Rimpy Sahota, a true ‘Made in Canada’ fashion designer

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Local designer Rimpy Sahota takes great pride in designing sustainable and ecofriendly garments that are also fashionable, comfortable, and high quality. Her self-titled label Rimpy Sahota Apparel creates garments that are ‘Made in Canada’ and better yet, the garments are ‘Made in Vancouver’.

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Image: Rimpy Sahota Apparel

Her Rimpy Sahota Apparel (RSA) line exudes femininity and conveys simplicity in a chic form. The pieces are composed of high quality fabrics that are also made in Canada. She insists that all fabrics used must have a soft hand feel and a stretch element to ensure the client remains comfortable at all times, no matter their age, body shape or height.

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Image: Rimpy Sahota Apparel

This year, her latest collection was part of Eco Fashion Week, and attendees spotted its founder Myriam Laroche, wearing at least three Rimpy Sahota pieces – the Santa Monica, the Coco and the Gold Metallic. Myriam and Rimpy are close as EFW is extremely near to Rimpy’s heart as practicing social responsibility and sustainability are two key elements of the brand.

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Eco Fashion Week: Tiffany K, PR Assistant at RSA, Rimpy Sahota, Natalie Langston & Myriam Laroche

Rimpy began her profession by designing and buying for some of Canada’s top teen brands such as Dynamite and Garage, and progressed to Lululemon. Now she has reached a point in her career where designing for the woman who believes in herself, invests in statement pieces, rather than investing in fast fashion, is very important to her.

With over twenty thousand followers on social media, after being established for less than two years, RSA continues to develop with online and retail sales exceeding expectations.

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Image: Rimpy Sahota Apparel

Additionally, Rimpy has spoken at SheTalks, shown at Vancouver Fashion Week, was a guest professor at John Casablancas Institute and invited to be an Emerging Designer at New York Fashion Week.

While the majority of her clientele is Canadian, the line has elicited interest and orders from Australia, the United States, and Dubai. Also, the brand is carried in three stores across the Lower Mainland and the Okanagan.

Let’s Talk Rimpy Sahota

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Image: Rimpy Sahota Apparel

I sat down with Rimpy, during and after Eco Fashion Week, to find out more about this creative woman and how she got on such a fast track.

What ignited the spark in you to live a life surrounded by fashion?

The spark was lit when I was very young after seeing my Mom construct garments for myself and my four older sisters. She always knew how to make us feel and look beautiful. She never needed a pattern and everything was constructed from the heart. From there the spark never left, I began studying fashion history at a young age, and quickly realized each designers collection was a reflection of what had happened in their lives.

How has being so driven affected your family life?

Being so driven means much time dedicated to work and towards my business. My family has been beyond supportive with me especially with my phone going off at least 30-40 times an hour with clients requesting bookings or people messaging to collaborate. Without them I don’t know where I would be! Currently, I am living alone, so it makes it a little easier for me in terms of my personal living space, but in the future when this situation changes, things obviously my life and schedule will be different. In the meantime, my nieces and nephews are definitely cherished.

What is your greatest motivation?

My greatest motivation is when someone, puts on one of my designs and is in love with it. When they say they feel both beautiful and comfortable, then I know I have achieved my mission and goal. The goal of the brand is to ensure women of all shapes and sizes feel comfortable in the styles while still keeping true to brand values.

How do you generate new ideas?

This is going to sound odd but I generate new ideas from times of loneliness. Sometimes I sequester myself in my home for a day or two and unplug. Not responding to messages helps me think of life and where I am. For my Spring Summer 2016 Collection, the result of this was ‘colour’ because of the multicultural nature of Canada and with influences from my travels to New York, London, Paris and Milan fashion weeks mixed in.

What has been your most satisfying moment in life?

Definitely purchasing my own home when I turned 30 years old. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into that milestone. I have worked jobs in which I wanted to leave as soon as I walked in the door. I was an accountant, an auditor, a buyer, and not until I was an entrepreneur and designer, did I feel my life was complete.

(This article by Helen Siwak was originally published in a shorter format on Vancitybuzz.com)

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Mine & Yours Launches Biggest Boutique Yet!

Luxury fashion resellers Mine & Yours recently launched a new boutique in downtown Vancouver. Having grown steadily over three years, this new location at 1025 Howe Street marks the brand’s third location in three years and the largest to date.

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Jigme Love & Courtney Watkins cutting it up! | Helen Siwak

On Saturday, April 9, owners Jigme Love and Courtney Watkins wielded a giant pair of scissors and held a traditional grand opening for the public. A pink carpet was rolled out and their dedicated team was on-hand to welcome shoppers to the grand opening celebrations.

The boutique interiors are crisp white with custom copper piping, glass display units holding a varied selection of preloved and new fashion over a main floor and cozy mezzanine.

