Vancouver is filled with independent boutiques and clothing stores selling local designs and wares. It also has one of the best fashion weeks in Canada, so it’s a great place to base yourself as a designer. These are the 10 best up-and-coming Vancouver fashion designers you need to know about.
NLA Designs stands for Nicolette Lang-Andersen, a South African-born but Vancouver-based fashion designer. Nicolette immersed herself in the local fashion community and built a solid reputation prior to beginning NLA Designs. Her 2017 spring/summer collection is called Sway, which offers “comfort and versatility with its bold, fresh style and colour palette that’s designed with every woman in mind”. The highlight is “the dress”, which has a unique waist tie to accommodate different body shapes and sizes.
A contemporary womenswear line launched in December 2016, Aiki District is made for travellers and nomads. Anahita Faghih and Maneli Nourbakhsh are the co-designers behind the label, which features well-crafted, quality, sustainable and ethically made products. “We create contemporary pieces with powerful silhouettes that last beyond a season”. Crop tops, jackets, jumpsuits and streamlined skirts are all included in their latest collection.
Sofia Méndez was born and raised in Chile, before she studied in Victoria and settled in Vancouver to begin Sofia. Each of her pieces is locally made, and she focuses on easy-to-wear designs that can effortlessly transition from day to night. Her latest collection includes a lot of black pieces, with a few prints as well. Sofia’s designs include blouses, dresses, jackets and oversized tunics.
A graduate of Vancouver’s Blanche Macdonald Centre, Alex S. Yu is based in Vancouver, London and Taipei. His garments “explore the fine line between reality and fantasy”. Alex likes to push the boundaries in his luxury streetwear designs; playing with proportions, contrasting colours and using different fabrics in one piece. His autumn/winter 2017 collection is called The Chromatic Diversion, and includes bright colours, interesting prints and unique silhouettes.
Vestige Story pieces are inspired by real women and their real life experiences. Designer Aileen Lee’s core value is mindfulness and being mindful of the environment, resources, relationships, craft and self. Signature Vestige tees, which are made from Japanese organic materials, are even packaged in a bottle with a mindful message tucked inside. Her last collection, for spring/summer 2017 included structured tops, flowy skirts and a chambray jumpsuit.
Sam Stringer is only 22 years old, but this emerging fashion designer has already been featured in Elle Mexico and Vogue. She specialises in luxurious and elaborate evening gowns, with her premier collection entitled Vesuvius by Sam Stringer. It premiered at Vancouver Fashion Week in the fall of 2016. Sam collaborated with local artist Jack Wass and transformed one of his paintings into a digital printed fabric too. The collection included a variety of different styles, from fitted to flowy dresses.
Taran is the British-raised but Vancouver-based designer of the Mahari Collection. Derived from the Indian word Maharani, meaning princess, Taran draws on her Indian heritage to create an inspirational collection. “The mix and match aesthetic is the core essence at the heart of Mahari Collection”, she says. Using quality fabrics, Taran’s designs include exquisite embroidered tops, colourful crop tops, flowing skirts and Indian-inspired accessories.
Rebeca Dascal believes people should dress for themselves as “clothes are the closest things to us. They represent us, our values and priorities”. Rebeca’s current designs are simple and elegant; in differing shades of yellow, black and grey. The pieces, available on her website, include coats, an off-the-shoulder dress and a lace dress. Rebeca’s designs are perfect for Vancouver and its ever-changing weather conditions.
Every Encima piece is designed and manufactured in Vancouver. It’s a contemporary menswear brand run by Faiz Lalani. Their recent fall/winter lookbook features clothing with a definite streetwear feel, but with unique cuts. The collection includes jackets, longline hoodies, draped cardigans and buttoned shirts in muted hues. It’s a refreshing take on menswear in Vancouver.
Katelyn Woodburn and Tina Kam are the designers behind Street & Saddle, which began in a barn. The duo bonded over their shared passions for equestrian-inspired clothing and ethical manufacturing. Their craftsmanship means their pieces are made to stand the test of time, which they hope will be passed down through the generations. Katelyn and Tina are also doing their small part to keep ethical business practices “front and centre”, as 90% of their products are made in Vancouver.