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Vancouver Alternative Fashion Week(end): Fashion over function

Monday 17th, November 2014 / 11:59
By Alex Molten
Designer Samantha Stroman will again be showcasing her works at this year's VALT. Photo: Retrieved from Samantha Stroman website

Designer Samantha Stroman will again be showcasing her works at this year’s VALT.
Photo: Retrieved from Samantha Stroman website

VANCOUVER — VALT, or Vancouver Alternative Fashion Week(end), will not be your average fashion show. Kat Ferneyhough, co-founder of the event with Kat Kozak, describes the week as an event that takes the industry out of the fashion and leaves the creativity. It is a chance to feature local artistry and celebrate fashion as an art form rather than something created for mass production. Alternative fashion is “an unbridled celebration of self-decoration, not held by the constraints of a traditional production schedule, seasonal trends or sale-ability. Clothes that are not made for everyone to buy – they are made to be worn by the eccentric enthusiasts, the unique characters who will love it as their second skin.”

VALT is a more inclusive production that does not only use professional models but also features models who would not work mainstream fashion shows, and has showcased plus-size clothing designers before. Ferneyhough says the models are showcased rather than muted at VALT. They are meant to be identified with, not just a means to display the clothes. It also promises to be a more immersive show than the standard fashion show, with not just fashion collections but artworks, short films, performances, and musical acts thrown into the mix.

Vicissitudes is this year’s theme, a word that means the change in the state of something, and the event spans over three nights with each night having a sub-theme: reVolution, eVolution, and reVelation.

One of the featured designers, returning for another year at VALT, is Samantha Stroman. She showed a collection of corsets in the 2012 VALT show and will appear this year on November 21 for the reVolution night.

Samantha started her fashion design education with a course in corset making and 2012 VALT was her first show. Two years later she is now showcasing a 10-piece collection after graduating from fashion design school. Her collection was inspired by Elizabethan men’s wear and vintage science fiction. She sites Metropolis, the 1927 sci-fi film, and The Jetsons as influences. Corsets are still featured heavily and expect to see a strong and authoritarian collection.

VALT runs November 21-23 at the Maritime Labour Centre with fashion, music, and art events.

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