Immigrant, Indigenous fashion designers launch from VFW runway


Vancouver Fashion Week, back for its 2022 Slide/Wintertime edition this 7 days, has turn out to be a runway to achievements for lots of immigrant and Indigenous fashion designers.

Alex S. Yu collections at Vancouver Fashion Week

Hunting for a new daily life and vocation, South African immigrant Larainne Kaplan came to Vancouver in 2003 carrying two rubbish bags full of garments samples made by a relatives charity method close to her former dwelling in Cape City.

Fashion designer Larainne Kaplan
Fashion designer Larainne Kaplan helms the Vancouver-based mostly LK Collections. (Provided impression)

“I wanted to pursue having a fashion business enterprise with a sturdy social accountability component,” reported Kaplan, who was transitioning from a 15-year profession as a social worker in South Africa.

“And then I fulfilled him, and he helped me get my business going,” stated Kaplan, pointing to Jamal Abdourahman, the founder of Vancouver Fashion 7 days (VFW), in an job interview with New Canadian Media.

These days, Kaplan helms the Vancouver-centered LK Collections, a dynamic multi brand wholesale fashion company and import business that signifies intercontinental and locally built collections throughout Western Canada.

“Behind the Scenes” practical experience

Soon after finishing his training at the London Higher education of Fashion, Taiwanese-Canadian Alex S. Yu launched his label at the September 2014-version of the Vancouver Fashion Week.

Considering that then and immediately after 12 VFW exhibits, his collections have been introduced at fashion demonstrates close to the globe even though his models have dressed celebrities, which include Canadian-American actress Sandra Oh and Taiwanese singer Miu Zhu.

Metis designer Jade Tetrault
Metis designer Jade Tetrault, functioning on her ‘Arrowhead’ gown. She is having her behind the scenes expertise at this week’s Vancouver Fashion Week celebration. (Supplied graphic)

For Metis designer Jade Tetrault, this week’s VFW 2022 Fall and Winter season display, is providing her “a behind the scenes” working experience.

“It’s a good place to get fashion design encounter,” claimed Tetrault, who is hoping to have her Indigenous-inspired ‘Arrowhead” dress highlighted at VFW’s future present.

Kaplan, Yu and Tetrault are among the scores of new Canadian and Indigenous designers, who have above the previous two a long time, launched and initiated their occupations from the VFW runway, which is now the second greatest Fashion 7 days in North America, immediately after New York’s.

Fashion a “global phenomenon”

“At Vancouver Fashion Week, variety seriously is our biggest toughness,” stated Abdourahman, who arrived in Toronto in 1990 as a refugee from Djibouti, a very small nation in the Horn of Africa.

Apart from becoming the longest managing exhibit of its form, Abdourahman, and his World Fashion Collective (GFC) group, hold specific functions that run alongside the New York Fashion 7 days, Tokyo Fashion 7 days, and Paris Fashion Week. VFW also has a particular Children Fashion party.

“Over the previous number of yrs, we have been finding additional and far more inquiries from intercontinental fashion pupils, new immigrants and Very first Nations designers,” claimed Abdourahman.

“Fashion is a actually world-wide phenomenon and it is so inspiring to see these kinds of a strong mix of designers all less than 1 roof below in Vancouver,” he said.

Amongst this year’s presenters are Inuit designer Martha Kyak and Sri Lankan-Canadian Sujitha Shivajothi, who has a gender-inclusive design and style label.

Jamal Abdourahman
Jamal Abdourahman, the founder of Vancouver Fashion Week (Supplied Image)

Vancouver as a fashion hub

Vancouver mayoralty-prospect Mark Marissen, very long-time fan of VFW, is hoping the function will go on to increase and offer possibilities for upcoming fashion designers.

“It’s a superb party that has already set our town on the world fashion planet and if elected, I hope to make it a important signature party for Vancouver,” he said.

In accordance to a marketplace entry report well prepared for the European Union’s fashion industry, the Canadian world wide retail sales of attire attained $35.27 billion in 2019.

The report singled out the Vancouver Fashion Week as just one of the most well-liked activities in the town.

“Being house to individuals of unique backgrounds, primarily from East Asia, Vancouver is the hub of fashion and type,” mentioned the report.

“The VFW events options models from proven, as effectively as freshly rising fashion manufacturers and is a focal level for area fashion start off-ups which have flourished in the past several many years,” Alex Martyniak, Executive Director at European Chamber of Commerce in Western Canada, told NCM.

According to, an accredited immigration company, Vancouver is the prime Canadian town to immigrate as a fashion designer.

“You can be expecting to get paid amongst $63,555 and $109.507 per yr, ” explained the company in a report final August.

Support Canada has listed fashion designers under the Nationwide Profession Classification Code 5243 for immigration needs.

WorkSafe BC estimates work openings in this category to leap by practically 52.7 for each cent above the next decade.

Canada’s Position Bank estimates that involving now and 2028, 9,300 new occupation seekers, together with faculty leavers and new immigrants are expected to fill positions in this sector.

Editor’s take note: This tale has been updated to incorporate references to get the job done prospective clients for immigrant fashion designers in Canada.

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The post Immigrant, Indigenous fashion designers launch from VFW runway appeared initial on New Canadian Media.


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