VALT Day 1: Vancouver Alternative Fashion Week – Utopia

The Vancouver Alternative Fashion Week[End] (VALT) provides a platform to showcase the creativity of the local alternative fashion industry, bringing together fashion, art, music, dance, culture, and technology into a fully interactive experience over three nights of revelry.  After a highly successful debut in 2012, VALT was back bigger and better over the November 22nd weekend.  This year the theme revolved around the Post-Apocalypse, with three possible futures proceeding over the three consecutive nights – Utopia, Dystopia, and Techtopia.

Rococo Acid Candy

The first night was Utopia, representing the ideal future that is hopeful and optimistic, without any toil or suffering.  With the show hosted by the ethereal Jacqueline Ryan, the evening’s energy was immediately pumped up by the rousing dance performance by the amazing House of Barnes x Celinski Productions.  This was followed up by the equally arresting collection by Rococo Acid Candy.  A confection of colourful and playful creations traipsed down the runway, drawing the audience into the world of Willy Wonka and his sugar high.  Some of the gowns were made of multiple layers of newspaper, while others were downright delectable with jujubes and gum balls stuck onto the bodices.  A collection good enough to eat!


Having just been established in 2013 when the designer behind Zollection moved to Canada, the brand has already developed a very focused and polished vision.  Inspired by art dolls, the collection was a study in boho chic in its many variations and colours, with the models awkwardly stumbling down the runway like the rag dolls that they were.  The overall look with the fingerless gloves made me think of Pygmalion’s street girl Eliza Doolittle.  Beautiful.

Scheherazade Banoo

Scheherazade Banoo specializes in designing costumes for dancers, mainly in the tribal fusion belly dancing arena.  It created a collection of magnificent tribal headdresses for VALT and what can I say, it was jaw dropping.  Elegant and serene models in long robes glided out with crowd stopping art pieces perched on top of their heads, each one more elaborate than the last.  The last model came out on stilts!  And as if the sights weren’t enough, the designer herself was onstage throughout, serenading all of the models a cappella.  Breathtaking.

Milk Tea by Silent Kay

Kari Kanin

Skye Davies

Last but not least, Skye Davies is a local textile experimentalist who draws inspiration for her designs from nature and architectural forms.  Her cohesive collection revealed her innovative dyeing and fabric manipulation techniques, resulting in interesting textures and colour blending.  What I loved was that her pieces seemed very easy and comfortable to wear, flattering for all kinds of body types.  Lovely.

In between the runway sets, the audience was rocking to the tunes of the indie punk-pop band Modern Limits.  A band fronted by an Asian female with a Vidal Sassoon-like haircut, hells yeah!

VALT’s world of Utopia was exuberant and gorgeous; Style by Fire couldn’t wait for more!

Photos + Words by Aurora Chan

Aurora Chan

Writer & Photographer

Aurora Chan is a photographer, writer, actress, and model. She’s always loved fashion and the art of photography. By age 10, she was stealing her mother’s Vogue magazines and taking pictures with her first camera.

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