intricate and featherlight; wearing one of her creations adds an air of elegance to the wearer while at the same time feeling invisible as they weigh next to nothing.  My friend Liz fell in love with them all and was making subtle hints to her hubby….isn’t there some big day coming up in the next month that involves gift giving?

HJN Leather Craft Co.

As for myself, I fell in love with HJN Leather Craft Co. at first sight.  Made of ethically sound high quality vegetable tanned leather, the handbags and accessories are hand sewn using a traditional saddle stitch method.  Hand stitching is stronger than the usual lock stitch used in sewing machines and is favoured by leather workers for its durability.  Over time, as with all leather, the goods will soften and develop a wonderfully rich patina from exposure to the elements and oil from the owner’s skin.  The minimalist clean lines and structured forms are what made me melt with desire.  I’ve been looking for the Perfect Purse forever and HJN may have made the closest one to date.


Under:story is the collaborative brand of knitwear and fashion design by two friends, Terri Potratz and Kim Cathers.  Both emerging designers themselves, they bonded over their shared passion and aligned design sense, and decided to merge their talents.  Kinda sounds like how the Style by Fire team was created!  Newly launched in Fall 2013, Under:story uses reclaimed cotton and leather to add embellished touches to their one-of-a-kind garments, jewelry, accessories, and home décor.  I immediately recognized Kim Cathers from Project Runway Canada and Vancouver ECO Fashion Week fame, and it was inspiring to see how her career has evolved over the years.  Their pieces are indeed very unique, many a little puzzling on the hanger and only coming together when worn on the body.  They leave a lot of room for creativity, allowing the wearer to play and come up with her own personal interpretation on how to wear them.

Davie & Chiyo

Davie & Chiyo began as a pet project of sister duo Fumi and Himi Bull who designed and made clutches for bridal parties.  Their success in the bridal market has led to their growth into a multi-machine studio operation with a team of sewers.  Their line has also expanded considerably to include casual tote bags, day handbags, hair accessories, and jewelry.  I especially loved the recycled kimono fabric and sleek telegram leather clutches.  All the accessories showed polished craftsmanship and construction.

Make It! Market continues this weekend until Sunday December 1st.  Don’t miss out!

Photos + Words by Aurora Chan



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Circle Craft Christmas Market: Fashion Show & Vendors

2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the Circle Craft Christmas Market, which had its beginnings in the Vancouver East Cultural Centre and now takes up a massive ballroom in the Vancouver Convention Centre West with over 300 artisans.  To celebrate this special year, the Market introduced its first set of fashion shows which featured pieces from forty designers.

Style by Fire attended one of the fashion shows which took place on the Main Stage.  Produced and styled by Ashleigh Said and Carly Bradley who are known for their work with Vancouver Eco Fashion Week, the models skipped down the stage in colourful and funky ensembles.  Each outfit was accompanied by a white screen projecting a drawing of the same outfit detailing which pieces belonged to which designers and their booth number.  It was a fun way to get a sampling of the talent in the room in action.

Don’t miss out on the Circle Craft Market to find special handmade gifts for all those on your Christmas shopping list!  The Market’s last day is on Remembrance Day, November 11, 2013 from 10am to 5pm.


Montreal designer Eve Gravel caught my eye with its sophisticated feminine lines and pretty dresses.  I’m always a sucker for a great dress, seeing as I pretty much never wear pants.  Gravel began studying fashion in Quebec at the tender age of 16 and hasn’t looked back since.  Her brand was born ten years ago and has grown internationally, with a network of retailers in North America and branching out to Beirut and Kuwait.  In Vancouver, you can find her line in Lynnsteven, Forsya Boutique, and Kate French.

My friend Shay tried on a couple of the dresses and sure enough, was instantly transformed into a chic French girl who’s coquettish and always on the go.  Ooh la la!


Kessa Laxton is the Torontonian mother of two behind the children’s clothing brand Patouche.  Using natural fabrics such as cotton and linen and keeping everything from production to distribution locally in Toronto, Patouche strives to support the local economy and resource sustainability.  I’ve seen my share of environmentally conscious clothing lines for the little ones and Patouche’s aesthetic and design really set it apart from the rest.  With immaculate workmanship, the capelets and bonnets have a European sense about them and are incredibly adorable.  Pirate hats? Awww! Booties with little creature toes added to the front? Too cute!

