Conversation with Alisha Schick

Are you self-taught or did you study fashion design?

Fashion for me was a complete accident, a friend of mine was going to hair school at MC COLLEGE and suggested since I was good at sewing and making my own clothes that I should check out their fashion program. I had initially wanted to be a physiotherapist... 

 

Is there someone in the fashion industry who inspires you?

 It was my instructors at the college that pushed my process and design work and who never gave up on me despite numerous sewing mistakes... My Instructors inspired me to take risks and helped me to execute complex ideas... 

 

What made you take fashion more seriously and make a career out of it?

As an internship In 2001 I interned with an Edmonton success story for a brand named Fiction Clothing being able to be a part of something that had started so close to home this really changed my perception of the industry

 

How did you come to start your own line?

Three of my close friends decided to open small boutiques bamboo ballroom and Meese clothing this gave me a platform to run my own brand and design the clothes I wanted to wear. Many independent stores before this did not chapter to my vision for the brand, having mentors that own businesses are great for creative like me.. 

 

 How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

when I started out in fashion I had to make my own opportunities ... We had an industry here that was changing ... Ten years later we have a community now that can cultivate careers Being able to hire someone to work for me is the best feeling as a business owner

 

 How would you describe your brand?

The brand started first with menswear. I was working with a collective of people in a studio who were driven by underground hip hop...  I did a lot of independent projects that happened organically with not a lot of rules or setbacks... These opportunities inspired a process and aesthetic that still resonates in. My brand today

 

 What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

Inspired by our alter ego Suka clothing is a lifestyle brand inspired by music high fashion and sub cultures, with an emphasis on wearable silhouettes and detail orientated design

 

 What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?

Biggest lesson learned ... just do you! Competition is healthy but the best competitions are the ones you have with yourself because you can only determine your own success... 

 

 Where do you go for inspiration?

My inspiration comes from experience.  Everyone I meet every opportunity and collaboration that's what keeps me going

 

 If you were a superhero, what kind of powers would you have?

Super power -- ability to clone myself I could always use a twin

 

In your opinion, which super villains needs fashion advice?

All super villains dress better than the super heroes they own up to who they are while some may dress quit flamboyant most villains aren't running around in spandex tights

 

What advice do you have for other aspiring fashion designers?

Advice - I will quote my good friend Janis Galloway the owner of publicity room, you got to give a shit!!! There is no half ass in fashion you just won't succeed.

Conversation with ALEEM ARIF

Let’s talk to Aleem Arif, creator behind the fashion label Bano eeMee. Aleem Arif left his career as a stock trader in New York to pursue fashion, and thus Bano eeMee was born.

Are you self-taught or did you study fashion design?

I am self-taught. I used to be a stock broker prior to switching my career to fashion design.

 

Is there someone in the fashion industry who inspires you?

Alexander McQueen’s life story and how much work he put into building his brand. People who work hard always inspire me J

 

What made you take fashion more seriously and make a career out of it?

I love fashion and being creative hence I chose fashion design as my medium of creative expression. I am very grateful to be able to pursue my dream job each day because it doesn’t feel like work at all.

 

How did you come to start your own line?

I wanted to be creative, work for myself and make a difference. Bano eeMee allows me to do all this and more. I get my creative fix by designing amazing leathers for Bano eeMee. I make my own schedule and I try to create fair work opportunities in the third world through the creation and manufacturing of my designs. We started by employing three people. Now Bano eeMee employs sixty artisans in South Asia.

 

How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

The design aesthetic hasn’t changed much however now when I design I pay a lot more attention to little details. Versatility is also very important to me. I want my designs to not only be visually appealing but also fit conscious, comfortable and functional.

 

How would you describe your brand?

Bano eeMee is a Canadian luxury leather label that prides itself on creating timeless designs and using sustainable and ethical practices in realization of its designs.

 

How is your work received internationally?

We have only recently started marketing outside Canada and are very humbled by the love we have received thus far.

 

What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

Architecture. You can see it in my design lines and in the structure of Bano eeMee leather jackets.

 

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?

Being kind and genuinely nice goes a long way.

 

 Are you superstitious or do you have any rules you live by?

Work hard and love all

 

Where do you go for inspiration?

No particular place J inspiration is all around us. I love people watching, traveling and architecture and these heavily influence my designs.

 

Do you design your own clothes, or you have go to label?

My personal wardrobe is quite small. I focus on buying pieces that are comfortable, well made and that I can wear lots. My style is not label/ brand driven.

 

If you were a superhero, what kind of powers would you have?

I would be Captain Planet with all his powers.

 

In your opinion, which super villains needs fashion advice?

Green Goblin’s style could use some sprucing up


If you were to date super hero, who would you date and why?

Dating a super hero would be too much work so I think I’ll pass J

 

What advice do you have for other aspiring fashion designers?

Work hard, be open to critique and aim high


Anything we should be keeping our eyes open for in the future?

