Q & A with Jamal Abdourahman, Founder of Vancouver Fashion Week
1) Could you tell us about the evolution of Vancouver Fashion Week?
Started as a small warehouse show with mostly local designers starting in 2001. Now it is a global show with international coverage and over 100 designers every season. It has become one of the largest in North America and the only stand alone show in Canada to run for 17 years consecutive.
2) Do you support young designers or do you usually choose more established ones?
Definitely, finding emerging talent and showcasing their work is very important to us. VFW sponsors about 20 designers each season, giving them a platform which might have otherwise been unattainable. We also have the Nancy Mak award, a $5000 grant for one emerging designer that shows potential. The grant is to be used to help them show their works at international shows which we also help them set up. We tie this in with some established designers and brands also depending on the season.
3) Is the focus more on local or international designers?
We like to have an even mix. Canada has some amazing and talented designers which might not get the opportunity otherwise to have their own show on an international stage. Having an equal mix of international designers helps keep things fresh, there is so much talent out there worth showcasing. Its also a platform for designers to take inspiration from other countries fashions and styles.
4) How is Canadian fashion different from fashion abroad?
It doesn’t differ too much. Canada is a big country and fashion differs slightly from coast to coast but given its close proximity to America it takes a lot of its influence from across the border. I find that Canadian designers create their work with a lot of pride and use very high quality materials and production techniques.
5) How do you see Vancouver Fashion Week in 10 years?
I’d like to see VFW have an impact on the local fashion industry. People coming to Vancouver to design and staying to become established designers within west coast region.
6) What motivates you personally to continue and grow?
Over the years I have helped so many young and talented designers to establish themselves through our show. Seeing these local designers and the local industry grow helps me grow. From the beginning I had a drive to accomplish something that seems unattainable, to create something out of nothing, like VFW.
8) What advice would you give to young Canadian designers?
Focus on your drive; identify why you choose to design and let that guide you. Go all the way, and risk everything.
About Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW) | VFW is the fastest growing fashion week in the world and the only industry event that actively seeks out to showcase international award winning designers from over 25 global fashion capitals. For 30 seasons, Vancouver Fashion Week has celebrated multiculturalism and up-and-coming on their runways. We strive to identify undiscovered designers by providing an accessible and internationally reputable platform. Through international media coverage and cogent buyer connectivity, VFW has provided the exposure to project past designers on to the stages of success.