Binzento Finds...

Binzento Finds...
 Über cool finds Binzento comes across and he wants you to know

November 17th 2014
Binzento Finds… Mr. Boy London Sam Sarpong - An Interview
I had a recent phone conversation with English-American actor, supermodel and musician Sam Sarpong, congratulating his recent LAFW projects as well as his win at the BEFFTA’s Icon Fashion Award since the last time we spoke three years ago.


After been working with multiple LA-based brands such as Paris Homme and Horse of Arabia, Sarpong is prepared for his next adventure. Never slows down, the well-respected talent is constantly living the life of an entertainer.

Next spring, Sarpong will be co-starring in the comedy series “Average Dad”, and with his new music production on the way, we are certain that his household name will create major buzz in Hollywood in 2015.

“I will be releasing my single on December 17th, called Mr. Boy London. Currently I am shooting the music video - half of it will be filmed in London and half in LA” said Sarpong over the phone. As for the lead girl in video, it is none other than the beautiful Russian supermodel Eugenia Kuzmina. The title of the song not only ties nicely to his British root, but also reveals his long time supporter fashion label Boy London, which he has also been in their previous campaigns.
Sarpong with super model/actress Eugenia Kuzmina spotted leaving Kitson's in Hollywood. Photo: Sascha Knopft


We will expect to hear from Sarpong’s upcoming single, an iconic Euro-style dance and electro-pop genre. Other tracks to look forward to: Lose My Mind (featured song on VH1’s Hit The Floor) and Fresh Kiz. Looking forward to all of Mr. Sarpong’s upcoming releases, and perhaps hangout at one of his features next time I am down in LA again.


April 15th 2014
Unveiling the "Private Lives of Nashville Wives" - An Interview with Sarah Davidson and Jenny Terrell
TNT’s Private Lives of Nashville Wives (PLNW) ended last night with its season finale. Proving to be different than any other “housewives” reality TV shows, PLNW sets place in Nashville, Tennessee, one of the mechas for country music and revolves around the social circle of six women who have close ties with that industry. As the series unfold each of the characters’ story, life drama and struggles, I did find several elements in PLNW that could segregate it from other “housewives” spin-offs. Perhaps also having the opportunity to speak with two of the cast members Sarah Davidson, a country musician who is the ex-wife of songwriter Dallas Davidson and Jenny Terrell, who is married to JT Terrell and the VP of a leading internet company, PLNW is seemingly more approachable at a personal level.
Sarah Davidson


There are parallel aspects between Nashville and the city up north where I’m at, Calgary – It has the quality of life where Sarah Davidson describes it as a “big city”, while preserving a “small town” persona. She is proud to call Nashville, a place with “great Southern hospitality” her home. Her divorce with her ex-husband occurred during the midst of PLNW, but Sarah decided that she would “make a choice to be opened about it”. And perhaps her decision to stay “100% authentic” on camera during the show is what gives her the reflection to focus on her country music career. Being a member of the PLNW cast would definitely facilitate her in promoting her new album.

Similarly, Jenny Terrell believes that she has the “responsibility to be honest” to her audience. As I asked her whether if she plans her daily wardrobe before the camera rolls, she giggled as a corporate woman working towards an aggressive career, she found herself  “in working clothes and working shoes most of the time”. She laughed that Sarah (who is a fan of Alexander McQueen), would be the one that knows all about the fashion.
Jenny Terrell


As I chat with the ladies over the phone, they were very friendly and charismatic. They were both felt happy to be on the show. Jenny also felt lucky to be around a group of women that are “good at conflicts resolution”. Whether they are on or off camera, they would work on things to resolve issues together, which made them and their relationships strong. Maybe some people might think that PLNW doesn’t fit the formula of Hollywood’s “glitz and glam” that our pop-culture is craving for, but these Nashville wives, like Jenny said, are just “normal people with a story to tell”. Whether if their lives reflect on ours is debatable, their added genuineness to the show is what makes their stories more personal and more connected to our private lives.