Lots is in the pipeline would love for you to connect and follow my fashion adventures through Instagram: @Bano_eeMee or Snapchat: Bano_eeMee

 

 

 

Conversation with Lennard Taylor

Are you self-taught or did you study fashion design?

Self taught but study everyday.

Is there someone in the fashion industry who inspires you?

Rick Owens, Yoshi Yamamoto and of course Alexander McQueen

What made you take fashion more seriously and make a career out of it?

When I started sewing, the designs started flowing out of me.

How did you come to start your own line?

Starting making tshirts with a friend and it wasn’t enough, I wanted to make more interested thought evoking pieces

How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

My work has evolved to suit my customers, their needs and wants.  I want to cater to my clientele.

How would you describe your brand?

Timeless, clean and POCKETS!

How is your work received internationally?

My work has been received very well overseas in Asia, once I get more exposure over there I know it will take off

What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

I am fascinated by oversize cshapeless clothing, I like to create pieces that are timeless and can drift from season to season.

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?

Take a deposit and get a book keeper

Are you superstitious or do you have any rules you live by?

Life is this moment, right now, its all we truly have.  Don’t worry about tomorrow or the past for right now is all we truly have.  Be findful and thankful for all we have.  Rules are to make people smile and stay positive in any circumstance.

Where do you go for inspiration?

The sketch pad.

Do you design your own clothes, or you have go to label?

I design and construct the garments, I feel good designers know how to sew the pieces in their collections.

If you were a superhero, what kind of powers would you have?

If I was a superhero I would love to fly!

In your opinion, which super villains needs fashion advice?

Yikes hard question, I would say superman, his costume is pretty sweet but his clark kent needs some help


If you were to date super hero, who would you date and why?

Not real, Wonderwoman.  Real person Scarlett Johansson playing black widow in IRON man 2.  I’ve always had a crush on her and her hubby for that matter.

What advice do you have for other aspiring fashion designers?

Sew until your sick and then keep sewing.  Also unless you’re prepared to starve pick a different industry, fashion is an art form.

Anything we should be keeping our eyes open for in the future?

When I live paint at one of my next shows!  I’ll live paint on the models (with smile)

Conversation with VANDAL

Are you self-taught or did you study fashion design?

Studied fashion design at Toronto’s Seneca College – Fashion Arts

Is there someone in the fashion industry who inspires you?

Two Japanese designers, Yohji Yamamoto and Nigo (founder of street-wear giant A Bathing Ape)

What made you take fashion more seriously and make a career out of it?

I have always taken fashion as a genuine interest – and when I learned how to create it, it took the passion to a new level.

How did you come to start your own line?

I wanted to create fashion under an alias, so a separate brand detached from my own name seemed appropriate. The goal is to create a whole new identity for the fashion itself, I did not want to have any association with it.

How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

With each collection, the fashion becomes more refined, inherits better construction and fit (as each season teaches me something new). Aesthetically, styling has become more sophisticated and mature but I constantly try to maintain a sense of playfulness.

How would you describe your brand?

VANDAL illustrates a hybrid of street-aesthetics and classic tailoring. An outerwear specialist, the label draws influence from multiple disciplines of fashion; fabricating statement pieces with a premise that is unmistakably fun-to-wear and exciting. Conceived in 2014, VANDAL serves as an alter-ego; a medium in which unorthodox styling, pattern design and colors can be relentlessly experimented upon - creations that communicate a sense cool and boldness.

How is your work received internationally?

Equally enthusiastic overseas; fashion is a universal language and when you inject excitement into your clothing, the reaction is always positive.

What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

Soft, pastel colors, and photography. These things will be very apparent in the SS/17 Collection.

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?

Always be time – sensitive to the “fashion calendar”, always create a timeline and plan and stick to it at all costs.

Are you superstitious or do you have any rules you live by?

Not superstitious. The only rule is that anything the label creates, must be top-notch.

Where do you go for inspiration?

Impossible to pinpoint any specific area(s) – inspiration is organic and comes from any and everywhere.

Do you design your own clothes, or you have go to label?

I design everything, including pattern making and fit assessments.

If you were a superhero, what kind of powers would you have?

Spider-man, with Tony Stark’s bank account.

In your opinion, which super villains needs fashion advice?

Pretty much all of them, whoever thought leotards and spandex jumpsuits were good a good idea?!

If you were to date super hero, who would you date and why?

Psylocke from X-men, because her outfit and sex appeal.

What advice do you have for other aspiring fashion designers?

Be willing and prepared to make compromises from your personal life / time – fashion design is extremely demanding.

Anything we should be keeping our eyes open for in the future?

Spring Summer 17 Collection @ Toronto Fashion Week, and hopefully one of the finalists at Mercedes Benz Start up!

In Conversation with Hulos by the huy hai long.

Let’s talk to very talented designers Huynh and Hai Long behind The Hulos. Let me start off with congratulating you on your success exhibition at Western Canada Fashion week.

What originally made you want to study fashion design?

Hai Long: Fashion is the bridge to bring Vietnamese, our beloved country’s culture to the world.
The Huy: Once, I saw a Vietnamese man being despised at a party in a foreign country because of his obsolete fashion. That event had driven me to study fashion design.


