Allison Wonderland is “ fun, feminine and chic”. Designed by Allison Smith, the label creates pieces that are
meant to flatter, and instil confidence in the women that wear them.
Smith started Allison Wonderland in 1998, after graduating from Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Fashion Design & Technology program. She wanted a label that she could use to express her love for the playfulness, and effortlessness of the 70’s while keeping the garments wearable for everyday life. Her inspiration shows through in her work; it is timeless, and consistent in style, though there are slight variations from season-to-season.
All of Allison Wonderland’s products are made in Vancouver, where Smith resides. She showed her most recent Spring-Summer collection at Vancouver Fashion Week. Below is her exclusive VFW interview with Metro Living Zine.
How, and When did you get your start in fashion?
I studied at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and worked at only one clothing company before starting my own line. I decided to start my own thing when I moved back to Vancouver after spending some time in Montreal, and travelling. There weren’t very many fashion brands to work at in Vancouver back then so starting my own seemed natural. The line has evolved over the years, changing as my lifestyle changes.
Do you have a muse?
My friends. Girls on the street.
What type of music are you listening to right now?
I love the new Santigold , but I mainly listen to podcasts, and CBC Radio 1. I like to be informed as to what is happening in the world.
Which part of the job as a designer do you love? Which part do you dislike?
I really love getting into the design process, making mock up after mock up until I get it right. I design very hands on, briefly sketching something then sewing up mock ups. It is the hardest, and most painful part of the job. I cry during this part, but it’s the most rewarding! I detest hauling racks of clothes around to sample sales, but I have fun once I’m there!
Which three designers inspire you, and why?
Rachel Comey – love her everything!
Stella McCartney – born into so much, and has the talent to go with it.
Marni – the prints, and shapes!
What do you love, and dislike about Vancouver?
I love this city! The ocean, the mountains, lots of great coffee shops now too! And my family is here. Naturally, I detest the high cost of real estate.
What words of advice would you give to someone starting off in the business that you wish you had been given when you were starting out?
I wish I would have worked in the industry longer before starting my own lines, learned mistakes on someone else’s dime.
If your house was burning down which three things would you make sure you took out with you?
My daughter, my phone, and my favourite piece of art, a collage by Elizabeth Zvonar.
Do your parents approve of you being a designer?
Yes! After all these years, they are proud of me. My dad was a bit skeptical at first when I said I wanted to go to fashion school.
If you were not a fashion designer which other job would you like to be doing?
A city/urban planner.
What is the one fashion trend you wish had never happened?
I feel like I’ve reached an age where I can appreciate most things for what they are, so trends don’t bother me! I can be zen when I see tights as leggings, and pants as yoga pants at the office. Wide legged pants will be a problem for me. The skinny jean is so much easier to bike in!
Allison Wonderland Interview with Metro Living Zine
Allison Wonderland Designer Profile Summer 2015
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