After the whirlwind of success from my debut at last year's Atlantic Fashion Week, I already knew that I wanted to return for a second season so showcase what I learned and took from my debut. I was completely inspired to push my own boundaries to see what I was capable of. I spent a few months basically brainstorming, and sketching ideas of what I could see walking on the runway.
Throughout the year I was invited to take part in a couple local fashion events, some I had to turn down due to other commitments, and I also directed numerous fashion photoshoots. When I am at a photoshoot I am also watching the models. How comfortable they are on camera, if they are able to take direction from the photographer, and their confidence level. When I'm at a fashion shoot, I'm also scouting models for future shows/events.
After my acceptance in this years Atlantic Fashion Week, I began narrowing down outfits and models for the runway. I decided to use a few girls from NWH Modelling & Self Improvement from Saint John, as well as several local models from Fredericton, Moncton, and Halifax. I had a couple models returning this year to model for me a second time during AFW. The girls that I'm worked with the longest I call my 'senior models'. :)
One of my pieces was completely inspired by HBO's series, Game of Thrones. :D One of my FAVORITE shows. lol I wanted to do a fitted mermaid skirt and have it flow nicely at the bottom, making the model almost glide when walking. For the top, I researched, and watched numerous Youtube tutorials on how to make a criss-cross top similar to one of the costumes in the series. As usual, I wanted to make my own spin on the piece and spent many hours practicing with muslin draping it on my dress form. I used Habotai silk that was hand dyed specially by Dee Silkie! :D I knew months ago before I began planning for AFW that I wanted to do a collab with Dee, and she did a lovely job on my silks. <3
Model fittings began the start of August, and right up to early September before I left for Japan. This was probably my most stressful time as I had so much to do. Final outfits needed to be narrowed down, music to be cut, model lineup, etc. But it somehow all got done.
After my return to Canada I had only 1 week left to complete and make ready for AFW. Final model fittings/alterations, a couple models had to cancel due to circumstances which led to a couple girls walking the runway twice, and I cussed a lot at my sewing machine. lol Everything was just so hectic that I haven't even unpacked my suitcases from Japan yet. :P
As a thank you to all my models for taking the time to travel from various parts of NB/NS, I also decided to do cute gift bags of all sorts of Japanese makeup. :D I bought so much makeup. lol Blushes, eyeliners, mascaras, lipsticks, eye shadows, makeup removers that turned out to be nail polish remover. :P My Japanese isn't completely fluent, and I mixed up the translation. lol My models LOVED their gifts, and seeing their reactions when told it was makeup all the way from Tokyo, Japan was a reward in itself. :)
When I was in Japan I bought several bags of fabrics from Nippori Textile Town, and planned to make a few pieces for the runway. :) I had this beautiful koi fish pattern that would look stunning as a shift dress, and lovely red fabric with mini geisha's printed all over it. 2 new pieces in just a couple days. lol
The day of my showcase, we packed up the car and heading to Halifax! :D
Photo by Mike Swiech.
I stressed to my models that they needed to arrive by 4pm to begin hair and makeup. For hair I wanted to keep with my Japanese inspiration and have all the models with cute space-buns. The team from Redken did a phenomenal job! Totally brought my vision to life! :)
My models hit the runway just after the first intermission, and both my husband and his mother were seated in the audience as my show began. The runway was most definitely the longest runway I've ever walked on during a show. :P But my models worked that runway like nobody's business!
Photos by Kevin McCluskey
I had cut the music specifically for this show to show my inspiration, and determination from the last few months. The opening song was in Japanese called Hime Murasaki by artist Nana Mizuki. It is a beautiful and emotional piece that has been on my phone for years. My first visit to Japan a couple years ago, I wanted nothing more than to see Nana Mizuki live in concert. :)
The second song is by MIIA and it was called Dynasty. It is about creating a strong dynasty that nothing can tear it down. It's lyrics pretty much described the journey I've gone through with building this brand. From the people who wished me great success and support, to those who desire nothing more than to tear me down. I have learned that I can't please everyone, and just need to continue focusing on myself as a designer. If I am to the point where I was able to leave my 'day job' and focus solely on building my fashion dynasty, then I must be doing something right. :)
After my showcase walked it's finale walk, I couldn't have been more proud of this collection and my models. :)
Photo by Kevin McCluskey
Photo by Celtic Life International.
A few days later, and the runway images began to pour on social media! I couldn't have asked for a better evening!
Click here to view the video.
I want to thank Atlantic Fashion Week director, Angela Campagnoni for putting together a fabulous night! The amount of talent that was brought to the runway was incredible. I definitely seen a few favorite pieces from designers that I've followed from NBCCD college as well as the very talented Veronica MacIsaac! :D I couldn't stop staring at her tartan collection! :D
Atlantic Fashion Week is a great platform for designers of every level to show their talents, and I am truly thankful for the opportunity to show a second year. Will I return in 2019? I will most definitely apply, and will come for the entire length of its season. :)
After AFW wrapped up and life finally began to slow down, I got a call from Global News correspondent, Shelley Steeves for a follow up interview. She had heard from my husband about all the invites I have gotten from all over the world to showcase my designs, and I was more than willing to have a chat with her. :) I enlisted a few local models as well as a couple girls from NWH Modelling in Saint John to be my live models during the interview, and I set up my other studio space in my basement for the filming of the interview.
Now I should mention that I do all my sewing work in one of the spare rooms in the upstairs of my home, but it's a much smaller space than my basement to fit 4 models, and a journalist with a camera. lol
When speaking on camera I tend to get a bit nervous/shy, and tongue tied. lol But I pushed passed all that, and Shelley put out a amazing piece for Global! :D
View the Global News Interview.
After the interview with Global aired, I was bombarded with even more invites, as well as taking part in a casting for a reality show similar to Project Runway! 0_0 I found out that day that the interview had been picked up nationally.
I am not sure what 2019 will bring, but I am excited to find out!
Stay tuned! :D