Atlantic Fashion Week: Friday night recap

So far, the second Atlantic Fashion Week (OK, weekend) is much more subdued and focused than the first event, held last October. Gone are all the parties, and the blending of retailers and national designers—instead we have two nights highlighting local fashion designers. Perfect.

Still, it was a strange crowd gathered in the almost-full Olympic Centre last night. Attendees seem to be divided between NSCAD fashion students and faculty, friends and supporters of the designers and a rather vocal group of model pals—at times it was hard to tell if clapping was for the clothes or the walk (also, thank you to the armchair model critiquer sitting behind me. It took me back to walking in my first fashion show, for Sears, when I was about eight.) I wonder how long it will take before more of the city's stylish start coming to these events... Is the $20 ticket? Not sure, but I am confident, especially given the talent teaching/graduating from NSCAD's fashion program, that it's just a matter of time before word gets out, and people begin to support local fashion designers the same way they do musicians or food producers.

That's why it was refreshing to hear NSCAD student Jere Brooks—one of five presenting last night—declare that she's planning on working in Halifax after she graduates. I don't have a good photo of her pieces sadly, but they showed maturity and wearability (but still sexy, amen), with predominantly flirty black dresses, pants and a lovely green on a sleeveless top that somehow bridged the gap between summer sunshine and the moss green of fall.

Most of the NSCAD students showing—Alison Seary, Pam Onecia, Danica Olders and Robyn Stephens—are studying/have a background in textiles, which results in experimentation with interesting patterns, colours and shapes. The other clear trend among these savvy students is their ecological awareness and dedication to reuse, e.g. Stephens' coat reconstructed from a second-hand one, then over-dyed and redesigned.

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Onecia's knickers created from old suit jackets and felted sweaters. I love the little red peek-a-boo on the knickers.

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Onecia's hand-dyed and printed aprons are not meant for the kitchen. Too cute.

Olders' recycled-material pieces would fit right in a 1920s speakeasy.

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This dress, made out of recycled beer-bottle caps, was a crowd-pleaser. Considering the material and how much it must weigh, it had really nice movement and the model is gorgeous in it.

The first of the professional designers to show was Maxwell-John. Monica Nauss generally focuses on custom clothing, so I'll check about availability of this collection.

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Poison!

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I love this little versatile dress with the belt. That fabric has a sweet vintage look—it reminds me of old silk dressing gowns.

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Bubble skirts will be making several appearances this week. Deux fm will be showing them tonight too. I love the BS—I know some people think they're unflattering and give you a giant bubble thigh, but it's all about how you wear them. Don't go too short and keep the top simple.

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She used a lot of zebra print—it's nice to see zebras getting props over the leopard. I love that sleek little black line running down the back of it.

Next up: Laura Chenoweth. Chenoweth designs her line here, right on Agricola, but works closely with suppliers and a collective in India to make the clothing, which is all certified organic cotton and non-toxic dyes. Any of the prints are created with woodblocks. Chenoweth's clothing really is a reflection of her personally;many of the pieces that she showed in October were relaxed and flowing;but this time around we saw a different side. More tailoring, more body-conscious fits.

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This lovely teal, which reminded me of the lovely sari shops in Toronto, appears throughout the collection.

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I have been seeing the bold orange-grey combo around in fashion mags, and it's so sleek together. For some reason it reminds me of private jets.

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This vest is my favourite. Proving that ethical can be sexy but not trashy. Take that PETA. Chenoweth told me that she wanted to start working with corduroy, so it looks like she's had some luck.


Lycheelime is NSCAD grad Brittany Naugler's baby. She does one-of-a-kind pieces, all of which have some darling embellishments and there are some nicely draped and exposed backs. Like this knitted dress—obviously not for the faint of heart or bulging stomach. It's sweet on the model, but unfortunately when she turned around, you could see the thong through the knit. Not great on a runway, but on the street? Oh no.

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I had heard about Sunsets on the Eastside from Charlottetown before, so I was anxious to see their show. Three designers, without formal training (Katryna Crabbe, Kirsten Sweet and Jackie Skinner), debuted their first line at PEI Fashion Week when they were still in high school. Their youthful energy really shines, and they seem to have found a successful collaborative working style—although the pieces, mostly dresses, are quite different, there's a freshness that connects them all.


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This was a dress I forgot about until this morning, but I think it's summer and it's darling.


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One of my favourite pieces from the night. It moves like a breeze, and that little gold peeking through really makes it special.


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The back.


Orphanage headlined the night. After speaking to Kim Munson last week, I was so excited to see her recycled leather spats and sleeves. Set to music mixed by our own DJ Loukas Stilldrunk (NOTE: I was wrong, maybe I was still drunk--Loukas is doing music for deux FM), it was clear that the models loved wearing her clothes, and they poured on the 'tude.


I think Munson is at her best when she does sexy glamazon. There's something really retro B-movie about these clothes (in a great way). Her women are strong and they take no shit. They probably rule another planet.


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Munson also did a series using reused suit jackets. Given the current state of the economy and big business crumbling, I love the idea of taking biz wear and transforming it into feminine clothing.


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It's not too late to get a ticket to see collections from Katrina Tuttle, Veronica MacIsaac, Turbine and deux FM, tonight at 8pm. And if you couldn't make it last night, this afternoon Spring Garden is transforming into a runway—check out the schedule here.

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