After seven nights of incredible design talent featuring street style, high fashion, striking silhouettes, and the most intriguing patterns you could imagine on the runway, Vancouver Fashion Week finished on a high note.
Local and international designers showcased their F/W 2019 collections at David Lam Hall on East Pender Street during the city’s biggest bi-annual celebration of fashion and design. The standard of collections was impeccably high, and three fashion designers, in particular, caught our attention.
Graduates of Blanche Macdonald Centre, Peter Zuk, Jerome Mendoza, and Alex S. Yu, each brought something bespoke to this season’s Vancouver Fashion Week. But don’t worry if you missed it, here’s why these up-and-coming designers are the ones to watch.
Peter Zuk — Haus of Zuk
Peter Zuk, the Vancouver-based designer behind Haus of Zuk opened the final night of Vancouver Fashion Week with a high-energy show that audience members are undoubtedly still talking about. Presenting his debut collection ‘Overdose!!!’ which was inspired by a love of cosplay and video game culture, Zuk’s show featured dancing, lip-syncing, and non-binary pieces worn by local drag talent.
The designer wanted the audience to feel like they were at an after-hours party during his show, with drag queens who could “walk, split, drop, and sashay,” down the runway.
“I was at a sex party in Mexico, and all I could see were the classic black leather harnesses, and I knew that someone (including myself) wanted to be a little bit more fun. So by taking a super child-like concept such as teddy bears, and hyper-sexualizing the silhouettes, it created an aesthetic which is a perfect personification of who I am,” Peter Zuk says.
At this point in his design career, Zuk says that nightlife, entertainers, and particularly drag artists, inspire and influence him. “The queer community has had my back through this entire process, in terms of support while I was going to school, all while constructing a presentable collection,” he tells Daily Hive.
Zuk feels as though it was a duty to put the people who supported him in the spotlight, “without my LGBTQ+ family, this collection would be very, very boring,” he says.
Zuk explains that designers wishing to produce runways require a “remarkable work-ethic and commitment.” Check out Haus of Zuk on Instagram to see more of his designs.
Jerome Mendoza — GEROME
Jerome Mendoza is the creative director of GEROME, and his F/W 2019 collection is full of playful pieces influenced by the hip-hop scene of the 90s, and toys from the era, combined with styles that are hot right now.
The designer explains how he used a lot of colours but kept his collection cohesive. “What inspires me as a designer is creating something that I know people will appreciate and love,” Jerome Mendoza tells Daily Hive.
In terms of the creative process behind his designs, Mendoza’s is very simple, and he sometimes comes up with ideas and inspiration while laying in bed. He believes that the spontaneous approach to design is more adventurous, and once he has the design, he can start to plan out the rest.
Mendoza’s F/W 2019 collection was also a tribute to his mother, who sadly passed away from breast cancer. In honour of breast cancer awareness, the designer created pink pieces worn in his show.
For aspiring designers, Mendoza stresses the importance of having fun with designing because it reflects in your clothes, and also to take a break and revisit your work. You can see more designs by GEROME on Instagram.
Alex S. Yu
Local designer Alex S. Yu closed the final night of Vancouver Fashion Week with a captivating runway show showcasing his F/W 2019 collection, ‘The Tenth Synchronicity’. Evoking a sense of nostalgia with shift dresses, silhouettes of the 60s, ruffles, and prints, was key to the designer’s tenth collection presented at Vancouver Fashion Week.
“It feels like a big milestone after finishing the last pieces. In this collection, I wanted to evolve my designs and push it to a slightly more grown-up image of the ALEXSYU customer,” Alex S. Yu tells Daily Hive. He worked with various textures of fabric ranging from textural knits, to neoprene, to felted wool, and also incorporated several original prints throughout the collection.
When it comes to his designs, Yu is most inspired by contemporary arts, films, and youth subcultures, and adds his own touch “to create a cohesive story” that represents his point of view.
From his inspirations, he pieces together an entire collection (usually between 24 to 30 looks). “The starting point of the collection is always the garments, however, my design process is much broader and more holistic. In a way, I am a control freak and like to plan out everything,” he says.
The designer imagines how the collection will look as a whole on the runway when presented along with the music, the backdrop, and down to the very attitude of how the models will walk.
Yu doesn’t shy away from saying that fashion is a very tough industry. “You spend many hours in a small studio cramped up in front of the sewing machine, correcting and changing paper patterns numerous times, and putting in hours of hard work to create a collection,” he says.
“But if you love what you do, all of this will be worth it.” Follow Yu on Instagram to see his full collections.