Vancouver is ALTernative. This is the tagline for the annual Vancouver Alternative Arts & Fashion Week (VALT), which was proven to be true over its 3-day celebration of all things creatively alternative from our city’s artists. The runway inside Chinatown’s Chinese Cultural Centre became a showcase of fashion that dares to colour outside the lines and stretch the wearer’s imagination to transform into whatever he or she dreams to be.
Style by Fire took in the celebration of wearable art and compiled together a list of our top favourite looks, in no particular order:
1. INTRICATE FANTASY
Steampunk meets subculture with this intricately pieced together collection. From detailed headpieces to shapely corsets, Nicole Rose Design’s collection showcases both her skills as a custom costumer and her imaginative passion, as well as knowledge of garment construction.
2. BE MY BALL N’ CHAIN
Based in Vancouver and not for the faint of heart, Protagonist Menswear offers men edgy garments. Between the ball and chain and houndstooth print, Protagonist is perfect for the leading character or antagonist man of style.
3. NEVER FELT SO GOOD
Fascinated with the active process of felting, Trish Chung of Fibre Art & Design shows off the substantial versatility and individuality while maintaining the simplicity that is felting. Her love of nature and her creative eye for design is apparent in this textured skirt and shawl.
4. LUMINOUS GODDESS
Beauty by Impairment, Exotic Couture, collaborated with Drafted Eminence, Exotic Headwear, and this show-stopping look was the result. Harkening back to Greco-Roman times, this is all Queen – strong, fierce, sexy, and demands attention.
5. BLACK & WHITE GEOMETRY
This year’s Most Promising Student Designer went to Sandra, and for very good reason. Her cohesive and tight collection of black & white ensembles in clean architectural lines was both modern and totally wearable. This dress’s stand-up collar provided a flattering frame for the face, while having a sci-fi edge to it. Sandra has a bright future ahead of her.
6. SILVER SPECTACLE
Carolyn Bruce Designs takes statement jewelry to the next level with her signature elaborate and highly imaginative pieces for the neck and head. This sci-fi look with bee-like goggles exemplifies how limitless Bruce’s imagination is.
7. LET IT GO TO MY HEAD
Hats off (or better yet, on) to MJ Paterson for her stunning display of millinery work at its finest. Working as a production manager at Hasting Hattery, Patterson has fine-tuned the skills to create stunning custom made hats and fascinators. Style by Fire’s personal favourite is this netted beauty worn on Vancouver’s own drag princess, Pyxie Mcqueen.
8. AQUATIC ILLUMINANCE
With the runway lights off, the audience was treated to a light show emulating the bouncing yet flowing nature of jellyfish. Hit the lights and this Trish P. showstopper garnered a reaction from everyone in the audience. Between the silhouette and colour choices, this finale piece was the pinnacle of everything Trish P. stands for: Do good, feel good, look good.
Working with Trish P., Bound by Bond showcased how custom her corsets can really be. Specializing in historical ensembles, Jenn Bond’s versatility shone through when paired with Trish P.’s bright print. Showcasing an array of styles, this corset stunner displayed Bond’s finesse and talent.
9. TENTACLE LOVE
Slug & Kraken invokes a desire for deep sea diving with their ocean-inspired clay creations. With ornate octopus pieces, seemingly gravity defying ear crawlers and neck pieces, the sculpture savvy designs are a swashbucklers’ dream. Just as dreamy were the printed tank tops and panties, both sexy and suggesting a bit of danger underneath the sea.
10. MYSTICAL REVERIES
Fresh off the runway at Brilliant!, Zollection adduces fairytale elements both whimsical and mystical. Showing at VALT for the third consecutive year, Zollection is the prime example of what happens when fashion is approached as art.
Photos by Mauricio Vasquez & Aurora Chan