Runway Radar: Julian Bontorin’s Overlay represents hip-hop music in tangible form

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      By Anna Erho

      Fueled with passion and a vision, Julian Bontorin moved from Oliver, B.C. to Vancouver to pursue his fashion career, starting off with the brand JB GEAR that was created in 2015. Since then, he’s been a part of shaping what it looks like to be a designer on the come up in Vancouver.

      The brand JB GEAR has been a part of local fashion shows, pop-up shops, and hosting its own hip-hop events. Dressing the hip-hop community on a local and international level, the Brand JB GEAR is known for building a community and its distinctive style as well as 1 of 1 Pieces. Julian Bontorin strives to deliver an authentic experience through the clothes that he makes.

      Overlay will be unveiled at the 2019 The Show on April 18 at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) newly opened Wilson School of Design building in Richmond. The beautiful and innovative $36-million building houses a range of design programs including the fashion-design-and-technology program.

      Event details and tickets can be found online.

      Anna Erho: What was the inspiration behind your line “Overlay”?

      Julian Bontorin: Overlay was inspired by my first-hand experiences with people and events in the hip-hop community; I took that energy and translated it into clothes. I wanted to represent what hip-hop looks and feels like. Overlay was designed to represent the artists out there who are making the most out of what they have. As creators, it’s our job to use resources to the fullest potential while making sure we can be sustainable for our future projects and experiences.

      AE: Describe your education journey at KPU?

      JB: My journey at The Wilson School of Design has been a once-in-a-lifetime chance to connect with a community of emerging designers. It was packed with critical thinking, collaboration and creativity. It was a chance for me to embrace industry skills while applying my own interests, which created a great learning experience. All of the hard work and breakthroughs have given me a creative edge for my future.

      AE: Why do you do what you do?

      JB: I love what I do and it’s my way to motivate and inspire others to do what they love as well. I am passionate about seeing the elevation of people’s energy once they put on my clothing. I believe that energy is important to keep pushing forward in our life. The gear is my outlet to express myself to the community.

      AE: What is the most exciting part of creating a collection?

      JB: Sourcing fabrics that best represent the energy of the collection. Then, the finalization of garments, where I can be hands on with patchwork. The main excitement happens after it’s made. I live for the moments when the gear is tried on and the exchange of energy to the customer completely transforms and brings their true personality out.

      AE: How are you using your platform as a designer to influence the current market?

      JB: I’m using my platform to show that you can do it too. I had to break down a lot of barriers having an early start at sewing and creating a brand when it wasn't popular. My experience in the music scene has given me an edge where I can deliver an authentic product that real artists and creatives in the industry can relate to. I’m using my platform to show that hands on work is more meaningful. Creating garments ourselves and being a part of the whole process is important as designer.