What made you take fashion more seriously and make a career out of it?

Many designers approach fashion by looking forward to its magnificence, but then lost themselves in it’s frivolously and flashy. In our opinion, fashion is not only talent itself, but also a demonstration of many skills and understanding in many aspects. A designer is also a psychologist, a politician, an architect, an economist, a scientist, and many other jobs. To exist in this industry, a designer need resolve and experience. After achieve both of those, we decide to start our career.


What was the first article of clothing you ever designed?

Our very first collection was called: ''Overcome Rain Gate", it is our pioneer in both materials and techniques of Ao Dai. This collection had brought for us many awards within and outside of our country and we are proud of it. The 3D embroidery technique which we used is popular press in this collection.


How did you come to start your own line?

I and The Huy (my friend) come to know each other in a famous fashion design contest in Vietnam. In this very same contest, we all have won awards. Those were the stepping stones to form the brand hulos by The Huy and Hai Long.


How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

After creating our brand, we are invited to some famous fashion shows, contracts from Europe, cloth design for movies, and dress for Misses Vietnam in international level contests.


What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

At the moment, I am fascinated by Japan culture, especially their old paints. I am researching those arts to put it into my new collection. I am hoping to have the chance to introduce those in the next CANADA FASHION WEEK.


What is the biggest lesson have learned since you start your company?

The biggest lesson that I learned is how to balance our HULOS design style and the style of our guest. It is the key to success of HULOS.


Are you or do you have any Superstitious rules you live by?

We follow the Buddhist teaching. The philosophy of Buddhist teaches us many lessons to help us grow up.

My principles of living are sharing, live slowly, think differently and love more.


Do you design your own clothes, or you have go to the label?

All the clothes we worn everyday are designed by ourselves. We believe that if we cannot even dressed ourselves then there is no way to help other people.


If you were a superhero, what kind of power would you have?

If I am a super hero, I want a power which can transform other everybody to be good (because a fashion designer can only create external beauty, but cannot perfect people soul)


If you were to date a super hero, who would you date and why?

I want to date with Blink in Xmen, we want to walk through the many spaces, to feel the miracle of life.


In your opinion, which super villains needs fashion advice?

I think sexual criminals need fashion advice, because when they are beautiful and charming, they will not need to waste time to attack other people. In place of it, they can wait for others to attack him. Laugh*


Is there someone in the fashion industry who inspires you?

We like Alexander McQueen for he who has many pioneering design, Kansai Yamamoto because he always recalls and protects the traditional value. They are the special inspiration from whom I can learn to develop my fashion design skills.


Who are the celebrities would you love to dress up and why?

Cate Blanchett is the star whom I want to design for. She gives out a mysterious aura, beautiful, attractive yet full of mystery which makes people always curious about her.


How would you describe your brand?

The combination of both Eastern and Western styles is the highlight of our brand HULOS, therein, the 3D embroidery technique is the soul.


Western Canada Fashion week; was it your first fashion show? How is the response?

A professional and reputational show. You have created opportunities for young oriental designer like us to introduce our creation to CANADA’s customers. On this occasion, I want to send my thanks to the organization and team in the fashion show.


What advice do you have for other aspiring fashion designers?

Create something different, you are unique.


What would you like to achieve before the end of the 2016?

I will strive to conquer European market.


What's next for you professionally?

We will apply our collection to the international catwalk “Ready to Wear”, and strive to join international advanced fashion week in Paris, France.

For More Pictures from Western Canada Fashion Week please visit: Hulos By The Huy Hai Long

Conversation with Creations Youd by Youdline Marcellus

What are your origin?

I was born in Haïti, Raised up in Québec, Canada. I also proudly displays the colors of my roots in the collection Homeland presented at the Western Canada Fashion Week 2016


What sparked your interest in Fashion?

Simply a Google ad saying: Create your own jewelry. The advertising caught my attention. The beads and stones stores had always fascinated me. I remember when I was younger, to spend several minutes looking through the beads store windows to admire the variety of stones, colors and shine. Ironically, I rarely wore jewelry. It was definitely a sign from God!


Are you self-taught or did you study fashion design?

I made my first jewellery collection by myself.  It was so well welcome that I've decided to learn the technics by entering into a jewellery school (École de joaillerie de Montréal), where I've perfected my skills in basic jewellery creation techniques. I also attended workshops on costume jewelry design alongside professionals Chris & Alix.  


Is there someone in the fashion industry, who inspires you?

I love designers Eli Kuame & Helmer Joseph for their avangardist style, designs and meticulous attention to details.


What made you take fashion more seriously and make a career out of it?

Each piece that I created was loved and purchased by my family and friends. Later a friend introduced me to a few contacts who had shops in downtown Montreal. This is how the adventure took a more serious and professional twist.


Do you design your own clothes or you have to go to label?

I design my own jewellery, accessories & clothes.   I have presented my first clothes line at the Montreal Caribbean fashion Week 2015 and actually taking a pattern design & sewing course.


