Future of Fashion Looks Bright at Annual Student Showcase

From children's clothes to bathing suits, graduates from the Wilson School of Design show off a diverse range of collections at The Show.

April 7, 2017

By Dominika Lirette

Velvet, wool, natural fabrics, tie-dye—we saw it all on the runway last night. Twenty-eight graduates from Chip and Shannon Wilson’s School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University demonstrated what four years of training has taught them (and showed off their final collections) at this year’s The Show at The Imperial.

The theme was sustainability (reflected in some of the zero-waste designs) and an emphasis on creating slow fashion pieces as opposed to fast-and-cheap manufacturing. And though the school is named after the family that started the athleisure juggernaut that is Lululemon (Chip is no longer on the board), there were no stretchy yoga pants to be seen. Instead, the emphasis of the fashion and technology program is on training future generations of designers to be knowledgeable in working with different fabrics, pattern drafting, garment construction and finding the right market for their work.

“Each collection is targeted towards a niche market,” says design student Wincy Chan. “It’s something that each of us has researched and found that there’s a need for.”

Chan’s collection plier, which means ‘to fold,’ had women in the front row leaning forward with envy as models strutted by in beautifully tailored wool coats and dresses. The folding of heavier weight garments was a  technique she learned during her time on an exchange last year in Rochester, England at the University for the Creative Arts.

A look from Wincy Chan’s plier collection.

“It’s the main driving concept behind my collection,” said Chan. “There’s a lot of fabric manipulation and traditional smocking techniques used to create three-dimensional textures in my garments.” Chan dreams of selling her work in boutique stores with well-educated business women in mind as her target demographic.

Other standout works included Ava Murovec’s biker-chic pieces for female motorcyclists, gender-neutral children’s clothing by Sammi Wong, a convertible hijab for female travellers by Maya Grigoruk, and gender-fluid suits by Sharon Chuang.

Bathing suit and cover up from Olivia Bickerstaff’s Akoya collection.

Our favourite though, was Olivia Bickerstaff’s colourful (and flattering!) Akoya swimwear line made for women of all sizes. “In today’s retail, it’s hard for women to find stylish, in-trend swimwear over a size large,” says the designer. Bickerstaff took strap width into special consideration, providing support for larger bust sizes, and used a laser-cutting technique on bathing suits with shorts, to create the illusion of the ‘regular’ bathing suit shape. Her goal was to accentuate the natural body.

“I have a lot of friends who go to the beach in t-shirts and don’t go swimming because they couldn’t find something they felt good enough in to wear,” said Bickerstaff. “For me, it was all about giving all women the opportunity to do these fun and amazing things you can do at the beach.”


Our Fave Looks from The Show:

Static/quo by Sammi Wong.
Mura by Ava Murovec.
Meridian by Maya Grigoruk.
Non Sequitur by Sharon Chuang.

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