Sarah Davidson's debut EP is now available on iTunes



January 20th 2014
Binzento Finds… Rob Stewart, "Revolution" - An Interview About Understanding Life (Save the Dolphins!)
Not often I post about global issues on my fashion blog. It brought to my attention in the last few days from social media and on the news regarding the inhumane captivity and slaughtering of dolphins in the Taiji Cove, Japan. The Taiji dolphin drive hunting, a tradition which apparently started in the 60’s, literally traps hundreds, if not thousands of dolphins at once only to be slaughtered for food, or resale to dolphinariums by Taiji’s local fisherman. As shown in the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove (2009), it’s indeed a cruel process and could greatly affect our natural oceanic eco-system.
Infographic: The Cove Campaign is Working
Via: TakePart.com

According to CNN Japan, more than 200 bottlenose dolphins are trapped for the fourth night at the Taiji Cove. Cornered by the local fishermen, some frightened dolphins have tried to escape by jumping over partitions, but only ended up wrapped in nets. The dolphins have not been eating for more than 72 hours, and by tomorrow most likely they will be slaughtered, gruesomely.
The Cove's bloody water from dolphin's slaughtering

As a cultural lover, we understood to respect other cultures’ traditions and practices. This however, cannot out compete my passion for protecting our environment and conserving wildlife. Dolphins are intelligent mammals, and just like humans they have very complex social behavior. They are aware of danger, suffering, and pain. And in some cases, they would even choose to commit suicide if they felt their lives were meaningless.

Whether if we could be loud enough with our voices to convince the Japanese government to: “please stop this mass killing, for the sake of compassion” is yet to be determined. Lets not forget that in other parts of the world, mass killing or hunting of endangered animals regardless of for festivity or for sport is still a norm. I am not saying we should completely halt cultural diversity, but these “animal torturing and killing” ceremonies are to my opinion unnecessary. Afterall, tradition is a custom practiced by a sub-group of people, which is an idea started by the first person I called “patient zero”. This means it can be changed, or altered in a way without further harming the Earth and its natural habitats.
Photographer/Film director: Rob Stewart

Not too long ago, I’d interviewed Rob Stewart, an award-winning Canadian photographer/ film director, and biologist who made the documentary Sharkwater (2007), a film about the journey to save sharks from extinction, and to propose a global banned on shark fining. Rob has inspired me through our conversation that there needs to be a balance between the eco-system and economy. We must learn the concept of sustainability, which is better to prosper businesses and persist into the future. The way to do this is really by “understanding of life”. 
In his recent 2nd documentary film Revolution (2013), Rob expanded and travelled 15 different countries to discover that “all of our actions are interconnected and that environmental degradation, species loss, ocean acidification, pollution, and scarcity of food and water are limiting, even reducing, the Earth’s ability to support humans”. By destroying our eco-system, we humans are making ourselves the next target to become endangered. In addition to examining deforestation in Madagascar, Rob even touched based on the detrimental effect imposed on Alberta’s enviornment from tar sand, a place which is close to my home.
What Rob initially thought was an easy project, was actually something much bigger. “There is so much of the planet in crisis” – said Rob, “It is the duty of an educator to know about them, and spread to word to the new generation. It’s everybody’s responsibility to take care of our planet.” The documentary Revolution is available on DVD and on iTunes for download, and is set to release in theatres internationally in 2014.

I will be staying tuned on the news tomorrow to follow up Taiji’s Cove dolphin story. I do wish that a miracle will happen to these dolphins, and lets do whatever we can, raise our voice and help them, and our only place to live in this universe, plead for mercy.

Find out more on Revolution film by Rob Stewarthttp://www.therevolutionmovie.com/


August 13th 2013
Binzento Finds… 6Q's Fashion Designer Interview Series: Rad Hourani
(photos: Rad Hourani Unisex Haute Couture Collection #10)
Meeting Unisex Haute Couture fashion designer Rad Hourani during my recent trip in Europe was a humble experience closed to my heart. I’ve known about his work via the fashion blogosphere community and was always interested to connect with him in person. It was my lucky day when I found out that he was going to be on the jury panel with me at the 2013 Be Next student fashion design competition - Even luckier when I was on the same flight as he was en route from Istanbul, Turkey to Batumi, Georgia. Perhaps his Canadian root made me felt closer to home, and excited to know that a fashion designer from Canada found success in the industry internationally. Since 2007, when Hourani launched his first collection, I’ve been following the evolution of his ‘genderless’ approach for shaping garments into unified body forms. He follows his philosophy of creating designs that will last a lifetime: “I’m always excited about today and tomorrow as I feel like perfecting my work everyday… it has to be timeless, and I have to still like it in the next 10 years.” said Hourani. As fashion always recycles, Hourani finds creative space to avoid falling into that trap: “It makes no sense for me to be inspired by any designer as there will be no creating, only recycling or copying…” he added. Hourani’s migration to Paris was a decision that certainly changed his career as a fashion designer. His talent and creativity led him to become, in fashion history, the first invited member by La Chmabre Syndicale de La Haute Couture in Paris to design and show a Unisex Haute Couture collection. His latest work continues to feature the signature style underlining architectural structures that defeat conventional fashion designs. Despite his busy schedule, Harouni graciously agreed to be interviewed by Binzento Vincente.

