With this crazy semester in full swing, I can’t wait to take a break from the madness and enjoy fab clothes, fab company, and an overall fab time at The Cypher. The BCIT Marketing Association has been hosting its annual fashion show for years; with the focus of this years’ show being street wear. From the vision and guidance of The Cypher’s Creative Director, Vanessa Nguyen, this year’s show is sure to be fantastic.
I’m so lucky to have had the chance to sit down with Vanessa and get a run down of what to expect for this years’ show, where the inspiration came from, and some insights into her personal style.
Tavia: Hi Vanessa! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me about the show! I can’t wait for Saturday.
Vanessa: Yeah, thanks for having me.
T: Tell me a bit about the fashion show and how it came to be.
V: I just felt that with the fashion shows in previous years, it attracted a smaller crowd because the event theme was so niche. When we were coming up with a theme and whatnot, we tried to brainstorm things that would bring together students and people living in Vancouver. The theme that came to mind, and the easiest way to do that, was street wear. Just because street wear is so broad and vast, and it’s growing within the fashion industry. Everybody loves sneakers, and, even if you aren’t a Sneakerhead, there is something about Nike, or Adidas, or sneakers, that brings people together. We wanted to bring the collective of people to life with street wear as a theme. We thought it was a great way to bring the students at BCIT together and have fun. There aren’t a lot of events at BCIT that can reach so many different people in so many different programs. We just want to bring people together and have fun! One last hurrah before second year ends. I think everyone is super excited about this project.
T: Okay, such a cool concept! What can we expect at the event?
V: You can expect a lot of fun, good looking people, liquor, good fashion, and just expect to have a good time. Come in there with the mindset of [being at] a big house party, or just very relaxed [setting]. I don’t want people coming in stressed on what to wear, etcetera. I want you to come in as who you are; you as yourself. It’s a show for everybody and, you know, you don’t have to dress to the nines. I’m expecting it to be a really good event to bring people together. BCIT is about building all those connections and relationships with people and I feel like this is going to be one of those events where all of the people will get together, you know, with with the first [and second] years to have fun and to network in Vancouver. I mean, this is a stressful time at BCIT, when is it not, but this is an event to have everyone let loose.
T: I love that you say it’s for everyone to come as they are and to not stress about what to wear. Fashion shows can be intimidating, but you’re doing a great job of promoting the idea that fashion is about celebrating everyone’s individual style. I love it! Can you describe the designers?
V: We have a mix of designers. One of the key things was bringing in local brands and local designers, so everyone is either from Vancouver, or their brand has derived within the Vancouver area, or the Lower Mainland. For example, we have a mix of designers who have a really dark grunge look, kind of that Yeezy style. Very loose, effortless, Rick Owens, very dark. [We also have] pieces that are classic street wear pieces. There are brands that have derived from car companies that wanted to push their brands, to even productions companies. You’ll see how diverse the brands are, but they all started very local, in a way, from the streets. Black Merle, they’re one of the big ones. This is a big deal for the designers as well because they get exposure to 200 plus people. Lots of industry professionals and agents as well. Some you can tell really derived from the streets. What all of these designers are bringing to the table, really, is their love for fashion, love for entrepreneurship, and their love for growing their business. They also have amazing connections. We have men’s jewelry lines, and women’s, etcetera. We have nine designers and brands on board and everyone is super excited. They’ve been putting in a lot of effort as well into their looks.
T: Cool, can’t wait to see! Tell me a bit about your background in event planning and what made you take on this position?
