Article by: Marilyn R. Wilson

Runway images by: Peter Jensen Photography

Driving out to Abbotsford each April for the University of the Fraser Valley‘s (UFV) annual grad fashion show may be a bit of a trek, but it’s well worth the effort.  Absolute Style 2015 was held on the 29th this year and the graduating design students brought their very best to the runway. The packed venue held an appreciative audience of family, friends and industry supporters – creativity, strong technique and variety were the order of the day.

UFV’s fashion design showcase offers a really unique twist not seen at other schools. The first half of the evening is dedicated to offering examples of the best work in several categories regardless of where the designer is in the program. They could be 1st year students, or grads back for an extra semester.  It’s an inspiring segment that always captures one’s imagination.

Designs for the Specialty Market included bustiers (all in a great Moulin Rouge theme this year), coats, swimwear, jackets and graphic digital design t-shirts. Next came first year dresses. This section ended with art to wear featuring surface design, weaving and knitting. The last two in this category are especially impressive as the designer must not only come up with the look, but create the textile it is made from.

Then the part of the evening we had all been waiting for began – the three look collections created by this year’s graduating students. We were treated to everything from children’s wear, to pin-up, to lingerie, to evening gowns.


Vanessa Lefaivre –


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This bold evening wear under the brand Vere Audax is crafted from the finest silks and hand dyed to perfection. It offers a combination of audacious and grandeur that will turns heads.


Cydney Burton –


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Burton’s label New Black is a blend of bold sophistication and trendy minimalism.  This modern collection is perfect for the independent business woman.


Janna “Jam” Kingman –


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This contemporary sophisticated, sexy line had the unusual title of Smelly Jam.  It’s a rockabilly collection best described as the golden era meets a modern edge.


Juliet Loewen –



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Lowen’s J&L label offers sophisticated, trendy womenswear for the contemporary professional. Created from soft and fluid fabrics in muted tones, garments are designed with a minimum of seams and include subtle detailing.


Rebecca Zubel –


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Trash Lingerie by Zubal offered a truly provocative collection called “Kiss Me Deadly.” This sexy lingerie, designed to leave a lasting impression, invites you to take a walk on the dark side.


Alyson MacLaren –


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From first baby bump to final month, MacLaren’s New Genes Maternity line offers both comfort and style.  Garments are created in luxurious fabrics in a palette of nurturing tones.


Joline Cadieux –


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Cadieux offered garments for the cutting-edge, fearless, young urbanite. This “Street Lights” collection from her label The Social Platypus will help you shine in the dark.


Wren Barber –


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Inspired by the forests of British Columbia, Barber offered a beautiful collection of skating fairy costumes. Vibrant colours and light, flowing fabrics are used to help bring a feel of spring to the ice arena.


April Kliewer –


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No fashion show is complete without a beautiful gown. Kliewer’s label, Marilyn Rose, offers vintage inspired bridal wear in timeless and elegant silhouettes.


Absolute Style 2015 ended the evening by recognizing several outstanding students: Tessa Dumanski – Cican Art Showcase Regional Winner; Alyson MacLaren -.Most Marketable Award; Vanessa LeFaivre – Most Creative Showing Award; Juliet Loewen – Most Technical Award; and Sokna Duch  – Textile Award. 

 For more information on the Fashion Design program at UFV go to www.ufv.ca/fashion.