You can find Patouche at the following local retailers: Pebble Baby, Precious & Few, and Room6.


Chloë Angus is a homegrown eco-chic company which designs and produces all its pieces in Vancouver.  Not only does it strive to sustain the environment, it sustains a healthy body image – their clothes are cut to fit women of all shapes, sizes, and ages.  Attention to detail is shown in adding features to increase the wearer’s comfort, such as a seam down the middle of the back to contour the spine and built-in snaps at the shoulder to ensure the top never slips off.

Angus’ signature piece is the versatile button wrap which can be used multiple different ways, including as a shawl and a button down top.  A special Spirit Collection of these wraps were created in collaboration with the First Nations artist Clarence Mills.  He provides five different prints, each featuring a symbolic animal.  These wraps provide the perfect gift for a special lady in your life.

Chloë Angus can be found in its own retail store on Dunbar Street, Vancouver.


Dconstruct Jewelry originates from Winnipeg and makes eco-friendly jewelry made of recycled resin.  Each piece is handmade using discarded architectural materials used to make skylights, store fixtures, and vending machine covers.  The organic and textile details added to the pieces are sourced from developing countries around the world. The bright translucent look of the resin with the modern designs embedded within are what appealed to me.  They represented a marriage between artificial and organic, hard and soft, transparent and solid.  The jewelry line has expanded to include smartphone cases and flower vases.

The pieces are sold throughout North America; in Vancouver, they can be found in Dream Designs, Two of Hearts Clothing Inc., Elements Wellness Centre, and Make at Granville Island.

Photos + Words by Aurora Chan

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Eco Fashion Week 2013: Cornelia Guest at Holt Renfrew

No week of amazing eco fashion would be complete without a fabulous party to cap it all off.  Holt Renfrew was host to a lively soiree Thursday evening at its downtown store, complete with hors d’oeuvres, open bar, and DJ.  It was lovely to see all the talented faces we have come to know over the week, from designers and stylists to bloggers and industry supporters.

There was also a trunk show featuring the beautiful handbags by New York socialite and philanthropist Cornelia Guest.  Her line of upscale bags, wallets, and dog accessories are 100% cruelty-free and use vegan alternatives rather than leather.  Her products are sold in Holts, Bloomingdale’s, and various other high end retailers across North America.  Guest herself made an appearance at the party, adding a touch of high society to the room.

Style by Fire had a blast attending the 7th season of Vancouver Eco Fashion Week and can’t wait for the next one in six short months!

Words and Photos by Aurora Chan

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Eco Fashion Week 2013: The Scene

Team Sbf @ Eco Fashion Week

Team Sbf @ Eco Fashion Week

Although I have attended the sustainability seminars in the past 2 seasons, this was Style by Fire’s official first time attending the Eco Fashion Week runway shows. They were amazing, and so were all the fabulous fashion folks we met in between the shows. Of course, we always love seeing Marilyn Wilson, who’s always connecting us with the crowd, and we love her for that. We finally met Jennifer Gray, owner of Jennyfleur Loves boutique in Yaletown, and Nicolette Lang Anderson, aka NLA Stylist. Memorable moments include interviewing Tammy Joe, who debuted her first re-worked vintage collection, Young Oak, this season at EFW.

I love the production of EFW and all the eco-centric values it stands for, one of the things I do miss is running onto the runway right after the show to take pictures with everyone. I’m crossing my fingers that in a future season to come, us fashion brats will get that luxury. Until next time I’ll do my part by a) only buying things I love and will wear, b) keep the cash in Canada (difficult, but it must be done), and c) buy less to accomplish a goal (ie buy a nice down vest for work instead of buying a vast array of sweaters).

xo, Miranda

Photos by Aurora Chan

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Eco Fashion Week 2013: My Sister’s Closet, TildArt, Twigg&Hottie

My Sister’s Closet

My Sister’s Closet first opened in the 1990s as a means to connect with community —providing free clothing to women and families escaping domestic violence, unable to return home and needing to start anew. They return to eco-fashion week for the 3rd time this season. The collection titled,“Fearless,” was curated by nine women, including two artisans who have designed unique pieces for the event.

