Fashion students strut their stuff
The future of Canada's fashion industry opens eyes with fall show
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 12, 2012 06:00 am
Call it patriotism. Or maybe it’s just a more refined fashion sense. But lately we’re paying more attention to our homegrown designers.
A group of local emerging designers on the hot list is the graduating class of MC College’s fashion design and apparel production program.
This 12-student graduating class launches Western Canada Fashion Week with a year-end runway show on Thursday, Sept. 13 at TransAlta Arts Barns.
This premiere hot spot features a galaxy of innovative creations. Two of the indie-minded fashion designers are St. Albert’s own Janis Avellana and Kaylah Emily Prakash.
Although vastly different in concept, both Avellana and Prakash ooze a confident and provocative vibe, melding an energetic rawness with fresh sophistication. And the cool sexual undercurrent of both collections creates a heat that raises the temperature without touching the thermostat.
All told, 20 models will sashay down the catwalk modeling 100 different looks. In the past few decades women’s sartorial horizons have reached limitless possibilities. Not only do the clothes reflect different styles and personalities, but also mood and attitude.
The fashion show displays a variety of imaginative concepts from 1930s and 1950s collections to African, dark Gothic and a prairie theme.
“There’s a real diversity of outfits from alternative to lifestyle to formal evening wear and we’re ending with architectural futurism,” said Tammy Wells, a textile specialist who has taught at the college for 11 years.
The Sturgeon County resident’s past credits also includes a stint as fashion editor for the Edmonton Sun and host of the television program Thimbles and Threads.
In experimenting with their signature looks, the newbie designers have revamped the favourites you’d like to see in your closet as well as the statement-making looks that probe futuristic architectural influences.
“One collection is aboriginal with lots of beading and fringe. In the collection there are crop tops and narrow legged pants with beading down the side,” Wells added.
Prakash, a 2009 Paul Kane graduate, fell in love with fashion at a preschool age while perusing her grandmother’s copy of magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazar.
At 14, Prakash travelled to attend school in Dublin, Ireland, and through art classes discovered a deeper interest in designing and fashion.
As an emerging designer, Prakash’s vision was to “make beautiful pieces that have an elegant touch. I like to mix historic eras with a contemporary feel,” she said.
Her debut collection, Ruff & Honors is an Elizabethan-inspired collection with wickedly edgy modern sensibility. The under-the-radar cool of studs and chains is borrowed from the Steampunk era.
“I mixed modern trends such as chiffon and a lot of cut-outs, mixing it with Elizabethan brocade fabric and corsets. They used a lot of trim and I stole that idea along with exaggerated sleeves.”
The eight outfits are centred on a neutral palette of gold, creams, whites and black with mint green adding contrast. Details include standup collars, lots of gathers and lush, traditional fabrics.
Prakash is also the only emerging designer to include a couple of men’s outfits in her collection.
Avellana, on the other hand, creates drama with her body-hugging silhouettes for the cool, confident woman who’s always in control of a situation.
“My woman looks for something special. She always wants to be the centre of attention. She wants to be on top of all trends. She wants garments that have a little more. She looks for something unique,” says the 2009 Bellerose alumna and NAIT marketing graduate.
Her Alabaster & Gold spring/summer collection of eight outfits is tinted with black and gold, peaches and pinks, and blue accents.
Inspired by Egyptian mysteries, Avellana has embroidered futurism, the Steampunk era and art deco imagery in her zippy designs.
Avoiding synthetic fabrics in favour of natural wools and cottons, Avellana sticks to hardware elements such as metal zippers, grommets, rivets and the elegant Swarovski crystals.
Wells speaks about Avellana’s work with true admiration.
“Hers is one of the most intricately-seamed in the show. She has one dress that has over 30 pattern pieces. She has really challenged herself with complicated patterns. They have so many pieces it’s like a puzzle and they fit together.”
Avellana is also a strong illustrator and one of her design sketches is on the cover of the show’s program.
As well as providing an opportunity to see the up-and-coming trends, the show’s full lineup of garments will make you think of fashion in a serious way.
“These designers are the future of the fashion industry,” Wells said. “With their creative looks, you will see them sell on websites and stores. And you will recognize their names in the future.”
The fashion show starts at 8 p.m. TransAlta Arts Barns is located at 10330 84 Ave. Tickets are $25. They are available at 780-420-1757 or online at www.tixonthesquare.ca.