On April 7th, 36 talented fashion students graduating from the Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design took to the runway to showcase their grad collections. This annual event is always an industry favourite with every seat filled by the time the show begins.
2016 The Show was offered in a brand new location, The Imperial, on Main Street. Previous incarnations were held in the large theatre at the River Rock Casino in Richmond. The move to this more intimate setting meant that those in attendance were all closer to the runway. Everyone could really see the intricate detailing, and beautiful construction of the garments.
On entering, the lobby featured a display of portfolios, and lookbooks with students nearby to step in, and answer questions. The theatre was set up with a T-shaped runway. No seat was very far from the action. Three models – one collection – would enter from the back, and walk up the right aisle. All would take to the stage at the same time, and strike a pose. Then one at a time a model would walk forward to show off their specific look. As each returned to the back they exited off the other side, and walked back on the left aisle.
What worked well about this format was that the three looks were first viewed as a group to showcase how they worked as a collection. Then each was given a moment of individual focus. Entering, and exiting on the aisles offered those sitting further back a great chance to see the garments pass right by them . While 12 collections were chosen to be featured below, kudos are offered to every designer who showcased this year. This was one very talented group.
Thanks to the team who put together the very complete media kit. Bios/descriptions below were taken directly from it. Also, a special thanks goes out to the many sponsors who helped make this show possible – Tamoda Apparel Inc., CF Richmond Centre, Christopher Pike Photography, Coca-Cola, KPMB+public, Kwantlen Student Association, Envision Financial, Suki’s Salon, TJX Canada, Manulife, Arc’teryx, Imperial Vancouver, KenDor Textiles, and Speedpro Signs, as well as media sponsors Breakfast Television, Farichild TV, Omni TV, and Talentvision TV.
Iris Park – Noir Blanc
The designer has a Korean heritage, and builds her line with inspiration surrounding her life. She likes to break rules, and enjoys manipulating a garment in unconventional ways. Her passion besides apparel design consists of animal rights, and she believes in being the change she wants to see.
Noir Blanc’s Unscripted Autumn 2017 Collection is about expression of uniqueness rather than functionality. Every season’s theme is drastically different from one another, never confining creativity. Unscripted’s theme is Korean Hanbok, it takes the traditional dresses silhouettes, and fullness to recreate a modernized art piece using 3D detailing, and laser cutting technology.
Claire Cormeau – Nuage
Claire strives to make fashion more inclusive. She cultivates deep empathy for markets she designs for. Claire was selected by KPU faculty for the most original collection with the John Fluevog “Unique Soles” award. When not in her studio, she is road biking, or hiking up a mountain. She has a strong connection to the outdoors.
Nuage questions conventions, and subverts elements of wardrobe staples through ageless ready-to-wear. Age should not define us. This season, Claire reflects upon her Belgian heritage, and unites her cultural experiences with her love of the surrealist artist Magritte. She challenges us to re-familiarize ourselves with wardrobe staples. Claire’s 3D printed jewelry further exemplifies her design through a surrealist lens.
Madeleine McKibbon – Maison Margot
“My passion is to create objects with intrinsic value; objects that enhance experiences, promote connection, provoke thought, and inspire emotion. I am always searching for harmony between pragmatism and aesthetics.”
Maison Margot was developed based on the philosophy of slowness, and the principals of wabi-sabi to create clothing for women who appreciate the subtle, natural variations present in handmade objects. The Maison Margot aesthetic finds balance through asymmetry, beauty in nature, and depth in simplicity. Maison Margot was created for women who want to buy less, and wear more, for those who seek a pared-down wardrobe of exceptionally made pieces.
The Maison Margot woman appreciates clothing that is rich with narrative, and soul. One who is reflective in nature, she seeks an emotional connection with her clothing. She is not moved by “the cult of speed”, and doesn’t recognize meaning in mass produced fast-fashion, but rather in clothing that bears the trace of human hands, and honours the art, and craft of design. She sees value in pieces that can be worn, adjusted, mended, and kept for a very long time; pieces that get better as they age.
Cherry Lu – Imperfect
As an international designer, Cherry Lu, who has a Chinese background, and apparel industry internship experiences, fell in love with the art of solving design, and pattern puzzles at KPU. Cherry has a diploma in Fashion Merchandising from Blanche MacDonald Center, which complements her design skills. Cherry brings cross-culturalism into her designs.
IMPERFECT is a lifestyle brand for individual women, featuring distinguished leisure wear that is multi-wearable. The philosophy behind IMPERFECT brings sentimental value to apparel. It is not only a clothing line, but also a silent revolution for celebrating differences, and reflecting individuality.
Alissa Segal – Liminality
Alissa’s pursuit of an education in fashion has taken her around the world. Her design aesthetic, and view of fashion was inspired by her travels, and the people she met along the way. Alissa believes in fashion as an escape, and chooses to design for those who are sartorially fearless. She believes in fashion as an art form, which made the transition from fine arts almost organic.
