(photos by: Binzento)
Promoting Artist Redefining Kulture (PARK) is a Calgary-based, non-profit organization that promotes emerging fashion designers and artists. One of two major fashion shows of the year hosted by PARK – PARKShow 2015 was held past weekend at the 2nd level parkade of Calgary’s premium shopping mall, Chinook Centre.
Big congrats to the team for another successful turn out event that promotes the fashion industry of Canada. This season PARK has transformed the vast parking space of Chinook Centre into an oceanic-inspired venue, credited to the art installations by artist Jennie Vallis, curated by PARK’s art director Katrina Olson-Mottahed.
Incorporated in the two-part program of the evening were collections presented by local emerging talents including: Eliza Faulkner, Bano eeMee, CoutuKitsch, Forge Apparel, Lennard Taylor Design Inc, LUXX ready to wear, Suka Clothing, S.P. BADU, Vivian Lee Designs and 6Streets featuring Modern Menswear. Also on the runway was a medley of ready-to-wear merchandize from retail businesses inside the Chinook Centre, such as Spare Parts, Topshop and the Hudson’s Bay Company.
PARK has achieved notable success in this oil-business driven city, by establishing one of the most recognized non-profit organizations that provides the platform for emerging talents in Alberta. I’ve been a supporter PARK over the years and seeing its tremendous growth has made me feel proud of their team of volunteers’ hard work and dedication. But often success comes with trade-offs, and for PARK it seems to be a migration to commercial advertising, evolving away its intended initiative to redefine culture. For instance in this past PARKShow, I found that the focus on emerging designers was more or less smogged by mixing retail products on runway. I feel there is a bit of disconnect which lies between promoting independent designers and help them to prospect buyers, and marketing retail businesses. This is however understandable when sponsorship is crucial for majority of non-profit organizations to survive. And when they have sponsors, they are also obligated to advertise. I am very happy though that there was pop-up stations set up for local talents the day after the fashion event. Perhaps there is an alternative way to bring the attention back to the emerging designers.
As audience, we seek new information, we want to learn what we haven’t, and we want to feel excited. We also want to be involved, and we want to know who these designers are and why they are being showcased. Yes, fashion has a very niche-market here in Calgary, but that’s why redefining culture is so important to educate us and take pride of the work created locally by the promoting artists. Maybe we can revisit what the core values are for fashion talents to showcase their work here, and how the interested audience, influencers and buyers can be more engage and actually integrate themselves with the local fashion business.
The fashion industry for young Canadian designers is tough to breakthrough and even harder to solidify an identity if they are not already in fashion capitals like Paris, Milan, New York and London. Nevertheless, PARK has done some great work providing the stage for emerging talents of Western Canada, regardless of the limited resources and the lack of funding support from fashion institutions or government. That’s why I am looking forward to PARK’s fall PARKluxe ’15.
Do the things you love with passion; Learn from those you admire; Strive to become an expert at what you do xx
Binzento Vincente: A Fashion & Lifestyle Blog