By Marilyn R. Wilson

Images byHarry Leonard Imagery

Let There Be Fashion! This is such a great tag line for Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) annual graduation showcase – Fiat Mode. Creativity is highly encouraged as students approach their grad collection, along with a demand for great design and finish work. This mix always makes for an interesting show.

Normally Fiat Mode is held on campus, but for 2015 (its 28th incarnation) VCC decided to bring their students to Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW). This gave the student’s collections and strong skills exposure to a much wider audience. As well, they gained valuable experience on what it was like to participate in an actual fashion week where their work would be judged by more than just family and friends.

“Hosting Fiat Mode at Vancouver Fashion Week gives these up-and-coming designers a chance to prepare for the real fashion world,” says Sarah Murray, VCC Fashion Arts co-program coordinator and show director. “They will be exposed to buyers, media and potential employers. After spending countless hours on their five piece collections they are sure to impress the industry and inspire the public.”

On the runway, the audience was treated to five looks from each of the 24 graduating students – 120 head-to-toe looks in total – and each stood out as unique. Ten collections have been selected to be featured in this article, but they are just a small sampling of a truly talented group of designers ready to make their mark on the fashion world.

Special thanks to Fiat Mode XXVIII show sponsors – Plum Clothing, Novus TV, Mason Sewing, Jarislowsky Fraser and Holt Renfrew.


Grace Tannihill – Winner of the Gabriel Levy Award

F/W 15/16 Graduation Collection, entitled Popbottle Wasteland. The Inspiration comes from the concept of being in between spaces, and how that makes us feel. Using hand painted prints to create line and depth on the garments, as well as appliquéd repetition of looks within looks speaks to my concept that change is ubiquitous. Materials include neoprene, gortex, wool Melton, coated nylon, rubber, and heavy jogging fleece. Garments were produced using Industrial sewing techniques and as well hand stitch appliqué of used materials.

Meghan Buckley – Winner of the Kickstarter Portfolio Award

Taking inspiration from the works of Japanese graphic novelist Katsuhiro Otomo, CAPSULE explores the idea of coping with the unwanted inner anxieties. This theme becomes tangible in pieces that look large and oversized but are constructed to feel fitted when worn and pieces that flirt with medical images. Bringing these concepts from the mind and to the cloth allow the pieces to realize their full creative potential and as well as provide the chance to engage in personal exploration.

Francesca Ramirez

My collection is designed for both men and women with no intention of gender specification. The collection is inspired by the torture of strait jackets and the environment in asylum institutions.

Kelsey Holden

My collection is called One Fellow. It is inspired by the folk music movement in Greenwich Village during the 1960’s and how Bob Dylan’s lyrics influenced a generation of youth to take a stand against devastating social issues that were prevalent at the time

Rebecca Fafard

My collections name is Bodhi which means enlightenment, or to be awakened. The collection was inspired by culture, and traditions of the Tibetan people and the survival against the elements.

Laura Evert

My collection was inspired by cybernetic female warriors and abandoned buildings. The combination of the past and future elements is reflected in my choice of natural fabrics like wool and leather, in contrast to synthetics like scuba knit fabric. I wanted to convey a sense of toughness with a touch of femininity to create garments that a woman with these qualities would wear in her daily life. I would describe my collection as street sportswear with a hint of avant garde.