Q1 The "unisex" fashion concept is, arguably, a bold idea in the fashion business, tell us how did you come about this idea?

“I have always been driven by esthetic in general and not just fashion. I believe that looking for the exact thing to wear was the first step into designing my collection, I was looking for something very specific that did not exist, genderless, timeless, seasonless, ageless, and I’m glad that I found my own vision and language for the past 5 years.”


Q2 Women's and men's wear, specifically their designs to mold their body forms are distinct, can you give us some examples how you manipulate the two to become one (unisex couture)?

“I don’t understand who put these codes of dressing by gender. It doesn’t make sense to me that women should dress in a different way than men or vice versa. I am not trying to dress a man like a women or the opposite, I am creating a new way of dressing that makes people look modern without any limits. The human body is super important to me and that is why I took a full year to understand the different shapes of bodies and how I could make them longer, slicker, modern and comfortable in the same time. There was never a Unisex pattern before I created one…
I approach design like architect. It was an advantage for me not to be programmed by any school or condition, as I am my own teacher and judge. I have the freedom to create what ever comes to my mind that fit in my unisex vision. I am the first person to design a Unisex high end collection in the world and that comes from my no background.”
 
 
Q3 What do you think is the major challenge in recent years for new emerging designers to break through?

“Today’s fashion designers are just making collections to sell and to please editors and press, there’s nothing magical about that. Very few designers make things differently that can inspire people to think forward and dream. And I hope there will be more of that, people with dignity....”
Q4 What is your approach to break it into the next level, in terms of designs?

“It's a very organic way of working for me. I don't plan things to "break into the next level", I just do what feels right for me to do, day by day...”

Q5 Any sneak preview or hint for our readers on your next collection?

I am working now on the next ready to wear RAD by Rad Hourani collection #8 for SS14 that will be based on simple but detailed silhouettes styled on new casting. I want to rework my classics and to create a needed wardrobe that you can always look timeless, comfortable and effortless with. The Unisex lookbook will be out by the end of this September in Paris.

Q6 One word to describe the future of fashion, what would it be?

“I have no interest in fashion or knowing what will happen in it... My interest is in the people that live on this planet earth…”


July 2nd 2013
Binzento Finds… 6Q's Fashion Designer Interview Series: Avtandil
(photo: Avtandil Pre-Fall 2013, FW 2013/14; courtesy: Avtandil)
Fashion designer: Avtandil Tskvitinidze

“Women dressed in elegance” is the first phrase that came to mind when designer Avtandil Tskvitinidze presented his collection before international audience during my visit at the Botanical Garden near Batumi, Georgia last month (you can read that post here).  I was instantly drawn by his romantic aesthetic, and the way he presented his label “Avtandil” in a story-telling manner.


It is evident to me that Avtandil is able to communicate emotions through the design of fashion, which he uses effectively to build the connection with his audience. Perhaps this is in part due to his education in art and experience as a painter. One cannot deny his passion in avant-garde fashions as he avidly finds balance in the relationship between fashion and art, and maintaining individuality - something he advises young fashion designers to focus on.

Every industry has visionaries that think of creative ideas, and then there are executioners that carry out the ideas of the visionaries. Occasionally, we will find someone like Avtandil who excels at both. For Binzento Finds… 6Q’s with fashion designers series, I am humble to have the following interview with Avtandil – the artist that sparkled my attention to authentic Georgian fashion.

Q1 Tell us more about the theme and concept of your current FW collection, and how you approach to transform your vision into reality?

“I tried to connect fashion and painting to each other. The last collection is based on the theme “Infant” specially made for me by a famous Georgian painter Timchenko. I was inspired by this theme - a story about an actress who, despite of her difficult past life, tries to maintain greatness and splendor.
Q2 What is the major challenge as a Georgian fashion designer?

During the existence of the fashion house “Avtandil” and the time I’ve been conducting my business as a designer, I’ve made a great effort and hard work to achieve what we have as of today. Perhaps it would be much easier if I was from the country where fashion has a big history.  Though, I think that the fashion has no borders and it doesn’t matter which country you are from. To my mind, hard work is the key to achieve a success.”

Q3 What is one of the advantages, you think, of coming from Georgia? Do you incorporate your culture into your designs?

