Fashion business keeps this brunette busy

Fashion firecracker Miriam Alden recently sent her brand of cheekily-phrased sweatshirts and on-trend threads down the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week earlier this month.

North Shore-raised Alden is a fixture in the local fashion biz, distributing a handful of stylishly affordable and mid-range brands through her sales agency, the aptly-named - given her trademark long brown hair - Brunette Showroom, located in East Van's Parker Building. The Oct. 2 fashion show included labels she represents: BB Dakota, Desigual, Lisbeth Jewelry, Glamorous UK, and Seychelles Footwear, as well as the popular sweatshirt line she recently launched, featuring quirky sayings like: "Fries before guys," "Paris made me do it," and "I definitely did not wake up like this."

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The bold sweatshirt concept started when Alden and her company's vice-president Ryan Pugsley wore sweatshirts with the phrase, "Brunette is the new black" to a trade show. Created for their own amusement, they had no intention of launching a sweatshirt collection.

"People would say, 'That's so cool; you should sell them,'" Alden says, explaining where the idea originated to create an entire fleet of sweatshirts for the line called BITNB (Brunette is the New Black) Clothing, which has taken off.

Hard to believe, but the stylish and statuesque brunette wasn't always a fashion phenom. "I think it's because I spent the majority of my life in a barn, so I didn't really care," Alden laughs. An equestrian, Alden spent her days riding her horse rather than in front of the mirror. The self-described tomboy even played football on the boys' team at Handsworth secondary, only hanging up her jersey when the guys got too big to go up against. But clearly, Alden isn't afraid to tackle whatever comes her way in the fashion business, which, contrary to popular belief, is a lot more grunt work than glamour.

Alden launched Brunette Showroom six years ago with a small loan from her dad, retired newspaper publisher Brad Alden, which she paid back within six months. Not just surviving, she has thrived, celebrating her company's sixth anniversary this month. The fashion dynamo credits her father's business acumen and advice with helping her along the way.

"Everything that comes out of my dad's mouth is something that is thoughtful," Alden says. "Anytime I need real advice, even if I don't want to hear it at all, I know he'll tell me the truth."

A portable showroom fashion truck that she recently bought with her friend, Privilege Clothing owner, Donni Rae Edmondson, is her latest project. Called WEST - Fashion Truck, Granville Island is expected to be the first stop on the pop-up express, likely around the beginning of November.

In the meantime, between her break-out sweatshirt line and busy wholesale biz, Alden already has lots to keep her trucking.

This is a revision of an article that originally appeared in our sister paper, the Westender.

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