Zac Posen on Diversity in Fashion

KIM_2580.450x675 Above: A look from the Zac Posen fall 2014 collection. Image found here.

Coco Rocha: The thing I always love about your runway girls is the diversity in terms of race as well as body type. This isn’t the case with most designers.

Zac Posen: I don’t do it intentionally. I cast my shows through character and beauty, and that’s something that comes in every shape, size, and colour. It’s mystifying to me why sometimes there’s such a a cookie-cutter ideal or look in fashion. I don’t think it’s beneficial; I find it very unchic.

-Zac Posen to Coco Rocha in “The Zac Pack” in Flare May 2014

Cultural Appropriation x Fashion: Think About It

Room: What do you think people misunderstand about cultural appropriation in fashion?

Lisa Charleyboy: Consumers are generally more sensitive about cultural appropriation in fashion in the indigenous context becuase it has been such a hot topic that’s seen mainstream media coverage. My personal stance on appropriation is there is a big difference between appropriation and inspiration. When designers copy cultural items–in particular those with ceremonial value–it is blatant appropriation. Fashion as an industry is heavily reliant on inspiration, but there is a difference between copying something directly (say a headdress) that has a specific use and context, and abstracting a print for a shirt.

-Lisa Charleyboy, founder and editor-in-chief of Urban Native Magazine, as well as the founder of the online shopping site in “The Back Room” in Room Vol 37.1

3 Canadian Style Finds for Spring

You’ve read our Editor’s Wish Lists for Spring 2014, here are a few more finds we think are worthy for spring. As a bonus, all of these items are Canadian!

1. Strathcona stockings


Image above found here.

Cult favourite, lady-run label, and  Vancouver-based designer Strathcona Stockings (the stockings are named after a Vancouver neighbourhood for readers who aren’t local)–what’s not to love?

2. The WORN Archive: A Fashion Journal about the Art, Ideas, and History of What We Wear


Get thee to a bookstore, ’cause the WORN Archive will be out in May. We’re huge fans of WORN–it’s Canadian, feminist, and all about why fashion and clothing very much matter. Details here.

3. Mod Style Blossom Voile Infinity Scarf by Veespoke 

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Above: Image found here.

Another Vancouver line, Veespoke, makes beautiful infinity scarves for folks who aren’t sure how to wear scarves! We love the bright selection (like the one above) and the very West Coast feel of this stylish local label.

Forever Stella Jean: The Best Spring 2014 Collection

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Above: Stella Jean Spring/Summer 2014 lookbook. Images found here.

Whoa. Where to even begin with Stella Jean’s amazing Spring/Summer 2014 collection? Not only are her designs stunning, colourful, and unique, but they are highly political and carry a powerful message. Stella Jean is a female designer, and a woman of colour no less, based out of Rome. Stella Jean’s location is very important for its proximity to fashion capital Milan as even fashion activist Bethann Hardison of the Balance Diversity team said that Milan would be on of the last cities major fashion cities to embrace the type of diversity Hardison wants to see on the runway.


Above: picture here and the ones following found here.

Stella Jean herself is very conscientious of what her collection means both as a fashion triumph and a highly personal work of art. Her interview with Flare in their April 2014 issue, “How Stella Got Her Groove,” was captivating. Stella Jean is mixed race, being Italian-Haitian. Her identity as such heavily informs her work as she noted to Flare,

Fashion is the best therapy against my rooted sense of inadequacy [...] It’s a way to bring peace to two emotionally conflicted sides of my personality: the European and the Creole. Fashion has given me ample space to find a place where these cultures could coexist.


Her dreamy, pattern-heavy creations are a message with every ensemble. Some of the fabric she uses is sourced from female artisans in Burkina Faso, while,

Jean [captures] her conflicted identity with what she calls a “wax-and-stripes philosophy.” The wax refers to traditional West African wax-print fabrics from her mom’s side, while the stripes represent the shirting from her father’s Italian heritage. She suggests that the mixing of the two–a gingham shirt, say, with a riotously patterned skirt- is a way of reclaiming her ancestral symbols.


As if these sentiments alone don’t prove how her work addresses pretty much every single thing this here lil’ site holds dear, Stella Jean also has a mission: “to promote a sophisticated and alternative multiculturalism through fashion.” Seriously, Stella Jean forever.

inspired by stella jean spring 2014

Coach graphic top, 215 CAD / Loose fitting top, 100 CAD / Aéropostale relax shirt, 19 CAD / Flower print skirt, 210 CAD / Boohoo floral print skater skirt, 22 CAD / Rupert Sanderson heel pump, 1,195 CAD / Express pointy toe flat shoes, 44 CAD / White House Black Market crystal drop earrings, 38 CAD / Nine West fringe scarve, 35 CAD

Looking to emulate Stella Jean’s designs? Embrace colour and bold patterns. Pick one big print and a smaller print, not two big ones (it will look too blocky) and not to small ones (it might look a bit too messy up close). Picking two pattens of completely different colours and don’t know which shoe to wear? A nude heel never fails in a situation like this.

Gloss over This: Debbie Harry


summary_story_1856488cHarry didn’t have many female musicians to model herself after. “I really came up at a time when it was Chuck Berry and Fats Domino,” she says. “It wasn’t that kind of mentality–girls certainly weren’t part of it. The only girls who sang were jazz-blues artists or gospel singers or R&B girl groups. Even that came a little later on.”

-Debbie Harry in “I’m a Band Girl” by Sarah Nicole Prickett in Flare April 2014

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