Georgia is a country with big historical and cultural traditions which often inspires me. Though I try not to reflect Georgian folk in my collections as well as not to design a cloth only for the local needs, nevertheless it is observed because the Georgian culture is closely connected to each Georgian and I am not exception as well. It is particularly obvious during my collections abroad.”

Q4 Who inspires you? Do you have a favorite designer?

As for inspirations, they differ according to the collections, I may be inspired during traveling and the architecture of various cities, as well as movies, books, my spouse or the daughter may become inspiration of my collection. For instance, after completion of my previous collection it was unanimously said that the presented dresses were made for my spouse.” 
Q5 To date, which in Avtandil, is your favorite collection?
While making each collection, I am in search of myself which requires great inner efforts; accordingly I particularly love each of them. Anyway, I think that my last collection is my favorite one... Designers make nothing if they don’t love their profession.”

Q6 What is the future of Avtandil? Any hints to our readers what will be coming next?

Brand “Avtandil” is continuously doing its best to achieve successes in individual shows of different countries as well as in fashion weeks. Nowadays, the clothes under our brand are being sold in many countries and we are trying to extend the selling area. At this stage we are working on a new collection to be presented in Paris and Milan showrooms. We’ll also provide the photos for your readers with great pleasure.”
 
Learn more about Avtandilhttp://site.avtandil.com/


June 25th 2013
Binzento Finds… 6Q's Fashion Designer Interview Series: Kay Kwok
(photo courtesy: Kay Kwok, Vogue UK)
The planetary alignment is happening for this London-based, Hong Kong-born visionary fashion designer, Kay Kwok. With his marvelous collection at the SS14 London Men’s Fashion Week, which was praised by many, and an eye-catching presentation that defined him as a designer of art and cosmology, Kay Kwok was on the right track.
His latest work accomplished the visual illusion concept - where he used techniques like polyester satin mimicry via strategically printing flare of reflections across garments. It’s a refreshing idea that perhaps will spur the, arguably, conventional fashion scene in recent years.  His success is proven by catching the eyes of editors from well-known publications like UK Vogue and Dazed and Confused. Here, it’s also the right moment for Binzento Vincente to do my first “6Q Interview” with this rising star.


Q1 Tell us when did you decided that "I will become a fashion designer one day"?

"When I needed to think of what to study in University- 
i have been interested in Art. However, to be an artist in Hong Kong is hard to survive. so i studied something art-related."

Q2 Your current work (especially previous collection) is heavily inspired by cosmology - explain where you come up with this concept?

"I am an addict of mysterious things - Something that is unknown, not clearly discovered yet by people, like the galaxy."

Q3 Who inspires you? Any particular designers that influence your work?

"Ummm… There are a lot I think, but I remembered when I first studied fashion design, Alexander Mcqueen and John Galliano influenced me the most."

Q4 As a non-local designer in London, what is the biggest challenge? Do you think you've over come it?

"The biggest challenge is that I would have to work even harder, as there are so many new talents in London. It is not easy to be discovered, so I am now trying to push myself and trying to get used to the tough life haha."
 

Q5 What is your most favorite thing being a fashion designer?

"To realize that there is unlimited possibility in fashion design."

Q6 Will you be launching your collection to other parts of the world (example: North America (NYC)?)

"Definitely Yes, if theres a chance for me."

Visit Kay Kwok: http://www.kaykwok.com/



May 27th 2013
Binzento Finds… Jewellery Designer Nico Yang
(Special Binzento Vincente 2nd Anniversary Post)
(photo sources: Nico Yang)
Jewellery designer Nico Yang

Taiwanese jewellery designer Nico Yang fascinated me with her creativity and exquisite one of a kind pieces jewellery designs. The aesthetic of her delicate jewellery work is astounding. I think it is the only right thing for me to do to share her work with my readers, and write a special post about it on Binzento Vincente blog's 2nd birthday. Nico had graciously created a custom Olympian head piece for me to wear during last season's New York Fashion Week. It caught many photographers' attention, and even been asked to introduce Nico's work to them. 
Headpiece on me worn during FW13 Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week

Nico's designs transpire something greater than just  fashion statement - it's visionary art that inspires many people including myself. Even though currently we live in two different continents, Nico and I communicated our thoughts about fashion and art in several occasions. I took my opportunity to interview her, so that my readers can get to know better this spectacular artist. (The interview was in Chinese format, but I've translated it into English as best as I could :)). B = Binzento; N = Nico

B: Please tell my readers a little bit about yourself, and your work.