How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

Despite its young years, Creations Youd has already been noticed on the international scene by being invited to participate in the DPA Pre-Award Gifting Suite of the 2014 Emmy Awards. I had the opportunity to meet and offer my designs to celebrities such as Anne Betancourt, Angela Basset, Blair Underwood, Shawn Toub of Homeland, RJ Mitte of Breaking Bad and Jimmy Jean-Louis.  Shortly thereafter, Creations Youd realized her dream of participating in the prestigious 2014 American Music Awards gifting suite at the Nokia Theater, in Los Angeles, CA.  


What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

To be invited to mainstream events such as the Western Canadian Fashion Week make me feel proud and inspired to create more unique designs. It helps me keep pushing forward, believing and focusing on my dreams.  I put a lot of passion and devotion into my work.


Do you have a process you follow when starting a new design?

I don’t really have a process. My inspiration comes from the materials I use such as: Swarovski crystals, semi-precious stones, vegetable & recyclable leather, Fabrics,   stainless chains, etc... I never know what the next design will look like. Each piece is handmade and unique or reproduce in a small quantities.  


Where do you go for inspiration?

I am an ambassador for Foundation Voix Angélique (FOVA) which helps underprivileged children in Haiti and Africa by offering them an education, food and medical care. For each sale ma de, Creations Youd will give back 10 % to Fova foundation. To know that my humble contribution will help an innocent children, our future leaders, really inspired me to create more beautiful pieces.


If you were a superhero, what kind of powers would you have?

As a superhero I would have the power of reading people's mind and the power of duplicating myself in order to produce unlimitedly , be everywhere & spend quality time with all my cherish family and friends.


If you were to date super hero, who would you date and why?

I would definitely date Superman. “Laugh!”  He is a gentleman, has all the powers and he's very handsome. He would surely inspire me to create unique and avangardist superhero suit :-)


In your opinion; which super villains needs fashion advice?

I think the Joker need some fashion advice “Laugh!”

 

Conversation with Nazila Sawhney

Tell us a little bit about yourself — how long have you been working as a designer, and what sparked your interest in fashion?

I am an Afghan/Canadian designer. My love for fashion was obvious from an early age, I still remember my favorite sandals which had a red apple embossed on the front with wooden platforms. I used to wear them all the time even when they hurt. But, I seriously considered a career in fashion about 12 years ago, I took a chance and never looked back. I love the idea of how fashion can create opportunities for the artisans, for so many people in remote areas of India and locally here in Edmonton. I aspire everyday to create fashion that benefits non-profit organizations through fashion shows and charity events.


Is there someone in the fashion industry who inspires you?

There are so many elite designers who inspire me daily but mostly it's the people who wear my clothes and the excitement they portray through those pieces that inspire me the most.


Do you design your own clothes, or you have go to label?

I design and create my own collections under the label Nazila Couture.


What made you take fashion more seriously and make a career out of it?

I think you have to take what you do seriously from the get go. My job is an industry that is very competitive and ever changing and evolving and one must treat it like a full time job.


How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

I have evolved like a caterpillar...lol! You are trying, you are alive but it's not just what you want. But, the passion to learn and the hard work has paid off. I am blessed.
 

What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

Presently, I am working on a collection basedon my country of birth (Afghanistan), it's most challenging for me. It's quite dynamic, too much history, and at the same time lack of monumental inspirations. I am working through images and a lot of research.
 

Do you have a process you follow when starting a new design?

Yes, absolutely. It's important to have a process, a routine. Most collections are based on inspirations along with the currents trends and demands. Inspirations determine designs, cuts, embroidery and the purpose of the collection.


Where do you go for inspiration?

I research through visiting sites specific to my needs, right now I am reading on history of Afghanistan, from early 60's and how fashion was perceived to today's outlook on cultural costumes.
 

If you were a superhero, what kind of powers would you have?

Power to protect and provide for kids who are forgotten about, ones that don't experience life as they should. Ones that don't get to smile, or have access to basic food, water, shelter. I would take care of them all.
 

If you were to date super hero, who would you date and why?

I can't just name one specific super hero, but anyone that goes out of her/his way to do something for humanity is a super hero. I am not good at dating, but love to have a chance to meet Angelina Jolie, I think she is one of the most balanced human beings, I have tremendous respect for her.


In your opinion; which super villains needs fashion advice?

Haha, super villains? I wouldn't want to give any super villain any fashion advice, I would rather not get involved...lol!

Nina Nayema designed by Naimo Awale

At what point did you figure out “I want to design shoes?”

I think it was back when I was in high school and I started working at Yorkdale mall.  It was then I imagined the perfect pair of shoes that would give me the appearance of those pretty stylish girls who wear sexy stiletto and knowing full well I could not walk in high heels. I remember wishing someone could design the perfect shoe for an awkward tall girl that could make me look classy and chic.


Are you self-taught or did you study fashion design?

I've never studied fashion in school, the closest thing to fashion design I did was make-up artistry at Seneca College part time. Business and accounting was my full time studies.


