Tag Archives: Richmond

Encore fashion: Shopping vintage

14 Sep

Experiencing the thrill of the hunt combined with acquiring unique pieces, vintage shopping can be a fashion lover’s dream. It’s also an eco-friendly way to shop since merchandise is recycled from previous owners. And with the popularity of shows like Mad Men and Downton Abbey, vintage shopping and historic clothing have seen a renewed interest from trendy audiences and savvy shoppers. So if you’re tired of seeing someone else wearing the same outfit you bought at a chain store, give consignment, thrift or vintage stores a try. Since previous eras valued handmade details and durability, a truly vintage high-end piece will tend to have better quality than something more contemporary.

Early 1920s costumes on Downton Abbey.

Early 1920s costumes on Downton Abbey.

In terms of secondhand shops, consignment stores are where the profit is split between the shop and the person who brought in the clothes to be sold. This differs from thrift stores where merchandise is donated and the profits go back towards the store or a charity. Consignment shops are typically where one would find higher-end labels since they’re picky about what items will sell. Vintage stores, on the other hand, usually sell merchandise with a sense of history and cultural significance — the clothes are timeless and reflect a specific fashion era.

When shopping at secondhand stores it’s important to keep in mind the condition of the item, quality of the piece and whether it can be worn as a classic staple or as a trend for the season. And when it comes to higher-end brands, verifying its authenticity is essential. It’s difficult to shop consignment or thrift with a specific item to look for, so always try to go in with an open mind.

Channel Mad Men with vintage nipped waist dresses.

Channel Mad Men with vintage nipped waist dresses.

Keep your eyes peeled for pieces that will fit well into your existing wardrobe and that can be easily tailored to fit. If an item doesn’t complement your personal style, it’ll run the risk of looking like a costume. A good way to start secondhand shopping would be to look for classic pieces with clean lines, quality materials and simple designs. Know what era works for you in terms of fit and style preference. Whether you’re more drawn towards the 1920s flapper period, 60s mod or 70s hippie look, you’ll get more mileage out of the purchase by ensuring the piece is wearable and fits in with your sense of style.

Your sizing may vary when shopping at secondhand stores. Sizing measurements can change over time and between different brands. So if an item catches your eye, try it on regardless of the number on the label. Tailoring can also be a very important part of the vintage shopping process. The right tailoring can turn a vintage frock from oversized and frumpy to looking like something high-end and custom made. However, not every piece can be altered, so take into consideration the fabric and structure of the garment. Cinching baggier tops or dresses with a belt can also do wonders to define the waist for a more flattering fit.

Mix a vintage blouse into your modern wardrobe.

Mix a vintage blouse into your modern wardrobe.

But before you head to the register, double check the item’s condition carefully. Look for any damage, stains, fading, missing details or loose embellishments. A quick way to check for areas of excessive wear is to hold the clothing up to the light.

There are tons of great vintage and consignment shops in Richmond, particular in the Steveston area. So take your time and browse with an open mind for pieces with potential. Items are one of a kind when shopping secondhand, so if a piece speaks to you, grab it before it’s gone!

[Article first appeared in the August 13 issue of Richmond Review.]

Richmond fashion designers

20 Apr

There are a multitude of reasons to support local designers — whether it’s to build stronger communities, reduce environmental impact or just to avoid wearing the same mass-marketed outfit as someone else. But the most important reason to shop locally should be to bolster the creativity of talented artists. Some of these skilled fashion designers can be found as close as Richmond, at the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Fashion Show taking place Thursday, April 24 at the River Rock Show Theatre. Featuring collections from the graduating class of Design, Fashion and Technology, this city is home to a variety of inventive designers.

Cindy Luo

Local lingerie line ANASTASIA specializes in undergarments for petite women. Designed by Cindy Luo, the spring collection is inspired by nostalgia and takes its aesthetic cues from diamonds with the cuts and translucency of each piece. Sensual yet sophisticated, ANASTASIA’s versatility allows its garments to be worn on any occasion — underneath everyday apparel, for special events, or even lounging around at home.

A look from Cindy Luo’s lingerie line ANASTASIA. (Photo by Desmond Mok)

A look from Cindy Luo’s lingerie line ANASTASIA. (Photo by Desmond Mok)

“Each piece is designed with petite women in mind, making sure exact measurements are made to meet their needs,” says Luo.

“Most of the products in the market don’t fit a petite woman where it is supposed to be because of long straps, flimsy bands or big cups that don’t give them any form of support,” she says. “Due to these issues, many women resort to purchasing undergarments that are unflattering for their body shapes. A well-fitting undergarment is key in any woman’s quest to feel sexy and confident. I want to create a product where they can celebrate and embrace what they have underneath.”

Jan Bautista

For another local designer Jan Bautista, the focus is on giving clothes a story and sparking the imagination. Bautista’s move from the Philippines to Canada only strengthened his love for fashion. Exposure to different lifestyles made him realize the importance of craftsmanship and the meaning of true beauty. His menswear line, Maison Beautista, strives to redefine the post-modern dandy gentleman, combining fit and comfort with bold colours and eccentric designs. This season the collection is inspired by art from the Post-Impressionist movement, especially Vincent van Gogh’s Irises painting.

“This particular masterpiece represents the celebration and adoration life deserves despite the congested, materialistic society,” says Bautista. “The designs are influenced by the expressive and vibrant hues of the masterpiece.”

A dapper ensemble from Jan Bautista’s Maison Beautista. (Photo by Gene Figueroa)

A dapper ensemble from Jan Bautista’s Maison Beautista. (Photo by Gene Figueroa)

With his enthusiasm and love for bringing stories to life, Bautista hopes to one day design for the theatre and film industry, where clothes provide a crucial part in entertaining and narrating.

Venus Lai

For those looking for office outfit ideas from a local designer, there’s the HaNa line created by Venus Lai. Inspired by history and different cultures, HaNa differs from the usual business attire with its fashion-forward details. This season the designer was influenced by her cultural roots, updating the traditional Chinese cheongsam dress with a modern silhouette and chic, office-appropriate style.

A dress from Venus Lai’s businesswear line HaNa. (Photo by Matthew Chen)

A dress from Venus Lai’s businesswear line HaNa. (Photo by Matthew Chen)

“My ideal customers are women who work in a professional field and require clothing with an identity,” says Lai. “To showcase themselves in a fashionable sense, but also to wear clothing with a meaning and a story.”

“What I love most about designing is to create aesthetically beautiful clothes, but also showcase the skill and the thought put behind it. Having to produce something from a visual in your head into a 2-D fashion drawing, and then thinking about it technically to draft and design the pattern and make it into a 3-D garment is process I enjoy the most. The whole design process is not easy and can be strenuous and difficult, but the outcome and the accomplishment you feel at the end is all worth it.”

For more on the designers and the KPU Fashion Show, visit www.kpu.ca/theshow2014.

[Article first appeared in the April 16 issue of Richmond Review.]