N: "My name is Nico Yang, and I am a fashion jewellery designer from Taipei. Ever since I was a little girl, I loved art and colors. My mother had noticed my interest very, so she sent to drawing classes to develop my talent in art. After high school, I successfully entered one the most well known art schools in Taipei, which allowed me to expose various forms of art media. My realization of passion to become a fashion jewelry designer was during my third year when I was introduced to jewelry design. After graduation, I decided to build my own jewelry studio. Although I’d worked on various jewelry designs, I wasn’t satisfied with my direction at the time. I took a break after three years, went to London in search of inspiration and to further my education. Every week, I would go to various shows and museum exhibitions, hoping to gain new insight for my jewelry designs. I also began utilizing all sorts of medium for my jewelry work, so my style is quite multi-faceted. I really enjoyed attending different design courses and via my travel, I was able to experience many various cultures. I don’t like to live a life with restraints since there are so many things I love doing, for examples: drawing, cooking, fishing, traveling, designing and even mechanics – not the usual hobbies you expect from a girl. I translate my bold and colorful life, while maintaining the sense of elegance, into jewellery designs."

"我叫 Nico Yang 是個時尚珠寶配件設計師,台北人。從小就對藝術和的色彩非常有興趣,我的母親很早就發現這點,所以從小就栽培我讓我去學畫畫,培養出我藝術方面的天份,在高中因為喜歡美術,也順利地進入台北最知名的美術學校,讓我在學校接觸各種不同的繪畫和設計的技能,在學校的第三年讓我接觸到了珠寶設計讓我更堅定的要朝飾品設計發展,畢業後我選擇自己成立珠寶工作室,在這其中接觸很多不同樣的設計案,但是這卻不能滿足我自己,真正想要創作天馬行空的作品,工作三年後,我選擇暫時休息,然後去英國倫敦留學充電吸收更多新的想法和概念,每週我都會在倫敦的各大博物館或藝廊看各種大大小小不同種類的展覽,戲劇演出,這給我很大的啓發,讓我在現在創作上有很大的幫助,也讓我能更放心的大膽地去創造每一件屬於我自己的珠寶作品!做珠寶設計我已經做了11,對珠寶配件的熱情不減,反倒是常常去專研各種不同的技法,不斷的嘗試各種不同材質的材料去嘗試做更多不同質感的飾品,所以基本上我的設計風格是很多元化的!我最喜歡充實自己去上各種不同領域的設計課程,去各國體驗不同的風俗民情,我是一個不喜歡拘束生活人,一個有太多興趣的我喜歡繪畫,烹飪,釣魚,旅遊,組裝零件,敲敲打打製作作品,玩的總是一般女生,不可能會去做的事情,喜歡各種新奇的體驗,用大膽的色彩和誇張不失優雅的設計去詮釋我豐富的人生!這就是我!"

 
B: What or who inspires you to design these fabulous jewellery pieces?

N: "Many of my jewellery design inspiration came from the work of Vincent Van Gogh. I love his use of definitive colors in his artwork. I often look at his paintings to get a feel of color combination for my pieces. I also love to carry my camera when I am in the wilderness to capture plants and its surrounding habitats. When I find flowers and that look interesting, I take photos of it for design inspirations."

"畫家 文生,梵古 他讓我的靈感來源不斷,我喜歡他的用色是那麼的鮮艷分明,我常常喜歡看他畫作,從畫作中取得靈感有時後是在看畫中取得我想要的設計構想或者是色彩的搭配而且我非常喜歡帶著相機去戶外,最常就去山裡去觀察一些植物的生態,我會把一些特殊的植物或花朵拍下來,我喜歡大自然,所以我常常會去觀察一些植物的生態,或著拍一些天然形成的天然景色,作為我之後的設計的設計理念"

 
B: Who is your favourite designer and why?

N: "One of my favourite designers of all time is Jean Paul Gaultier, because of his bold, and vibrant colorful designs. I especially love his couture collections where he pays meticulous attention to details. Recent years I also like ex-Dior designer John Galliano’s work. Prior to his departure of Dior, I’d always paid close attention to its collections. I love the exaggerated pieces he’d created, and I admire his courage to express his passion and current state-of-mind through his designs. These designers are people that I admired, and wished I can learn from."

"我最欣賞的服裝設計師最早期的是 Jean Paul Gaultier,因為他的設計很前衛,造型和顏色搭配都是那麼的完美,我很喜歡他的高級定製服系列每個設計都這麼的獨特,在衣服製作上細節都很細緻,我很喜歡觀察很為小的細節所以我喜歡他的設計!近期的設計師我最愛的是之前Dior設計師John Galliano從他進Dior,我都一直有在注意他的設計作品,我喜歡他的設計概念,能強烈地表達自己想要呈現給大眾驚艷的感覺,我喜歡他誇張的服飾,和大膽的用色這都是為什麼我喜歡他們的原因,色彩是可以表達一個人內心的感覺,他們運用了造型和色彩去詮釋是自己內心的想法,去強烈地表達自己對設計的熱誠!很值得讓我佩服,和學習!"

