Thursday, 17 September 2015

Western Canada Fashion Week: Looking Back

September seems to signify change: the transformation of leaves, the instant temperature drop between seasons, transitions from a summer routine, and sometimes even bringing forth a new start to the year.

I, for one, like change. I like to experience new things and to be challenged out of my comfort zone. Especially with fashion, this brings forth new layering possibilities and transitional looks for a brief but creative time. On a broader scale, the September issue in almost all fashion magazines tend to be the thickest ones, and fashionistas near and far anticipate the coming fashion weeks in the four fashion capitals: New York, London, Paris, and Milan. Not only are the sightings of new designs, styles, and collections intriguing, but the anticipation of foreseeing next season's trends stir up excitement for what's to come.

With that being said, Western Canada Fashion Week (WCFW) officially starts today. With a decade of history behind their 10th anniversary, I switch into fan-girl mode knowing that Edmonton has created a fashion scene of its own and has captivated an audience and market beyond just that of Alberta (hence the name change a couple of seasons ago).

Attending fashion week with my friends (I'm on the far right, followed by Carmen, Steph, and our classmate Nicole)
To be honest, I haven't watched as many shows as I'd like to. When I was a student, finding time was challenging as WCFW fell around the first round of deadlines or exams, but there are some highlights that I can still recall like it happened yesterday. I remember my first show in my first month of University the fall of 2009 where I was all starry-eyed and giddy to be even seated in the audience of a local fashion show while it was still known as Edmonton Fashion Week.

Behind the scenes of WCFW
The 2013 ECO-Style team & models
For us Meraki ladies, WCFW is not only an event but also a part of our academic journey and professional growth over the years. WCFW has offered a platform for many growing artists and designers. For that, much gratitude has been extended to the organization for the opportunity to learn, gain exposure, and bring upon awareness in supporting local talent. I still recall when Ann, our aspiring designer of this blog, entered the Emerging Designer Competition in September 2013. This experience pushed her confidently to grow as a designer and learn amongst friendly competitors while gaining valuable feedback from experts in the field.

Ann with her model, Catherine, wearing the Cygnus dress

Our beauty guru, Carmen, found her passion for makeup artistry by volunteering during our student fashion shows as well as backstage during WCFW by doing makeup on aspiring models. In fact, this year she will be the lead makeup artist for the showing of New Classics Studios. From volunteering, to spurring a hobby into a passionate career, WCFW has played a part in helping to bring forth the possibilities Carmen never imagined for herself.

Carmen doing makeup on her model, Sarah
As with Steph, she has been involved with ECO Style, a student group that focussed on repurposing clothing to lessen the impact on the environment. In collaboration with Goodwill, she styled models and made a statement that one can be environmentally conscious as well as fashionable. As a DIY enthusiast, this was a memorable niche experience for her.

Steph with her model wearing the outfit she refashioned

Likewise, in my last term of University, I was a member of ECO Style, and this capped off my final term beautifully. I was not only attending WCFW, but was also a creator of two refashioned outfits that my models wore down the runway April of 2013. Thus, a fruitful experience wrapped up my time with the Human Ecology program at the University of Alberta.

Myself and the two refashioned outfits worn by model, Megan (left) & Sarah (right)

This year we're looking to celebrate our milestones alongside WCFW as they enter their 10th anniversary. As well, there are some wonderful showcases we hope to catch. If you are looking to support and experience something local this time around, WCFW is one that is not to be missed! Check out the line up of shows!

xo Sarah

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