Designed in Calgary
Stylist Leah Van Loon

My latest Designed in Calgary was out in September issue of Avenue Magazine and I am so pleased with the results. Being the contributing editor is really special and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to feature such fine artists and designers as we had this season. 

For a little background, I began this initiative with Avenue in 2015 in order to feature local designers in a way I didn't feel that they were being looked at as such. Whenever we do a fashion editorial we always have a very strong fashion message and it doesn't always work with what local designers are creating for their clients. It's easy for me as a stylist to get lost pulling the most extravagant pieces to create a compelling story and I felt that our local talent wasn't being utilized to their best advantage. 

The reasons for this are not only because they may have a singular point of view but in addition they are designing for sales rather than marketing. Often in fashion designers or brands will create show pieces that may not actually be sold to their clients but the piece exists to provide opportunities for stylists and fashion editors to feature them and give them the publicity, legitimacy and name recognition they need to sell to clients. It seems very rare that our local talent is really in a position to create such a piece as it can be daunting to spend the money making a one off sample that not only might never sell but that might not even get you the editorial coverage you need. 

This was really an opportunity for local brands and designers to stretch their perpectives and create something more extreme for an editorial. In some ways it became a collaboration between myself and the designer as my goal as a stylist is to always create a unified story and a complete theme. Each piece needs to work with the others and within the confines of the magazine's interests and direction as well. As you can see we had an off figure shoot in mind and each designer was instructed to create something that could be shown successfully on one of my vintage hangars. I am really happy with the work everyone did and I can tell you they each outdid themselves. 

I am so proud of the community of designers and makers here in Calgary and I hope to have the opportunity to showcase even more of them in the future. 

*please check out the 2015 and 2016 Designed in Calgary issues to see the rest of the designers!