By Jamila Pomeroy
VANCOUVER – Gaby Bayona, owner and designer of the Vancouver-based Truvelle and Laudae dress companies, is embarking on a new journey: highlighting diversity and showcasing the beauty in the “strange” with Stranger Agency.
Bayona began her first company, Truvelle, in 2013, and then her second, Laudae, in 2016. Both are consciously created and produced locally, featuring effortlessly beautiful and unconventional bridal gowns. She sought out to make sure the models representing her brands also represented her diverse clientele, but soon found out this was a difficult task, with agencies, spanning globally, seeming to have a specific theme of featuring very slender, young, Caucasian females. These limitations of the casting typical simply didn’t fit in with Bayona’s mission of inclusive branding.
Bayona, a first generation Canadian, is of Filipino and Portuguese descent, and grew up without visual representation of herself in media, as many women of colour do. With the lack of prominent representation of diversity being of such a personal cause, Beyona decided to take it upon herself to go make waves of representational change in the industry.
“Earlier this year I was in Montreal with some of the Truvelle team,” she says. “That was when I decided that if I’m going to talk about how much this kind of agency is needed, then I should stop talking, and start doing.”
Stranger Agency was launched early this April and has already begun to spark conversation. Beyond racial diversity, Bayona strives to create a safe, body positive, and fair environment — a concept quite different to a large portion of an industry that seldom truly caters to the needs and rights of models.
“With this agency, I’m looking to be conversation-focused and make sure I don’t ever put somebody in a position where they feel unhappy, unsafe, or taken advantage of,” says Bayona. “And I won’t ever ask somebody to lose weight.”
Beyona aims to keep the agency small and Vancouver-based for the time being, but with the thirst for the “strange” living in the industry, she sees a definite possibility for growth down the road.
Find out more about Stranger Agency at strangeragency.com.diversity, fashion, local, tranger agency, Vancouver