B: What was one of your most memorable experience as a jewellery designer?

N: "This year, I participated a fashion show in London with Thailand fashion designer Sorapol Chawaphatnakul. His work is really consistent with my own personal style. British artist Daniel Lismore and I collaborated to work on some designs for Sorapol. Though I was given the theme to work on earrings that represent various cultures, Sorapol gave me tremendous creative space to design these jewellery pieces for him. It was memorable experience and I really thank them for providing me that opportunity."

"2013今年我跟泰國服裝設計師Sorapol Chawaphatnakul 在英國的服裝秀這是我第一次參與時裝秀的配件設計,Sorapol是個非常有想法的服裝設計師我跟他合作他給我很大的空間去設計飾品,基本上做到很誇張的耳環飾品,非常符合我自己風格,但設計我依照他的主題設計了不同國家風格的大耳環,我和英國現在當紅時尚行動藝術家Daniel Lismore一起參與設計Sorapol的服裝秀,也在其中與他互相交流一些設計理念和創作靈感讓我有很多新的想法和概念也感謝他們給我機會,讓我參與秀前前製作業和設計是如此的浩大,讓我非常難忘這次在英國工作經驗!"


B: Is there anyone you wish you can collaborate with?

N: "At the moment, I don’t really have anyone in mind. I am trying to focus on creating my own brand, and finding the right opportunity to expand my work into Europe and North America. I must work hard to create more pieces that can inspire people."

"我現在沒有特定想要跟誰合作,我現在最想要做的事是嘗試創造出一個屬於我自己的品牌,如果有機會希望在歐美發展我會想要做出更多好的作品讓更多人能看到我的作品!"
Nico Yang will be launching her personal website soon - for anyone who wish to contact her, you can message her via FB HERE. I like to thank Nico for her time for this interview, and also creating the amazing head piece for me during New York Fashion Week! xx




May 7th 2013
Binzento Finds… What's More Alive Than You
(photo sources: What's More Alive Than You)
The concept of "wearable art" interconnects the worlds of fashion and art industries. To me it is fascinating because a creative idea can be translated through garments and wearable materials and represented by the performance of human body form. Over recent years, I’ve been searching artists that use “fashion” as a form of medium to innovate their creativity. Perhaps that is due to my interest studying the mind of an artist, and one way is to observe their works. What’s More Alive Than You (WMATY), a fully “independent artists” supportive company based out of Milan, speaks my language.  A brand that was founded couple years ago by Mario Innocente, WMATY partners with various art institutions and organizations from around the world, and select artists or designers who exhibit the ability to execute one of a kind, original artsy fashion pieces and accessories.



WMATY SS13 collection highly focus on unique shoes and handbag designs, all can be purchased from their e-shop online.  The current showcased designers include Akikio Tanakashi from Japan who designed handbags inspired by Japanese coins, and Liza Fredrika Aslund from Sweden who created stilettos out of recycled furniture parts tying in architectural concept in an eco-friendly way. Other shoe artists like Lucia Pontremoli, Andrea Samantha Maggioni and Cristian Barato (all from Italy) designed an amazing shoe collection that are both inspiring and visually captivating. My favorites among them however, are the handbags designed by Filippo Mantone (Italy), which not only are fashionable, but also very innovative by adding  “continuous handles” to provide extra versatility.


I had an opportunity to chat with the Marketing Director, Giovanna Pineschi, about WMATY and its mission to help emerging designers to bring their work at a global perspective.

1.    The birth of WMATY:

Giovanna: “The brand What’s More Alive Than You was born in Italy few years ago and has two different offices, headquarter and product development office in Padova and marketing and communication office in Cagliari, Sardinia. We also have other offices in Milan (press office Italia and in Rome (external relationship).”

2.    What kind of merchandize is WMATY providing to the audience?

Giovanna: “Our collections are made up of design object to wear; beyond each product there is a concept, an idea, thought by a designer with its own experience, culture, background. A different story for every article, that’s the real concept of our brand: to create collections rich in research and style from different countries. From the concept to object for a new perspective of fashion!”

3.    How does WMATY select and review artists/designers and their work?

Giovanna: “The internal product development office and the manufacturers which develop the collections select accurately all the projects with a great concept beyond the idea. Every product is always accompanied by the name of the author and the selection can be done through CV or portfolios.”


