Different roots, same Canadian love

And that’s a wrap! Saturday the 25th of November….what an exciting and enlightening day. Out in the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza on Hornby street, as part of the ‘We Are Canadians, Too!’ event, our showcase ‘Cultural Fabrics’ packed a punch with a dynamic selection of work from 6 first-generation Canadian fashion designers.

Each designer presented 3 looks which gave clues about their unique backgrounds. Exploring how the designer’s culture and environment have influenced their work, we exhibited pieces that mix elements from their own heritage and Canadian design together, also looking at tradition vs modernity.

Let’s have a look at the highlights of the exclusive exhibition…

  • ALEX S. YU

  • Rabia Dastgir

  • King & Reign


  • Tetyana Golota

  • Kirsten Ley

First up, ALEX S. YU, a Taiwanese Canadian, presenting a youthful, quirky femininity. Natural and synthetic fibres are accented with graphic prints and sections of soft coloured fur. We love the blue and green denim co-ord look with a polo neck jumper and matching shorts; an example of the brands signature experimental and playful style.

Rabia Dastgir, a Canadian hailing from Pakistan, creates pieces that are synonymous with ethnic richness and originality. A black bomber jacket printed with colourful folk style embroidery fuses sportswear with details from her heritage; an expressive merging of old and new.

Tehran-Iran born Kiarash Tarikhi, utilises Persian calligraphy and graffiti in his work. A standout piece is a white waterfall-hem dress in a soft crepe fabric, with calligraphy print and brown fur trim. Tarikhi’s brand King & Reign is feminine and eclectic.

Next in our exclusive exhibition is womenswear brand A. SEASON, a collaboration between two designers originally from Seoul, South Korea. Jeehyun Jessica Lee and Shinyoung Park combine aesthetics from their homeland and Canada to create sleek, sophisticated silhouettes. A beautiful lilac grey wool coat with wide-cut sleeves is presented over a silk button up shirt. Muted palettes and soft textures give way to a minimal aesthetic.

Tetyana Golota, a Ukrainian-born Canadian, unveils eye-catching designs featuring traditional techniques with cross-stitching, embroidery, and woven fabrics. New age folk is how we would describe the style with embellished headpieces, floral motifs, and a bold blue A-line skirt.

At the end of the exhibition stand, we presented sculptural works by designer Kirsten Ley, a first-generation Danish Canadian. Specialising in one-of-a-kind couture pieces, the looks juxtapose structurally bound pieces with flowing translucent silks. A deep ox-blood colour creates a darker elegance.

The diverse line up of looks explored the multiculturalism of our country with a focus on individualism and design identity.

I learned these sewing techniques from my Grandmother, she was sewing and making clothes for the whole village. I’m an immigrant and it’s nice to share this in the ‘We are Canadians, too!’ event. That’s my heritage, I should share it. Tetyana Golota

The patterns and colours that I’m using are mostly from Persian design, which I think shows the effect of my culture and background in my work. Kiarash Tarikhi

The ‘We are Canadians, too!’ event was a hub of cultural activities, and across the board it was clear to see that for Canada, diversity is our strength. So what can we take away from our exhibition Cultural Fabrics?- that design and cultural identity is something to be celebrated! Remember, be proud of your heritage.

Words by Faye Cottrill

Photos by Byeongcheol Jo