|Vancouver Fashion: A Redemption Story|
|Written by Meg Orlinski - Tuesday, 31 July 2012|
Vancouver apparently is the third-worst dressed city in North America according to MSN travel. I, personally, am still not sure why anyone cared about this. MSN isn’t exactly top-of-mind when it comes to dictating what is hip and fashionable. In Vancouver, the news made a bit of a splash- it really hurt our feelings. The Olympics were only a year gone, and we had really TRIED our hardest to dress up and put on a fancy show for the world. It is just we are a city built around outdoor recreation, draft dodging and natural resource jobs. From a historical and contextual viewpoint, what did you expect? Paris, London and Milan are decadent fashion cities, but they are built around a millennium of inbred aristocracy spending tax money on yards of silk for balls where they could further keep it in the family.
We are just not as sophisticated.
The after-shock of the MSN travel article faded into the background. Vancouverites stayed calm, carried on and continued to try to reach their sit bones just a little higher in downward dog so they could release the tension in their lower backs. However, this past Tuesday, Canada’s own media enfant terrible Vice came out with another article about Vancouver’s fashion faux-pas.
As a former Torontonian Queen West personality, I can agree with some general points about these sportswear-based lampoons. (Although I just lived in NYC and saw all aforementioned faux pas as well; unfashionable people are just that in any city.)
Vancouver is a city of rainy weather and spotty social scenes, you tend to leave the heels at home and opt for anything waterproof. You start spending your money on camping gear and not the latest must-have designer accessories. No one else dresses up, so you are not inspired to either. You follow along with the yoga pant wearing masses. However, like in most sin-cities, you find some of the most compelling saviors. If you just pay attention there are amazing Vancouver brands working their hardest to change the ways of the (fashion) godless-hoards.
AW offered stylish totes made from reclaimed blankets, lighter cases from leather design swatches, and mini-moccasins for the wee stylish ones. Owner/Designer Andrea Wong is a Ryerson School of Fashion graduate, and was one of creative forces behind the Artizia’s Tulula rebranding. Wanting to move away from fast fashion, she now pours all her love and excellent design taste in AW. We look forward to more!
Jola V Designs is a freshman line by designer Jolanta Va. Using all reclaimed leather, the line offers the quintessential oversized clutch, make-up case, adorable tote with leather ruffles, the perfect fringed hand bag, and many other accessories for a style blogger approved look.
The craft of shoemaking is sadly on the decline. Brands like Josh & Jules are a rare and precious gem. Hand crafted in beautiful Whistler BC out of eco-friendly leathers, prepare to have the best feet on the block when you adorn these real labours of love.
Henderson Dry Goods showcased a beautiful selection of art deco inspired laser cut wooden jewelry.
Elroy apparel has show lasting power in the eco-fashion game. Since 2007 designer Leanne McElroy has been producing some of the most wearable and fashionable garments in the market. Her racks at Gather were overflowing with structured soft silk dresses, beautiful organic cotton knits, and trendy gauze skirts. Perfect esthetics aside, McElroy has partnered with a community of artisans in Indonesia to found what I am sure is the beginning of a larger sustainable fashion empire.
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