I must say, I was super impressed with the styling. The ladies curated such a creative collection, and I had overheard many conversations during and after the show that would support my personal opinion. The stylists were smart to style the vintage pieces with a rebellious theme, that way they were able to layer in pieces in unexpected ways. The last look was a wedding gown paired with body and face chains. Who would have thought that such a look could be pulled off elegantly? A wide variety of cheery pop-rocker songs, like “I Love Rock n Roll” and Pink’s “So What” played in the background. I felt the styling was done to perfection even more so when I saw the collection afterwards on hangers. I simply could not have imagined styling the outfits like that. Great work, ladies, and we hope you show at Eco Fashion Week next year!


Hungarian designer Matild Janosi flew from across the pond to show TildArt, her non-fabric material collection, at Eco Fashion Week. The show was split into two distinct sections: the first used re-purposed materials that looked like rubber tires (the first model brought a bicycle with her down the runway – hint?) and the second was like a surreal film noir fantasy with looks decorated with old-school film strips. To be honest, I didn’t think much of the first collection. Call me eco fashion ignorant, but I couldn’t see how women would like to wear what looked to me like rubber on their bodies. However, I felt like Janosi really turned the show around with the film strip collection. She really worked with way how film flexes and the curved lines it creates. I thought it was creative, cute, and would have worn the dresses to a fancy event like a film festival gala.  And I’m sure everyone was in awe of the glowing jellyfish-like hats.

After the show, Marilyn Wilson asked Janosi if she had packed the film strips separately and had assembled them when she arrived in the city. Of course I had never even thought of that issue. But immediately after learning that her answer was affirmative, I felt that the collection was that much more delightful. Overall, a very playful collection, and I’d I’d like to see Janosi work with non-fabric materials as the base layers in future collections.

Twigg & Hottie

Twigg & Hottie celebrated their 10th year anniversary with the Eco Fashion Week audience as the closing show of the week. Glencora Twigg, Christine Hotten, and Jessica Vaira’s combined efforts, We3, was shown as well as a variety of other local, Canadian, and sustainable brands. The collection was divided into 3 sections to represent the boutique through The Past, The Present, and The Future. For looks in the past, a grad project by one of the owners was shown. There were some really interesting cuts in a few dresses, exactly the type of craftsmanship I expect from this established Main Street boutique. What we have listed as the 18th and 25th images were stellar. Though there isn’t a back picture of #18, I’ll let you know that the denim extends all the way up to her cover her entire back. Is that not genius or what? For #25, you definitely need to see it in action; the way the circular hem flows is quite heavenly. Congrats to Twigg&Hottie and we hope there are many more wonderful decades for you ladies to celebrate!

Photos by Aurora Chan

Words by Miranda Sam

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Eco Fashion Week 2013: 68 Pound Challenge featuring Evan Ducharme

The inspiration behind Value Village’s 68 Pound Challenge is the fact that 68 pounds represents the weight of clothing and textiles that an average North American throws away each year.  Emerging designer Evan Ducharme was chosen this year to take on the creative feat of transforming this 68 pounds of fabric from Value Village into a brand new collection.  He was mentored by Kim Cathers, designer of the first two 68 Pound Challenge runway shows.

Ducharme began his passion for designing sustainable fashion early, learning how to sew from his aunt and putting on fashion shows in high school using mostly repurposed garments and textiles that were donated to him.  He studied at the Visual College of Art and Design in Vancouver and later interned at Vancouver Eco Fashion Week, which further instilled his belief in the importance of environmentally responsible practices in fashion.

His Spring/Summer 2014 collection for the challenge was entitled “Halcyon”, denoting a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy or peaceful.  His inspiration came from a myriad of things, including the imagery of 1960’s French films, as well as the need to design clothes free of excessive detail and embellishment.  Being his first foray into menswear, Ducharme aimed to connect his already established vision of the Evan Ducharme woman with that of the man.

Ducharme’s creative vision resulted in an exquisite collection of whites, blacks, and greys.  With clean lines and attention to detail, the minimalistic pieces were both modern and very wearable.  My favourites were his dresses, which were feminine in a non-fussy way and flattering for all body types.  Ducharme successfully transformed thrift into high fashion; I would buy the entire collection if I could!

Words + Photos by Aurora Chan

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