4.    Mission of WMATY:

Giovanna: “We don’t follow or aim to create fashion trends, but we believe true luxury is to differ. Our collection do not follow seasonal trends but we want to offer high-quality accessories, entirely realized in Italy, with international design. The brand is focused on all those who are looking for accessories with a strong personality, refined and contemporary.”

5.    How will the brand take it to a global perspective and reach out to international audience?

Giovanna: “We have relationships in more than 90 countries: media online and offline, universities, designers, fashion schools, buyers. Thanks to this great network we can spread around our concept, absolutely innovative in the fashion market.”

6.    What does art + fashion mean to WMATY?

Giovanna: “Art is the free expression of oneself through a concept! So..What’s better than express (an idea) through a concept turned into an object to wear? That’s our idea of fashion-art: express a concept behind an artwork!”



Giovanna also said that WMATY is always interested to recruit and discover designers. The company is opened to receive submissions of portfolios and sample works. Be sure to visit their website: http://www.whatsmorealivethanyou.com/ and look for “participate” for more info or find out by contacting them via email.

I would like to personally thank you Giovanna Pineschi and her team for their time and effort. It was a wonderful experience getting in touch with their brand.




March 18th 2013
Binzento Finds… Sophia Models Bill Giofu
(A partial story to my Fairchild Television's story segment)
Bill Giofu, CEO & President of Sophia Models International (photo by: Binzento)

10 years ago, I have never dream of starting my own fashion blog and write about the local fashion scene. One reason being was that there weren't many "fashion things" happening back then, and also I just stepped foot in media work searching for my voice in the fashion world. 10 years later today Calgary without a doubt has grown economically and culturally. These however did not parallel with the rate of growth in the fashion industry. If we were to think our fashion industry like building a pyramid, I would say we are still at the foundation of the structure. 

On the brighter side, we see a group of believers and passionate individuals who wish to turn things around. Fashion bloggers such as Ania B, Anneke Forbes, Calgary Fashion and non-profit organization like PARK, have definitely contributed their effort in recent years to engineer the "fashion pyramid" of Calgary. Then we also began to see a movement of modeling agencies out scouting potential faces that could represent this city around the world. One of them is Sophia Models International. I sat down with the CEO & President of the agency Bill Giofu to discuss his point-of-view in Calgary's fashion scene and business potential. As a former model and previously in partnership with another modeling agency, Mr. Giofu has a clear understanding of how the fashion industry run. Since its establishment in 2010, Sophia Models International have gained solid recognitions in local fashion businesses. Their models are often booked for major fashion events in Calgary such as The Heart Truth, PARKluxe, Glenbow's SCHMANCY and Holt Renfrew's special presentations. Recently, their models were selected for MAC cosmetics' Archie campaign. We've also seen success with some of the models they represented, such as Holden Nowell, who was famous for his role in Carly Rae Jepsen music video and was named one of Sexiest Men Alive by People Magazine in 2012.

Still, with all that enthusiasm from this growing city, fashion is a struggling business. There is just not enough advertisers who are willing to invest the bucks to hire models for ads. Perhaps we are not ready to step out of the comfort and conservative zones. That in turn causes another problem which Mr. Giofu had mentioned: "We don't have any full time models". When something does come up, sometimes it gets difficult to find models that are available outside their regular jobs or lives. To me, no advertisers = no jobs for models = no full time models for advertisers - it's a viscious cycle. 

Ironically, as much as I complained about the "lack of fashion" in Calgary, when you think deeply and ask yourself: "What other cities in North America other than New York, Montreal, and maybe Toronto are actually "fashion forward"?" I've been to LA, I don't think it's a fashion conscious city (at all). Neither was Vancouver, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and I could go on…Sometimes I feel disconnected even in those cities, and such an outcast if I flaunt myself with my "preferred" wardrobe. To a certain extent, we should feel grateful that we at least have fashion events running, bloggers blogging, and Calgarians willing to spend money on fashion goods. We should also thank modeling agencies for providing faces for photographers and editors - without them, where else can we recruit people to take part in creative work within proximity?

As I walked around the Sophia's office, I saw all of their models' profile cards - We have some great models in this city, whether for editorials, runway or TV commericals. Time has changed (since 10 years ago), and the world is becoming smaller with social media. Models nowadays really need to engage themselves with their audience, and utilize their social media tools to promote unique presence. Mr. Giofu has also turned to the usage of the social media and bloggers to boost exposures of Sophia's models. Personally, I agree that it's one of the most effective ways for models to gain booking potential. The social media also provides platforms that allow models to speak for themselves. And what is one tip that Mr. Giofu has for new or aspiring models? It's the "attitude" he emphasized - one of the key factors to a model's success. A positive attitude will enhance connections with clients and increase the likelihood of being rebooked and referral in the near future.

