The second annual South Asian Fashion Week took place in Vancouver this March, with both local and international designs gracing the runway. The event strives to give South Asian designers a platform to showcase and inspire with their contemporary womenswear, menswear and accessories. Opulent, casual, traditional and modern, the featured designers showcased an incredibly diverse selection of fashion pieces this season that we’re just dying to wear.
“Visible representation matters and clothes are one of the best ways to showcase a touch of culture. We feel so proud when we see South Asian clothing on people from various cultural backgrounds,” explains SAFW co-founder Farah Hasan. “By celebrating South Asian fashion on the runway, we hope that our non-South Asian friends will feel inspired to add South Asian pieces to their wardrobes from local designers and boutiques.”
Inspired, we are! From haute couture to ready-to-wear, see some of our favourite designs from SAFW in our runway recap.
Falguni Shane Peacock
Probably the most highly anticipated show at SAFW this season was Indian luxury fashion brand Falguni Shane Peacock. If you don’t know them by name, then you’ll certainly recognize many of the celebrities who have worn their couture pieces: everyone from Priyanka Chopra and Lady Gaga to Rihanna and Beyoncé, as well as many Bollywood celebs.
While the design duo were unable to attend SAFW in person due to international issues abroad which closed airports in Pakistan and Indian, the show went on, and left attendees positively dazzled. This was Falguni Shane Peacock’s first runway show in Canada.
We couldn’t get enough of Manya’s monochrome outfits and beautiful draping in her Essence of SAFW collection. The modern touches to otherwise traditional cuts gave the designs a fresh look that we can’t get enough of. This dose of bold colour is getting us pumped for the spring/summer season ahead!
Masters in Leisure by dontdoze
We spy Banksy on the runway! Masters in Leisure gave a nod to Banksy’s shredding of his ‘Girl with Balloon’ artwork on one of their blazers. Dubbed ‘Art in Motion’, this Essence of SAFW collection melded together art and design on the runway, with models donning outfits featuring paintings while framing themselves with wooden frames. There’s no doubt this collection was chalk full of unique statement pieces!
Some may recognize Kam Singh Bains from Instagram, where he has become well known as a source of men’s fashion inspiration in Vancouver. This season of SAFW marked his first foray into fashion design, with his own runway show featuring the newly launched brand Singh Styles. The collection was all about perfectly tailored, dapper suits…and he didn’t leave the ladies out either! We were thrilled to see women rocking fabulous power suits alongside the men. In fact, a certain red pinstripe three-piece suit caught our eye on the runway, and we definitely need one for our office wardrobe ASAP.
South Asian boutique owner Sunan Spriggs set up shop in 2014, and has been bringing affordable dresswear to Vancouverites ever since at CityLux Boutique. Let’s be honest, finding a reasonably priced gown in this city is no easy task, so we love that CityLux has filled that void. We couldn’t get over the gorgeous gowns they showcased on the SAFW runway, in rich hues and luxe embellishments. Our favourite? The wine number on the left – how perfect would it be to wear to a winter wedding?
Heran masterfully combines modern style influences with traditional fabrics and cuts, to create a collection both South Asian and non-South Asian customers alike will swoon over. We especially fell for the pastel and sweet floral patterns that dominated many of the designs. The lightweight fabrics will make them especially great choices for the upcoming spring/summer season! Best of all, the collection is made to be able to mix-and-match, so you know you’ll get tons of wear out each and every piece. And perhaps we should have lead with this….but pockets are a main feature of many of Heran’s designs. Enough said.
Blanche Macdonald graduate and owner of Surrey BC-based Bombay Couture Ateefa Azad opened her own Indian couture bridal and partywear store just over 4 years ago – side by side with her mom’s shop! Ever since, she’s been outfitting local clients with stunningly intricate designs, working directly with her design team in India to bring the trendiest and best quality garments back to her clients in Canada. Compared to previous collections this season’s designs, while still opulent and embellished, are far lighter in weight – Ateefa mentioned she’s worked on having some pieces redesigned to make them more lightweight and comfortable, something her clients have been asking for. After all, customizing designs to her clients’ needs is what Ateefa says Bombay Couture is all about!
Baynes + Baker
Bespoke suits for women? We couldn’t be more pumped about this! Baynes + Baker has been making killer men’s suits for years now, so it’s great to see them stepping in with some fabulous female power suits now too. And forget all-black suits – Baynes + Baker showcased a particularly bold purple suit that we would 100% add to our officewear.