Do you ever read fashion or design magazines?

No, I don't often read fashion magazines.


What inspires you as a footwear designer?

My inspiration comes from some amazing people I've met in my life, clients, friends, family, places I've been, cultural background and it's become a way I can express my ever changing emotions. Fashion to me is an amazing way to express yourself, and when I design I do it with the essence of the person in mind or a feeling inside.


Do you have a motto when it comes to shoes?

Yes, "Capturing your style, grace, and beauty in every design". My passion is to design shoes that is someone's dream pair, weather it is a simple flat or a pair of heels they have dreamed of for their special day.


What are your criteria for well-constructed and well-designed shoes?

The quality of the shoe and embracing the diversity of women's shoe sizes so that anyone can find a pair of NINA NAYEMA shoes in any size.


What style of shoes do you like and dislike?

Can't really say I dislike a style of shoes, but I do love any eye catching pair in whatever style it is designed.


Of all the shoes that you’ve designed, which has given you the most satisfaction?

I think I would say my Mimi pointed toe full suede wedges with the gold wedge heel detail. It had an almost mirror like finish that when you had it on it looked like it doesn't have a heel at all. And the best part was it was low and comfortable enough to walk and work in them. (Photo attached )


What do you wish people would understand about working in fashion industry?

I think in any industry it's always a learning process and everything comes with experience, drive and passion.  


If i were a supervillain; what would your powers be and why?

I think I would say the power to see the future. So that I can see the outcome of everything. No surprises!


What’s next for you?

We are working on a couple of projects and always creating new designs whether it is jewellery, handbags or shoes.


Anything we should be keeping our eyes open for the future?

Of course, for NINA NAYEMA. We hope to become Canada's Number 1 shoe brand.

In Conversation with Rodrigo Sanchez

What made you decide to quit your job from big oil company and move to italy and attend Ars Sutoria?

I knew from the beginning I did not want a long term career in the oil and gas industry. It was not my calling. But, I am very thankful for the experience and opportunities it presented. I always had a passion for working with leather and using my hands. I guess it runs in the family. My grandfather and father have been working with leather since they were young. It was their way to express their creativity. I remember growing up hanging out with my dad in our basement watching him make shoes, sandals and all kinds of unique pieces. At 28 years of age I decided it was time to get serious about shoe designing. My mom planted the seed about studying abroad, so I let the idea process. During that time my mom had a good friend who's brother from Chile was visiting Edmonton and he is a shoe pattern maker. And that's how I met one of my mentors, Florencio Borquez a 70 year old man who has been pattern making since he was 14. He introduced me to the art of pattern making. This really inspired me to get educated about the craft. I asked him if he could recommend any institutes. He told me all the best pattern makers he's met all attended Ars Sutoria in Milan, Italy. This solidified my decision to attend Ars Sutoria.


Do you ever read fashion or design magazines?

No.


What inspires you as a footwear designer?

My parents own and operate a shoe repair. So we are always around shoes. Many beautiful luxury shoes are serviced at our shop. It isn't hard to find inspiration there. My family always encouraged and inspired me to express myself with shoe making and I'm so grateful for that. They are my greatest inspiration.


Are there any materials that you would like to explore further?

I am trying to explore as many different leathers that are ethical. These days transparency is more common which helps choosing materials.  I am truly a believer in quality and that's what you will get with hand crafted leather shoes.


Do you have a motto when it comes to shoes?

My motto is quality over quantity. Well-made shoes are always a good investment.


What are your criteria for well-constructed and well-designed shoes?

You can tell the quality of a shoe usually by the materials that are used. Well-made shoes are designed to be maintained and serviced. For example; a quality shoe with a leather sole can be re soled up to 3-5 times depending on the client of course and how often they moisturize the upper leather. This will ensure years of enjoyment.

 

What style of shoes do you like and dislike?

I admire all shoes. I am trying to get as much experience as possible with all kinds of designs. They each have a uniqueness to them. Some are more challenging then others. But you learn more when overcoming obstacles. Sometimes I'll get stuck late in the studio and then after a good night sleep I have no problem figuring it out and moving on. It's a good idea to have a few projects going on at the same time to help stay stimulated.


Of all the shoes that you’ve designed, which has given you the most satisfaction?

The next one.

If someone is interested in ordering shoes from Zapato Sanchez, what advice can you give them about selecting style and colour?

Don't be afraid to express your creative side. Be true to your inner artisan.


What projects do you have planned for the future?

To awaken the public of the existence of locally made shoes where they can be directly involved with their creation.  

Conversation with Miss Canada 2015/2016 Petite - Norella King

 Persian photo: Live With Passion Photography  Theme and Makeup: Sarika Mehta

Persian photo: Live With Passion Photography

Theme and Makeup: Sarika Mehta

What are your origins?

I was born and raised in Calgary, AB so I am quite Canadian! As for bloodline, my Fathers side is of Yemeni decent, and my mother Northern England.

