Local designers promote sustainability at Vancouver Fashion Week (PHOTOS)

Oct 10 2019, 12:36 pm

While we’re digging out winter apparel from the back of our wardrobes, the hottest looks for Spring/Summer 2020 were just showcased on the runaway at David Lam Hall for Vancouver Fashion Week.

As the fastest-growing fashion week in the world, the bi-annual event gives both emerging and established local and international designers the chance to introduce their new collections for the first time.

Each season, we’re seeing daring silhouettes, playful accessories, and innovative pieces with an increasing focus on sustainable design practices. With this in mind, the work of two local designers came into focus — Lesley Senkow of SENKO Studios and Asha Singh of Ash + Grove.

Luxurious experimental silhouettes

Image courtesy of Lesley Senkow

This season marks the first time that emerging designer Lesley Senkow presented her designs at Vancouver Fashion Week. After working with fashion retailers for many years as a visual merchandiser, she followed her passion and recently graduated from the fashion design program at Blanche Macdonald.

SENKO was established with the vision to create sustainable and ethically-made high-end womenswear for fashion lovers who understand the impact of the garment industry.

“The SENKO identity consists of high-quality fabrics, experimental silhouettes, expressive and exclusive prints, and thoughtfully constructed pieces for a more complex wardrobe,” Lesley Senkow tells Daily Hive.

Alessandro Viero/IMAXTREE.COM

The designer’s first collection, which previewed at Vancouver Fashion Week, was inspired by the moon’s gravitational pull on the water, and its effect on the tides.

Featuring stylish tailoring and vibrant prints, beautiful silks in rich moody colours, and strong lines “meant to emphasize the body’s natural proportions,” each SENKO piece is made from natural fibres. Think cotton, wool, and linen. Senkow says the collection will be ready to shop later this year.

Alessandro Viero/IMAXTREE.COM

The Vancouver creative’s goal is clear: to provide timeless, impeccably-made, sustainable designer pieces for the modern woman.

Alessandro Viero/IMAXTREE.COM

“Clothes are not meant to be cheap, and I think it is a massive problem with our culture to think that they should be,” says Senkow. “Building a well-made sustainable wardrobe not only helps the planet but also allows you to really hone in on your personal style and make better wardrobe decisions for your lifestyle.”

Get the latest updates ahead of the collection launch by following SENKO on Instagram.

Locally-inspired streetwear

Image courtesy of Asha Singh

Vancouver designer Asha Singh grew up at the foot of her mother’s sewing table, and learned tips and tricks to creating well constructed, long-lasting garments.

“I’ve been sewing for the majority of my life, and I’ve accumulated so much fabric over the years, that I’ve seen just how wasteful it can be as an individual. I did the research and learned about the flaws in the fashion industry. So I decided I wanted to make a difference, even if it was a little one,” Asha Singh tells Daily Hive.

Alessandro Viero/IMAXTREE.COM

Ash + Grove focuses on reusing and reinventing materials and discarded garments to create fun, fashionable pieces with as little of a carbon footprint as possible. Singh creates each piece by hand, and because of this, there’s no start or end to a collection. “It’s more like an evolution of design, I grow from each piece,” she says.

For Vancouver Fashion Week, the designer’s ‘Bedtime Stories’ presentation was about “taking your imagination as far as it can go,” with garments heavy on tulle due to its magical and fairytale-like qualities.

Singh says her pieces showcased erred on the side of “wacky couture,” however, comfort is key in more of her day-to-day collections.

Alessandro Viero/IMAXTREE.COM

“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love denim, and that’s what makes up a lot of my garments. It’s really easy to find used denim. But other than that, I scour fabric stores and my own stock for remnants that inspire me. I love to upcycle thrift clothes to give them new life.”

The designer says youth are fantastically aware of what’s going on and how they can make a difference in shopping sustainably. “I think, given enough time, sustainable fashion will become the norm for the average consumer.” She explains how her goal for Ash + Grove is to show that sustainable fashion for the eco-conscious consumer isn’t boring, bland muted colours and hemp cord bags.

Alessandro Viero/IMAXTREE.COM

“I really want to make clothes for the kind of person I am; youthful, fun, and a little out there,” Singh adds.

Visit Ash + Grove on Instagram to see more fresh, locally-inspired looks.

Vancouver Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020

When: October 7 to 13
Where: David Lam Hall –  50 East Pender Street
Price: Starting at $30 — Tickets available via Vancouver Fashion Week