Vancouver Fashion Showcase corrals city style

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With a whirlwind four days of local fashion events over, Vancouver Fashion Showcase founder and director Florence Leung finally has a moment to catch her breath.

“It was two-and-a-half months of no sleeping,” she told the Straight during a phone interview. “I’m still trying to get my voice back.”

The first Vancouver Fashion Showcase took place from December 1 to 4 and featured 30 local clothing retailers, two stylist competitions, and an industry panel. A fundraising gala at the Vancouver Art Gallery kicked things off with a fashion show, musical and dance performances, and a reception with up-and-coming local designers; money raised went to Dress for Success Vancouver, a nonprofit organization that helps low-income women transition into the workforce by providing professional attire and support.

“Because we were located at the art gallery, I wanted to bring together all the creative and artistic talents in Vancouver—not just fashion,” Leung said.

The fashion show featured designs by the top three students graduating from this year’s Art Institute of Vancouver’s fashion program, and two looks from each of 30 men’s and women’s boutiques, which were selected by a panel of local fashion experts as the best in the city. Those retailers included a big Gastown contingent: (212) Boutique, Crome Yellow, Dream Apparel, Dutil Denim, Gentille Alouette, Holly Boutique, Ishara, John Fluevog, Livestock, LYNNsteven Boutique, Motherland, Nouvelle Nouvelle, Oak + Fort, Obakki, One of a Few, Two of a Few, and the Block. Others who made the list included Granville Island’s Edie Hats; Main Street’s Adhesif, Barefoot Contessa, and Exhibit; downtown’s Blushing Boutique; South Granville’s Diplomatic Immunity, Libertine, and Spank Clothing; Kitsilano’s Nicole Bridger Boutique; the False Creek area’s Jacqueline Conoir and Yaletown’s Boudoir, Fine Finds, and Jennyfleur Loves.

“I wanted to put on a show for local retailers, so that the audience could actually go and buy the clothes the next day,” Leung said. “When I did a little bit of consulting with Vancouver Fashion Week, which features local and international designers, I felt like there was a chance to represent the local retailers as well, so I kind of branched out to do that.”

Leung graduated with a commerce degree from UBC in 2007 and has been running an online currency exchange for the past three years, but was inspired to pursue her love for fashion after her grandmother passed away earlier this year.

While the 27-year-old entrepreneur hopes to continue organizing smaller fashion events next year, her dream is to bring Fashion’s Night Out, a shopping event that happens in more than a dozen cities around the world, to Vancouver next September.

“I think the city would love to have a proper Fashion’s Night Out here, so I’m looking forward to planning that,” Leung said. “I think fashion and running Vancouver Fashion Showcase as a nonprofit just gives me that balance in my life.”

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