How were you discovered? (Modeling)

Its interesting you say for modeling, because honestly modeling was the LAST thing I wanted to get into. I started acting at in elementary school and that has been on my biggest passions. Through musical theatre I got into dance, and through a combination of the two I started doing freelance TFP shoots with photographer friends of mine. Modeling has always felt the most unnatural art form for me to engage in, my favorite shoot to do is candid and lifestyle, where there’s no real “posing” involved. So there was no real discovery, just through networking through acting and dance I did more and more collaborations with different photographers.

How do you stay in shape?

First and foremost I feed my body properly. That is 85% of how I stay in shape. With eating a rainbow of endless nutrient rich vegetables, good lean protein, whole and complex carbohydrates and a healthy helping of great sources of fat, like nuts, fish oils, chia seeds, avocado, and very limited refined sugar and junk food. This keeps me mostly feeling great and ready regardless if I am at the gym or not. But all that to say I LOVE TO MOVE! I am involved in a variety of training: Muay Thai, strength training, calisthenics, obstacle course races, boot camps, gymnastics, parkour, trail running, I absolutely love to use my body in movement. I am always looking for the next challenge to push the physical limits.

How would you define your personal style?

Another funny question for me. When I am “off-duty” from Miss Canada Globe events and other speaking engagements I love to live in lose gym wear, jogging pants, hoodies, runners. Comfort is always the default. I can wear the same outfit over and over and not care. When I am “on-duty” I love pulling inspiration from style icons Kate Middleton and Jessica Alba and love the look of the Audrey Hepburn 50’s classy glam.

Do you have a go to label?

Hmmm, no.  

Style icon?

Kate Middleton, Jessica Alba, sometimes Lenny Kravitz

Best advice you’ve ever received?

Feel the Fear and do it anyways.

You are the Miss Canada Globe Petite 2015, how does that feel?

When I won, it was a bit surreal. I came home and hid for a few weeks because I was very overwhelmed. But now it feels normal to use this platform to raise my voice on things that matter and that need to be spoken out about. Sometimes it is a bit odd walking into an event with a label across my body, but hey if it grants me more ability to speak out then so be it!

What was the biggest challenge for you as a Titleholder?

To show the public the title “Beauty Queen” is not one-dimensional. There’s a certain cultural stigma when it comes to beauty pageants, and from past events I can see why. But not all pageants are like this, now they are calling on women in all their realness to rise up in confidence, embrace 100% who they are, shine naturally and to fight against the ridiculous standard media throws at us. Trying to maintain a balance between embracing my femininity and celebrating it through being a Queen, but also making sure I’m showing other women that without the fancy dress and hair I am still JUST as powerful and worthy.

What is your proudest accomplishment in your life?

The realization that my ambitions are not driven by money, reputation, cultural success or material things. To realize I have accomplished this mindset was incredible. I am very proud of this for it is counter-cultural and can be a more difficult path to live, but I have never been so full of life.

What do you like the most; being an actress, social working, dancer or model?

By far, serving others less fortunate. My absolute dream is to be able to serve those affected by war overseas, whether it be as a soldier through the CAF (Canadian Armed Forces) or a missionary, I can’t wait to get to the roughest places and be able to be some form of hope and practical help to someone.

If you were a superhero, what kind of powers would you have?

I would be an Avatar. The ability to control all the elements. Think Korra :)

If you were to date super hero, who would you date and why?

This may sound a bit weird, but if ages were appropriated, Aang the Last Airbender, and the CARTOON series NOT the fail of a movie  Why? Because he is SO FUN! Not only that the emotional capacity of Aang is admirable and desired in any male I would consider dating. Also to note, his heart for people, how he sees the wonder in everything, how he primarily sees the best in people and his desire to fight for love, peace and unity for the world at his own cost. His air-bending moves are also quite BA.

What’s next for you?

Joining the CAF and to study in political science and international relations.


Anything we should be keeping our eyes open for the future?

Well down the road I plan on shifting our healthcare system from heavily reactive to proactive. This means including, nutritionists, naturopathy, personal training, TCM, counseling in our health care. To prepare for good health, instead of reacting to bad health.

I am also about to launch a Spoken Word video I recorded in November. It is very well done by very talented friends of mine. It is the piece I performed for my talent at the pageant! Stay tooned!


Growing up in a Muslim family and then choosing Christianity; how did your family embraced your design?

I am very blessed to have a very accepting and beautiful family. Spiritual faith is often not spoken about within my family, we all respect each other in where we choose to place our faith. I know this would not be the case in several different countries and scenarios, so I do not take this for granted and consider myself blessed.

 
In all your film project experience, who was the most fun actor/actress you’re calibrated with? (Hint: Red Wine and French fries)

ARCHIEEEEEEE!!!!

In one sentence; what is your advice for younger generation?

You are not a product of your circumstance or environment(s). You CHOOSE your life regardless of how tough it may seem. You CHOOSE who you want to be, and if you don’t choose you allow others for you. You CHOOSE whatever future you want. When life happens, its’ up to you how you CHOOSE to react. You always have a choice.


