VALT (Vancouver Alternative Fashion) hits the right note

This is the second year for Vancouver Alternative Fashion founded by Kat Ferneyhough and Kat Kozak, two talented women from Toronto, who recently moved to Vancouver.   They have figured out that in Vancouver, people go to fashion shows to be entertained or to be seen, unlike Montreal and Toronto, where the main audiences are buyers and media.  Their interesting mix of music, of alternative fashion and art struck the right note, this year.

The show was over three nights and had three distinctive themes of Utopia, Dystopia and Techtopia. They used models that did not fit the typical model profile of size, gender and overall looks. They also found designers that are not on the fashion circuit, some have specific markets they serve and it would take some digging to find them.

We particularly liked the accessory designers such as the fabulous and unusual jewelry from Carolyn Bruce Designs. It is quite a feat to show accessories on the runway and her work really stood out. Hat designer Boring Sidney Hats is definitely not boring. Having just come back from London where we saw Phillip Treacy hats close up, Sidney Hats could easily be competition so could Scheherazade Banoo dramatic hats. Could we see those at a Royal wedding in Westminster Cathedral?

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The clothing was also unexpected. Avant-Afi showed well designed, sports inspired clothing, colour blocked and with pleating, gathering detail. We liked her use of colour and fabrics. Laura Jackson Workshop had very detailed cream jackets and Skye Davies, who showed her work last year, had a brown and black coat with a painterly effect and a ruched yellow dress and painterly wrap.

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Zollection showed some detailed hand-dyed and handmade dresses with lots of detail such as flounces and roses. Mitmunk, showed their newest work that now included dresses and tops using the artwork of the founder/designer Wayne Elliot. Their work is targeted to the Cosplay market but some of their pieces would work for sports or to give a distinctive look to an outfit.

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No event such as this could be put on without talented people behind the scenes such as Vivian Blue, Miwa Ishise, Keiko Boxall and Himeka Okazaki and photographer Tammy Maltese. A few suggestions for next year. Check the quality of the sewing and craftsmanship, a few designers had good ideas but poor execution and if budget allows, find a venue that is more accessible. It could boost the attendance.  Overall a really enjoyable and entertaining show. Look forward to next year.

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