V: For me, event planning has come really easy, just because, in any kind of project or group situation, I like taking on the leadership role in the sense that I may not be that creative. Where I’m strong is directing the group with an agenda, or little pieces like that. Operations is my thing and for events that came really easily. I mean, I don’t have any experience planning other big events, but, I mean, birthdays and whatnot, I have those connections for that. I threw myself in this position and applied through Carli, [the VP of Events at the BCITMA], for the Creative Director [role]. She gave me the position because, I think, with the idea that I had in mind, everybody was on board with that. It worked to have me be that creative vision and create what the show and outcome would look like. From then on, we’ve been working with an amazing committee who’s been helping us fundraise and support us with everything. With event planning, its been more about building the connections I’ve had from the past and leveraging that. With a lot of the brands, we reached out through personal connections, or we were referred to them. I mean, that’s one of the things they teach you here [at BCIT]. This is your network, these are your connections, go build on that. I thought that I could bring a lot to the table with my past connections.
T: Your connections are definitely paying off. This event is going to be amazing. I’m curious to know how you got into fashion. Could you tell me a bit about that?
V: I think it started around middle school where I found who I really was and what my taste was. I don’t have your average size, like, petite girl body, where a lot of Vancouverites do. I’m Vietnamese and what I grew up in was, like, five feet girls who are under 100 pounds. My way to differentiate myself was definitely through style. Like spandex suits, Phat Farms, like these were grade six-seven fads back in the day. You follow that because everyone is doing it, but on the way, you develop who you are and your own style. That definitely comes with growing up and developing who you are. So who I am, like, personal style-wise, it definitely came around in the last couple years after graduating high school. Not having groups like you did in high school, you can find out who you are and your personality. You find out what works for you, what works for your body type, and you get more comfortable. That is what’s developed me. Also, working at Aritzia. They are a Vancouver fashion powerhouse and they are one for the local brands that you aspire to if you want to go into the retail industry. They are one of the companies that you want to be with because they’re one of the leaders in woman’s fashion. The older I get, the more I like just throwing on sneakers, I call it like a 14-year-old boy, in a way, from the streets. Like, super chill. Once you get into the whole sneaker trend, you start to branch into the blogs that they have and you become a part of that. Following on social media, you get inspired from them, and its true when they say that nothing is truly original. You get inspiration from something somewhere and you develop that.
T: So going off of inspiration, who are your top fashion inspirations?
V: I feel like that change constantly, but I love this fashion blogger names Aleali May. She started off as a model, but she’s not your average model. She’s just really cool. I love her because she is an influencer for Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West, like she styles their music videos, but she’s that friend that you ask for advice for. She mixes, like, a Louis Vuitton dress with some sneakers. Her look is like a mix of high fashion with street wear, and that’s where I am heading to. So she is definitely a huge inspiration for me. Who else I find inspiration from, of course, Kanye West. You can’t deny Kanye and Kim. Yeah, their egos may be big, but they have an amazing team who knows what to do. Also, Ronnie Fieg and Jon Wexler. Ronnie Fieg has his own store in New York City called Kith and, essentially, my goal in life is to open a store like that in Vancouver. Just nice and clean. He has designers from off-white, and then he has his own brand, and he has full on sneakers. I look to him for inspiration because he started in the sneaker wear industry and then he opened up his own brands. He did that becoming an influencer. Just a good mix of high fashion and street wear. Anybody like that.
T: I can definitely see the mix of high fashion and street wear. Any last words you want to end with?
V: DJ AVSTIN James is sick, like honestly. So easy to work with, so talented. I’m so excited for him to be big time and just to provide him with a platform for him to show his stuff. We also want to see this event as like a “no-fuss” event. I don’t want anyone stressing out going in, I just want people to, like, let loose, have fun, and have no expectations. It’s just a good way for people to come together. Good looking people, plus liquor, plus fun, equals the Cypher.
T: That’s great. Thanks so much Vanessa!
After chatting with Vanessa, I am confident that this event is going to go down in the books as one of the best fashion shows put on by the BCITMA. With flavors of her own personal style sprinkled throughout the event, this unique expression of Vancouver’s street wear is sure to inspire and impress all who attend.
Make sure to buy your tickets for the Cypher and join us on Saturday for a good time!
Where: The Pipe Shop, 115 Victory Ship Way, North Van
When: Saturday, February 13
How Much: $20