Gilles Wouanko, Founder of African Fashion Week Edmonton

Intouch.NEWS sat down with Gillas Wouanko, founder of African Fashion Week Edmonton. AFWE was created in 2013. He explored his inner desirer of fashion while his stay in Paris, Montreal and now in Edmonton. African Fashion Week Edmonton is the high profile African focused even in Edmonton. Held during the Black history month. 

What are the three attributes that fashion show producer should have?

For me a fashion producer should be
- Very creative,
- A great team worker and leader usually have a big team to manage
- Should be able to handle pressure


The Day of the show your survival kit will definitely include?

- Keep your cool
- Be organize, have a plan and a schedule
- Delegate
- Communication

The most memorable location, which has hosted one of your events?

Weber Exclusive: The location, the space, the high celling, the staff. Just perfect.

What difficult situation you have faced and how you got out of it?

A difficult situation would be going to meet different businesses for potential sponsors, partnership etc... I feel like people are not really responsive, most of the time they don’t even give you the opportunity to explain present your project or to explain what its about.
How i got out of it, You keep pushing until you meet the right people who are willing to take the time to hear you and realize that you actually have something interesting going on. Like at Weber Exclusive for example.

Want is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company Luxure Productions Ltd?

Never give up, keep pushing.


What would you suggest to those that want to be involved into the business?

Be very patient, open minded and ready to work hard

 

You are a fashion designer? Will we be seeing your designs anytime soon?

Yes i am a Fashion designer, presented my first collection at AFWE 2015. i don’t think i will have the time to finish my collection for AFWE 2016 but will have a cocktail party to showcase thecollection when ready.


Anything we should be keeping our eyes open for in 2016?

We are having:
- Miss Africa Edmonton (About showcasing the inside and outside beauty of the African Women as well as her intelligence, elegance and grace.)
 in Summer
- Miss Afropolitain in Toronto May 2016 (Pageant contest showcasing afropolitain young ladies beauty and intelligence)
-  Luxure productions Ltd yearly networking cocktail party around September
- The yearly winter ball  
- Charity Gala as I am working on a charity project i will have a Gala to introduce the project (no date yet).


Conversation with Aman Dhalay - Javeda Designs

How do you define "fashion" and why do people care about it so much?

Fashion means something different from person to person, but at Javeda fashion to us is a tool from which we can define ourselves, express ourselves. Style is a mechanism through which one reflects their personality and preferences to the world. Fashion is a method of personal expression. People care about fashion because it’s something which is engaged with daily and something which we use to reflect ourselves, our persona, our taste, etc. It is through fashion that one is able to stand out and feel good about themselves.

 

Why did you decide to become a fashion Designer?

I have always loved good design --whether it was interior design or couture. When it comes to creativity and design I was influenced by both my parents. My mother has always been a fashion diva who serves as an inspiration to me. My father has influenced me with his creations, designs and meticulous attention to detail. I developed a passion for interior design at a young age and later in life I created my own fashion brand and interior design business. To me the two fields are closely linked. Both a beautiful living space and a fine piece of clothing require the same amount of creativity, craftsmanship and attention to detail.

 

What is your favourite part about being a fashion designer? What inspires you when you are creating your designs?

My favourite part of being a fashion designer is that I am able to creatively express myself and my clients through designs! Inspiration can come from anything and anywhere. But most of my inspiration comes from my Indian cultural heritage infused with the western culture which I was born into. My clothing line is a fusion of this inspiration; however I also focus on a lot of traditional Indian wear.

 

What was the first article of clothing you ever designed?

The first piece I ever designed was when I was 15 years old. It was a dress that I designed and stitched for my 6 year old cousin. The dress was of a black and white checker print on cotton fabric, with little red bows across the neck line. I remember the excitement when it was completed!

 

Who are the celebrities (Bollywood and Hollywood) you would love to dress up and why?

Bollywood – I have many favourites but one in particular that I would be honoured to dress up is Sonam Kapoor. She would best carry my designs.

Hollywood – Sarah Jessica Parker. Ever since “Sex and the City” she has been my favourite Hollywood actress. I have always loved her fashion in the show and in real life.

It would be a dream come true to dress both these beautiful ladies up!

 

What matters to you most as a fashion designer?

As a fashion designer what really matters to me is quality of my work and how I can make someone feel and look beautiful in my designs.

 

 

How do you feel you have grown or changed as a designer since you entered the fashion industry in 2009? What have you learnt since you started out?

It’s been 7 years since I launched my brand and as any designer in the beginning it’s always a struggle to get your brand out there.  You have to understand your market and people’s desires, and based on that you can move forward. Product knowledge is essential in being able to bring my clients vision to reality, and this learning is continuous. Each year as time passes fashion changes and as a designer I need to stay on top of my game.  