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Natural sunlight flooding interior | Mine & Yours

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Goodie wall | Mine & Yours

A few days prior, the boutique welcomed the media and fashion bloggers to an advance viewing party that included a selection of beverages and artisan pizza and a picture wall of oversized paper flowers for fun portraits.

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R-L: Fiona Forbes interviewing Jigme Love and Courtney Watkins | Mine & Yours

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Stylist Mana Mansour congratulating Courtney Watkins | Mine & Yours

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Guests (Image 1: L-R) Nicolle Hodges (Writer & Media personality), Chloe Popove (MyModernCloset.com), Christie Lohr (StyleNinetoFive.com). (Image 2: L-R: Samantha Sito (Writer & Digital Influencer), Crystal Carson (Fashion Stylist & Media Personality ) , Amanda (LizBell.com) enjoying the customized flower wall. | Mine & Yours

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Image credit: Mine & Yours

The boutique began with 300 square feet on Hornby Street in September 2013, operating from the bottom floor of a townhouse unit, and grew into the latest incarnation in a dedicated retail space spanning over 1100 square feet. Along the way there were pop-up shops on Robson Street, South Granville and on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.

Mine & Yours operate a retail model that differs from the consignment and resale stores that are peppered throughout the city.  Here customers have the option, three days per week, to directly sell their brand items for cash or a store credit, with a minimum 50/50 consignment offered on luxury handbags only.

What will you find at the new boutique?

Savvy shoppers will find highly sought after brands, such as handbags by Louis Vuitton, Prada and Gucci and current fashionable garments by Alexander Wang, Acne, Isabel Marant, and 3.1 Phillip Lim. Luxury labels are well represented by Alexander McQueen, Giuseppe Zanotti, Christian Louboutin and Roger Vivier.

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Roger Vivier flats and sweets | Helen Siwak

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Additional sweets and treats dotted around the boutique | Helen Siwak

When asked about the most unique pieces that have passed through their doors, founder Jigme Love replied that there had so many but one of the most memorable was an Alexander McQueen hand-embroidered fabric neck brace with corset-like closure, followed closely by a one-of-a-kind resin Valentino necklace and a vintage Prada blue python coat.

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Party guests including Dominique Hanke (BR) | Helen Siwak

Future plans for the retail brand include expanding the e-commerce business, launching a resale directory called vancouverconsignment.ca with upstart re-seller mymoderncloset.ca and establishing a permanent retail presence in Los Angeles.

Mine & Yours also regularly participates in Eco Fashion Week via fashion shows, panel discussions, seminars in support of community and charitable organizations such as My Sister’s Closet (which benefits Battered Women’s Support Services) and the BC Children’s Hospital.

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Fred Lee getting the best shot | Mine & Yours

(This article by Helen Siwak was originally published in a shorter format in Vancitybuzz.com)

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O’Gara LAFW Welcomes Vancouver Talent

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From the Opening Gala at prestigious Columbia Square on Sunset Boulevard to the legendary model Veruschka walking for designer Esther Perbandt, Los Angeles Fashion Week (LAFW) has grown dramatically – both in stature and reputation.

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Opening Gala runway performance | RicoMejia.com

Growing LAFW from an event with a troubled past to representing a new standard on the west coast, is thanks to Vancouverite Arthur ‘Tito’ Chipman.

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Arthur ‘Tito’ Chipman | RicoMejia.com

Arthur has assumed the helm as the Executive Producer of LAFW and after several years working at Vancouver’s own fashion week, he is more than comfortable calling the shots down south in the City of Angels. His right-hand woman is comfortably ensconced behind the scenes as Fashion Director and ensuring the show goes off without a hitch.

LAFW showcased some of the best award-winning talent from Los Angeles and all over the world including many emerging, established, and internationally renowned designers, such as George Styler, Marcelo Quadros, and Toit Volant.

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Designers George Styler, Marcelo Quadros, and Toit Volant | RicoMejia.com

Interview with LAFW’s Arthur Chipman

When did you make the decision to move and what was the impetus?

I decided to move to California just over a year ago. A big part of the decision was my love for the LA lifestyle, family residing nearby, and once in a lifetime career growth opportunities.

How are you enjoying the fashion community in LA?

The fashion community in LA is extremely diverse, very talented, and some of the most innovative risk takers I’ve ever met. I love it here. It’s really inspiring to be a part of this creative movement of fashion and art where even the big names like Tom ford, Saint Laurent, Burberry and more are choosing to show here, over other cities. It just goes to show the potential of what a city like LA has.

Why do you think Vancouver talent should venture out of their comfort zone (VFW, VALT, ECO) and hit a wider world market to achieve success?

For models and talent alike who choose to come south of the border, just know that with bigger risk comes bigger reward. So never fear the unknown as it could be the best thing to ever happen to you.

