Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s year-end fashion show spans the style spectrum
With all those hot men on-stage and ensuing cat calls from the crowd, Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s year-end fashion extravaganza on April 3 felt more like a ladies night than a grad class showcase. Mind you, you won’t catch this style scribe complaining. Not only was it wildly entertaining to see so many chiselled guys strut their stuff down the River Rock Show Theatre runway (I know, it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it), but it was also refreshing to see so many inspired men’s clothing lines on display.
Of the 30 or so up-and-coming designers presenting their final fashion-design projects at The Show, a good chunk of them chose to focus on cool threads for dudes. Nice!
One of my favourites was Lawrence Soft Goods by Tyler Wilson. With a trio of men rocking the runway in different layers of countrified cotton twills, Wilson’s label had a definite cement-city cowboy feel to it. Inspired by photos of his grandparents’ honeymoon road trip from Manitoba to B.C. in 1948, Tyler managed to capture this retro vibe with contemporary, built-to-last design ethos. The piece de resistance was when the model decked out in a rust-coloured wool herringbone vest and tan jean-cut pants raised his scotch on the rocks to the packed house. A true gent, if there ever was one.
Another standout in the menswear department was Connotation by Shannon Oehlschlager. She also had a bit of that new-world, old-school thing going on. She updated her rustically tailored, dark, dressier staples by mixing them with some gorgeous, modern mustard-yellow pieces. Great contrast. Great cuts. Loved it.
But it wasn’t all about the boys. There were some really innovative threads for chicks as well
Jena Renwick’s TerraRada, for example, totally hit the mark with her highly functional snowboarding wear for ladies. From the outset, her pieces may have looked arbitrarily punked up, but therein lies her genius. Every detail on her clothing serves a purpose. The rugged, seemingly haphazard patches protect boarders from wearing out the fabric where they tend to fall the most. And all the bright-yellow screen-printing may look like graffiti art, but it actually serves as extra visibility for boarders lost in trees. By the way, the oversized hoodies are that way so shredders can pull them over their helmets.
There were also great kids’ lines representin’ at The Show. Now, normally, I’m not a fan of seeing tykes all gussied up and putting on airs for the entertainment of adults. But the catwalk cuties at this event looked like real children, and the only thing they were acting was their age.
In terms of design, Andee Jasper’s hit one right out of the park with her Journee Apparel collection, a line of colourful, crafty clothing for girls aged about four to six. I can totally see the hot-pink-panelied, multicoluored, bottom-pleated coat being every LG’s favourite piece of clothing to wear—rain or shine.
And Kristy Coghill’s Adapture line of outerwear for little boys who like to play hard was just ridiculously cute. The hooded rain cape? A-dor-a-ble.
Of course, the wee tykes got a lot of “oohs” and “ahhs”, but it was the male model who took off his leather jacket during the Stat by Jamie Kan’s showcase that was the real crowd-pleaser. Wearing nothing on top, he and his pecks worked the room up into a tizzy.
And with that, I say, well done Class of 2012. Well done.
Andee Jasper’s Journee Apparel boasts kids' clothes with punch. Christopher Shawn Pike photo.
Shannon Oehlschlager's Connotation menswear mixed up old- and new-world aesthetics. Christopher Shawn Pike photo.
Jena Renwick focused on functional snowboarding gear for women with her TerraRada line. Christopher Shawn Pike photo.
Lawrence Soft Goods by Tyler Wilson drew inspiration from the past for his city-meets-country collection. Christopher Shawn Pike photo.
Bethany Young's Slow & Philosophy collection offers fashionable yet functional garments for sophisticated male cyclists. Christopher Shawn Pike photo.