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.  

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!