Liminality is a unisex line. Unlike most current unisex lines, it will not lean closer towards the male gender, but instead has a balanced representation of the two. Unlike androgyny, that is used to dramatize cross-gender tensions, this line creates a harmony between the two. Each garment focuses on aspects of clothing that are traditionally associated with each gender.
Tina Liu – Little Earthlings
The designer Tina Liu was born in HsinChu, Taiwan, and moved to Canada at the age of 11. Her designs are inspired by abstract shapes, and 3D elements. Tina discovered her interest for fashion during her sewing course in high school.
Little Earthlings is a gender neutral children’s wear line that consists of fun pop-out appliqués, and colourful palettes. The collection thesis is to liberate the children’s imagination by having them play with fashion without the stereotypical restrictions on colour, or style. The garments are made with comfortable, and durable fabric so they can be handed down.
Yuliya Yaremenko – Ninetails
Yuliya Yaremenko was born in Kiev, Ukraine, and raised in Vancouver, Canada. Her lifelong passion for the fine arts led her to pursue a career in design. After her internship in the Men’s design, and development departments at Lululemon Athletica (Winter 2015), and exchange at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Australia (Spring 2015), Yaremenko discovered her enthusiasm for practical problem-solving, and the ideation process.
Ninetails is a line of erotic intimate apparel for comfortable every-day wear. Each piece caters to the socially-progressive, sex positive woman who believes that female bodies, and sexualities should be celebrated instead of restricted, and reshaped.
Parinaz Mistry – Muse
Pari’s design philosophy evolves around her background in fine arts, and a passion for creative design. She aspires to reduce mass consumption by creating thoughtfully designed, one-of-a-kind pieces. Her line, Muse encourages consumers to “buy less but buy well”.
Muse is a contemporary collection driven towards trendless fashion that uses a variety of avant garde draping techniques to create unique, and everlasting pieces. Muse supports the slow fashion movement that encourages lengthy use of quality garments through timeless, and sophisticated designs in effort to decrease the negative impact of fast fashion.
Claudia Demcak – Thrive
Dedication is what motivated Claudia to earn entrance to this rewarding program. Over the past four years her hard work has turned her into a thoughtful, technical designer. Claudia is passionate about sourcing holistic fashion production practices that are mindful of people, and the planet. After working on a dissertation called “The Meaningful Impact of Slow Fashion” while on exchange in England a year ago, Claudia decided to focus on slow, purposeful fashion for her final collection.
Thrive Zero Waste Clothing Company caters to the contemporary, ethically conscious woman. The Thrive woman loves beautiful clothing, but is also passionate about fair trade, and the health of the Earth. Each piece is inspired by a story, and by the zero waste pattern cutting process. Thrive is about innovating mindfully for less waste, more beauty.
Rinske Smith – The Rare
Rinske has a love for art, design, and the process of creating. Combining the creative with the technical has become a lifelong pursuit – aiming to develop items that are enduring for those who value quality over quantity, and unique over fleeting.
The Rare is a collection of beautiful, and effortless evening wear – presenting high quality, and unique pieces for those who buy deliberately, and buy to keep. The Rare woman knows who she is, and buys for herself. She breaks the rules to follow her own path. She will easily wear a ready-to-wear dress for her wedding, and continue to wear it for years to come.
Alicia Williams – Levin
Alicia began pursuing fashion in high school in Calgary, Alberta, where she then moved to Vancouver to further her education, and professional career. While studying Fashion Design, and Technology at Kwantlen she completed a semester abroad in Berlin, Germany where she became inspired by the history, culture, and street style in Berlin. Alicia has translated her inspirations in her forth year collection in combination with her interest in tailored menswear.
Levin is a company driven to revolutionize menswear through colour, prints, and innovative details. Levin is not only focused on providing diversity in menswear, but also on producing luxe quality apparel fabric. In all our garments we use traditional tailoring techniques to create high end garments. Our custom prints are designed in-house, and are exclusive to our garments.
Samantha Stringer – Vesuvius
Using fashion as artistic expression, Sam Stringer is a couture fashion designer, and photographer working out of Vancouver, BC. By fusing the fashion, and photographic worlds, she creates unique pieces that showcase the artistry behind fashion, aiming to put value back into clothing. Her work celebrates local artists, and collaboration breeds her creativity.
Vesuvius, the premier collection from Sam Stringer, showcases luxurious evening gowns for black tie events. By providing the creative, motivated entrepreneur with an artistic extension of her brand, Vesuvius gowns combine traditional mastery with modern aesthetic. Vesuvius features a signature dress, Joan, created in collaboration with local artist Jack Wass, reinventing his original painting “Come Home” into a unique gown.
For more information on the Fashion Design program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University please go to
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