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Therés Amee, Samantha Sito, Tatianna Taylor-Tait, Jihan Amer RicoMejia.com

This season, recognizable Vancouverites were representing at LAFW. Therés Amee (host, actor, model, director), Samantha Sito (freelance style & entertainment writer), Tatianna Taylor-Tait (co-owner/designer at PaeganRitual.com), Jihan Amer (Wilhemina Curve Model and actor), and Yasmin Morshedian (MUAH at OWN Network).

Given that LAFW now boasts 40 worldwide collections, over 20,000 guests and has a social media reach of 50,000,000, is it any wonder why these women packed it up for a week and headed down to the sunshine? In the end, after all the runway shows are over, they returned to Vancouver wiser and definitely are sharing what they learned with their friends and associates.

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Therés Amee working with documentary crew at LAFW | Jihan Amer

For Therés Amee, being in front of the camera comes naturally so it was only fitting that she obtained a clothing sponsorship from local start-up MyModernCloset.com. Therés Amee had also worked with Arthur at VFW for many years, feels that the LAFW experience “Is always chaotic fun. Being a part of a Canadian innovation in the American fashion scene is a celebratory collaboration. There is so much Canadian talent that needs to be spread down south and recognized.”

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Jihan Ahmer on the runway | Therés Amee

Jihan, one of Canada’s top curve models, walked the runway in the ‘Efflorescence Collection’ for designer Jenine Nerecina and relished the experience. “I had the pleasure of walking for the breathtaking Cosmogyral show and I loved how Jenine showcased women of all sizes. The energy from the red carpet to backstage was surreal and proved to me that LA is where I need to be in order to be at the forefront of fashion.”

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Back stage at LAFW | Therés Amee

“I think that bloggers, writers, and individuals in fashion, regardless of where in the world they reside in, hit a point where they want to see what the culture of fashion is like and how fashion week is different from city to city, country to county. LAFW was a new experience, and definitely an exciting one and having familiar faces to share it with was the icing on the cake.” – Samantha Sito of Otisamantha.com

The next LAFW is in October 2016 and registration for designers is already available. Spread the word creative’s, we hear the weather is still very warm in LA in the fall. Umbrella’s not required!

(This article by Helen Siwak was originally published in Vancitybuzz.com)

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Vans 50th Anniversary Party Kicks It

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Vans, the original action sports footwear and apparel brand, commemorated 50 years of heritage and progression with one hell of a party in Toronto earlier this month.

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American rock band Dinosaur Jr have been performing for over 30 years! | Dan Mathieu

Dinosaur Jr, Jazz Cartier and Tommy Genesis ripped it up and the company celebrated the release of Vans Pro Classic Anniversary Collection.

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Rapper Jazz Cartier performing | Dan Mathieu
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Tommy Genesis from Vancouver performing | Dan Mathieu

With decades of proven performance evolution supported by an illustrious team of skateboarding icons and future legends of the sport, the Pro Classics Anniversary Collection is modernized with Vans’ Pro Skate performance technology, ULTRACUSH HD sock liners for resilient cushioning, and DURACAP reinforced underlays in high abrasion areas for premium durability and consistent fit. Embodying a slimmer shape for a closer fit in the heel, arch and forefoot, Vans Pro Classics are engineered to withstand the everyday wear and tear of modern skateboarding.

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Pro Classics Anniversary Collection | Vans

Each style in the Collection pays homage to influential cultural milestones from Vans’ groundbreaking era of 1966-2000. What began as simple renovations in colour, fabric and shape bolstered true connections with action sports icons such as original Dogtown Z-boy Stacy Peralta, celebrated surfer Duke Kahanamoku, and Vans’ skateboarding legend Christian Hosoi. Whether it was taking the Hawaiian shirt off Duke’s back to design a custom pair of floral Authentics, or padding the collar in the original Era to create the first “Off The Wall” shoe in skateboarding, Vans has championed reinvention since 1966, paving the way in design progression to meet the critical demands of skateboarding today.

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Immortalizing the moment | Dan Mathieu
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Chillaxing | Dan Mathieu
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Vans 50th Anniversary patrons getting their swag on | Dan Mathieu

This past January, for three days, the Know Show rolled into Vancouver and showcased the hottest new looks in action sport for Canadian retailers and the brands they stock. Vans had an amazing booth, which I popped into on my way over to meet with cool gals at Lira Clothing, which contained a showcase of museum pieces from the Vans archives.  The display was fascinating and photo worthy.

Vans Museum at Vancouver’s Know Show

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Museum Pieces from Know Show |Helen Siwak
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Museum Pieces from Collection |Helen Siwak
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Museum Pieces from Collection |Helen Siwak
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Museum Pieces from Collection |Helen Siwak
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Museum Pieces from Collection |Helen Siwak

Article and Vancouver photography by Helen Siwak, with a big shout-out to TO’s  Liz Hodgson who tried her best.

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