I first started designing professionally for family and friends and soon after I developed a well-rounded clientèle. In 2010 I had the opportunity to run a fashion boutique where Javeda was one of the brands that was carried amongst other Bollywood celebrity designers. Having a store front gave me the experience of running a business and understanding the market. I begin taking part in local fashion shows and then was invited to Western Canada Fashion Week in 2011 where I launched Javeda’s first collection “Vibrant”. In 2012 I became part of WedStudio as their South Asian Bridal Gown designer.   I have learnt that being a designer and running a business is 2 different things and you need find a balance between both to make a successful brand.

 “Aman Dhalay” in one word would be?

Creative

 

“Javeda” in one word would be?

Couture

 

If you were a superhero, what kind of powers would you have?

I think it be fun to have the super power of being able to read minds. I’d like to know what my clients are thinking, their visions, desires, ideas, to be able to truly bring to life what’s in their imagination! But in the meanwhile we here at Javeda go with the traditional chat over some tea or wine.

 

What’s next for you?

Currently I'm excitedly developing our 2017 collection. In the long term we are working towards participating in the New York fashion week.

 

Anything we should be keeping our eyes open for the future?

There are always plans with Javeda! But a girl can’t spill all her secrets. Follow us on Facebook at Javeda and Instagram @javedadesigns to keep tuned with the unravelling of our plans!



Conversation with Estella Lokiru - EJR

Estella Lokiru is currently an upcoming fashion designer from Calgary, Alberta. Her brand is call EJR by Estella Lokiru. All the apparels are hand-stitched. She made her first skirt when she was only 14 years of age. Let’s talk to Estella and find more about her

 Designed by Estella Lokiru

Designed by Estella Lokiru

My interest in designing was sparked by my desire to help the Orphans in my home country Juba, South Sudan
— Estell Lokiru

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your label?

 Few of the biggest lessons I learned is the importance of networking and time. Being in the fashion industry is not as easy as I had thought but I have been blessed to have such great response with EJR. I was featured in AFWE (African Fashion Week Edmonton) and on The Sunday Omony Show at Shaw Channel within my first year of designing. 

30% of proceeds goes to the Orphanage
— Estell Lokiru

How would you describe your design aesthetic?

 With EJR, I want every woman who wears it to feel comfortable, strong, beautiful, sexy and different/unique. Most importantly, feel good about making a difference in the world. 

If you are a superhero, what kind of powers would you have?

If I was a superhero, my power will have to be being able to be in 2 places. So many things to do.

 Designed by Estella Lokiru

Designed by Estella Lokiru




What sparked your interest in Fashion?

My interest in designing was sparked by my desire to help the Orphans in my home country Juba, South Sudan. I love fashion and I have been sewing since I was about 9 or 10yrs old. I went to visit the Orphanage back in 2013, the situation and conditions those children are living in literally brought me to tears and I just knew right then that I had to do something to help change it and what's better than using fashion to change the world. 30% of proceeds goes to the Orphanage

Are you self-taught or did you study fashion design?

I am self-taught. I have been considering going to design school to better my techniques definitely.

Where do you find inspiration for your creations?

My inspirations comes from the fabrics. The way a fabric feel and moves, is how I decide what to make. I don’t sketch and each piece is hand sewn so, every piece is like a work of art for me.

 Designed by Estella Lokiru

Designed by Estella Lokiru

Being in the fashion industry is not as easy as I had thought but I have been blessed to have such great response with EJR.
— Estell Lokiru

What’s next for you?

Fundraisers for the Orphanage home and working on a new collection.

Anything we should be keeping our eyes open for in the future?

New summer collection and my website




Conversation with Macano Designs

The most fabulous part of being a designer for me is being able to make my pieces come to life
— Macano Designs

Why did you decide to become a fashion designer?

I think I’ve always wanted to be a designer. I can remember vividly when I was 6years old I created a swimsuit and I was proud of my handy work. But the designer bug truly bit when I started to do Carnival Costumes in Toronto.

Where does your artistic influence come from?

This might be the cheesiest response. But I draw inspiration from everything people, nature, colors and most importantly music form there I pick a theme and run with it.

What is your favorite part about being a fashion designer?

There are so many awesome parts of being a fashion designer; The most fabulous part of being a designer for me is being able to make my pieces come to life on each model also getting that feeling and then saying “That’s it” hands down the best.

How do you describe your fashions and style?

My fashion slash style is a bit of Art, mixed in with Fashionista with a dash of Couture.

What do you wish people would understand about working in fashion industry?

To me the most important thing to understand about the fashion industry is expect the unexpected and know how to be your own event manager. Nothing about being a designer is easy I think I speak for most designers when I say we love creating but after your creation is finished you’re tasked with model hunting and event planning being ready for what comes next or just being able to improvise is key.

What advice do you have for other aspiring fashion designers?

The best advice I can give is “Follow your dreams” don’t let anyone tell you “You can’t make it” if they do just say these wonderful words “Just watch me”

What's next for you?

My next step is, design more and sing more!


Anything we should keep our eyes open for in the future?

Yes for sure come to my Feb| 11| 2016 Show titled “LED Dress Fundraiser” and look out for my next show which is in titled “Light into Darkness” Macano designs Angel costume series to be presented on May 21 2016.