When one thinks of fashion, SFU probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind. With NCAA sports teams, a world renowned co-op program, and notable academic achievements, fashion would seem to be the least of our concerns.
So it might’ve come as a surprise that SFU would be hosting its first ever Fashion Week, right here on Burnaby campus. As a school lacking in any sort of fashion design or marketing program, SFU seems like an odd locale for such an event.
According to SFU Fashion Week’s creative director Kayode Fatoba, this was exactly why the event was created: “The vision behind Fashion Week for us is to be able to represent a community that has more to offer than just academics.”
The SFU community has its own distinctive style, one that is, according to Viven Low, the event’s public relations and social media organizer, “based on the individuality of each person.” This individual style is what pushed organizers to bring SFU Fashion Week to life.
In order to exhibit SFU’s fashion community, organizers decided to set the stage for local designers to show off their collections. Showcasing brands such as Sleepless Nights, Dipt Vancity, Lavish Tee, Lily Rose, SFU Athletics, and the SFU bookstore, Fashion Week was able to bring forth this university’s hidden designing talent.
During the final show of the event, each brand displayed original designs on a runway; Sleepless Nights incorporated tribal prints with street wear through light-weight pants, eccentric hoodies, and loose shirts. The brand paired high-waisted slacks with simple t-shirts and beanies, with embellished bomber jackets paired with tribal-print harem pants.
“The vision behind Fashion Week for us is to be able to represent a community that has more to offer than just academics.”
Kayode Fatoba, creative director
Lavish Tee displayed everyday luxurious wear with an array of different prints, ranging from versatile t-shirts, tank tops, and sweaters, making the collection perfect for busy SFU students.
Lily Rose’s collection, on the other hand, used girly aspects to play up classic pieces, with floral-print dresses, bohemian bags, and blush-coloured skinny jeans, for an overarching feminine feel.
Dipt Vancity, a well-known brand throughout the city of Vancouver, displayed logo-clad hoodies, shirts, and snapbacks, representative of Vancouver’s ever-popular street style. Last of the independent designers, Chreetee displayed more exotic silhouettes with vibrant sequined maxi skirts paired with equally embellished crop tops.
It was inspiring to witness the artistic talent of the SFU and Vancouver communities, and to hear about the process behind getting into the fashion industry. At panel talks during Wednesday’s event, each designer spoke about breaking into the fashion world, showing how difficult yet rewarding the industry really is.
Along with networking and blogging, Sleepless Nights founder Jason Bempong says that it is important “to be brave enough to talk to people you don’t know and just put yourself out there.”
Though not necessarily a fashion capital, Vancouver’s fashion scene is increasingly making itself present on the global scale. If this fashion week proved anything, it is that fashion is present in this city and, as panelist Kevin Lalune stated, “Vancouver fashion is going to get big soon.”
I cannot wait to see SFU Fashion Week grow and expand in the future, and maybe even take on a more high-fashion and haute couture aspect. The fact that SFU hosted such an event just goes to show that there is a desire for fashion to be expressed in a more creative and impactful way on this campus.
Bringing together the community through the creative medium of fashion is not only inspirational, but it also presents a new platform for others to express their passions at future fashion weeks. As Fatoba put it, “While it is the first year of SFU Fashion Week, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”