Runway Radar: Spencer Varsek's mother inspired his midcentury-modern ELU collection

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      By Tamara Grünberg

      Sparked by a lack of choice for women in their 50s and older, Spencer Varsek created a midcentury modern collection of rich hues and organic lines. Each garment designed to promote confidence through fabric and fit, while suiting body shape.

      ELU will be unveiled at 2017 The Show presented by Tamoda Apparel Inc., on April 5 and 6 at the Imperial (319 Main Street). Twenty-seven other lines by Kwantlen Polytechnic University Fashion Design and Technology students will also be showcased.

      For event details, visit or follow @wilsondesignkpu on Instagram.

      Tamara Grünberg: Describe your collection.

      Spencer Varsek: ELU is designed for the modern, mature female who is searching for garments that suit her body and her lifestyle while maintaining a modern-classic appeal. 

      TG: What caused you to create ELU and who or what was your inspiration behind it?

      SV: I noticed how my mother’s demographic is so under-serviced in the contemporary-luxury market. While millennials have a bevy of options to choose from at any reach of the apparel market, baby boomers suffer with quite the opposite. 

      TG: Walk me through your creative process.

      SV: I always start with a solid foundation of inspiration and drawing. For ELU, I was inspired by the midcentury-modern movement when interior, industrial, and furniture designers produced such fluid work with mediums as tough and rigid as metal, wood, and cement. This is what inspired me to design with organic, fluid lines and movement with a variety of fabrics. 

      TG: What have you learned at KPU?

      SV: Drafting and sewing and drafting and sewing. And I think that’s it, ha! The Wilson School of Design does a phenomenal job at giving us a broad range of opportunities and lessons that will greatly benefit us in industry. Besides developing technical skills, we are assisted in cultivating a great foundation in design that inspires all of us to pursue other creative pursuits in and outside of class. 

      TG: What aspect of design are you most passionate about?

      SV: Exploration with fabric and silhouette. The unpredictability of fabric in collaboration with design is something that I find exhilarating. The constant play and second guessing makes the final product that much more satisfying. Playing with risk can produce the ultimate reward. 

      TG: Who are your style icons?

      I have always admired women who know their aesthetic and unabashedly stood by that. These women exude confidence and dress for themselves and no one else. My celebrity style icons are undoubtedly Grace Coddington and Michelle Elie. My day-to-day style icon is my mother, which is exactly why she was my inspiration for my collection. 

      Tamara Grünberg is an alumna from The Wilson School of Design, as well as a designer at her personal label, Cherrish Sport.

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