Kwantlen design grads gear up for year-end fashion show

Fourth-year Kwantlen Polytechnic University fashion design and technology students are busy making the final nips and tucks to their year-end collections, which will head down the runway next week.

Among the up-and-coming designers are Alexandra Dean, who grew up in North Vancouver and attended Argyle secondary, and Shelby Gillingham, a former North Shore resident who graduated from Handsworth secondary.

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As is the case every year, graduating students are tasked with developing a clothing line for a niche market. This year’s collections range from eco-friendly apparel for environmentally conscious tweens, to adaptive clothing for female wheelchair users, to casual attire for longboarding enthusiasts.

Gillingham’s line, NVRLND, consists of apparel for the female motorcycle rider. According to her designer statement, the clothing is  “designed for the youthful-spirited, adrenaline-seeking female who likes to make a lasting impression.”

Through market research, Gillingham noticed that women riders looked masculine and bulky in their riding apparel. So she endeavored to combine the aesthetic of high-end sportswear with safety and functionality.

Dean’s collection, FORM, is inspired by Scandinavian design. It focuses on minimalistic design and is influenced by architecture and geometric shapes. In her designer statement, Dean says she strives to create timeless designs that live beyond the seasons.

“As a consumer, I’m always trying to buy ethical pieces, however, in Vancouver, it’s particularly hard to find sustainable clothing that embody a contemporary style similar to mine,” she states. “I wanted to create quality pieces that are timeless yet edgy, something that is exciting.”

The year-end showcase of student work, simply dubbed The Show, will feature the designs of 37 graduating students. It takes place Thursday, April 24 at 1, 3, and 7 p.m. at the River Rock Show Theatre. Tickets are $18 for the afternoon shows and $38 for the evening show, available at

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