For Chinese audience who subscribed to Fairchild Television on cable network, catch the full story on my show Alberta Report - missed it? Watch the re-run on Mondays 8:30 am on Fairchild Television :)

Sophia Models International: http://www.sophiamodels.com

December 30th 2012
Binzento Finds… Warwick Rowing's Naked Rowers
As we wave goodbye to 2012 and welcoming the big 2013, it’s also time to trash our old calendars and renew them. Pictorial calendars really accommodate a wide range of interests. There are fashion, food, pets, and some that I called it “sexy”. Forget about Sports Illustrated, here’s a calendar with beautiful, bold and athletic youngsters wanting to make a difference in the community. Boys and girls from the rowing clubs of the University of Warwick are stripping down – like all the way – for calendar photos. 
The calendars are for sale to the general public and proceeds goes to help fundraising the clubs and their charity of choice. The Warwick Rowing “naked boys” calendars have been proven successful in the past. This year they will be donating the money from calendar sales to Outsports anti-bullying campaign. Without a doubt, the guys looked stunning under the lens of Angus Malcolm.

In 2013, the girls also decided to follow the footsteps of the boys, going nude for a good cause. Their charity of choice is the Macmillan Cancer Research, specifically for help funding research for cervical cancer. I am thrilled to have the coordinator of the men’s calendar, Alexander Kullmann, for a Binzento Findsquick 5 questions interview:

B = Binzento; A = Alexander (Warwick’s Rowing’s naked rowers)

B: When did the naked rowers calendar established and how did this idea come about?

A: “The first Men's Naked Calendar was started in 2010. This is our fourth calendar.”

B: How does the organization decide the specific charity to support?

A:We see what is happening, and see if there is anyone on the team who is particularly passionate about a charity.”
B: What was the amount rose to fund charity previous year and what’s the target this year?

A: “We are probably looking at raising a few hundred pounds. It's difficult to guess.”

B: Was it difficult to get the boys/girls to strip down for photos?

A:Not at all! Everyone is a bit awkward at first, but then everyone gets in the spirit of things.”

B: Any future planning perhaps doing collaborations with other institutions?

A:We have started planning the 2014 calendar. We did try and get some of the GB rowing team to take part. They declined.”

The calendars are available both in print and for digital download! (Although the last time I checked the boys’ in print version was so popular that it's already sold out). Click the link HERE for more info on the calendar purchase, for a good cause. 
You can check out their behind the scenes trailer HERE.

Also, follow their Twitter for latest updates @naked_rowers


December 12th 2012
Binzento Finds… KMB
It's a regular routine to receive many unexpected media releases in my mailbox, there was one in particular that caught my attention recently - a new S/S 2013 fashion lookbook by Kevin Michael Barba (KMB).  Not familiar with the designer, surely I went to his official website to find out more. The only "info" I got was a quote on the homepage that says: "Style is something you're born with. So is an inheritance. It's what you do with it that matters." After searching some more from other blogs, Binzento Finds… that KMB is a young, 20 yr-old, passionate individual who wants to become the next big thing in New York social scene. In his message, KMB also stated that aside from being called a "socialite",  he also wants the world to know about his entrepreneurship, and style icon for inspirations. The up-and-coming KMB had recently been photographed by Vogue Italia, GQ Germany, and can be seen on MTV International series "Super Sweet World Class".  
Despite the early mixed press (from the blogs I came across), I have a sort of dfferent perspective about KMB. Through our conversations, I felt that he is a respectful guy who has an ambition to be somebody by doing things he has passion for. Not saying that everyone should publicized themselves, but I do believe KMB sets a good example of boldness, dedication, and passion as the driving force to success. After a year since his "debut" (and attended Parsons), KMB is telling his audience that he is not just talk. The latest S/S 2013 KMB collection revealed refreshing color blocking scheme, focusing on youthful minimalism. I got connected with KMB and decided to do an interview with him:
KMB at OUT Magazine OUT100 Party

B = Binzento; KMB = Kevin Michael Barba

"I am Kevin Michael Barba and I am a fashion designer, currently focusing in menswear and unisex accessories based in New York."

B: What makes you interested in fashion? 

KMB: "I am specifically attracted to fashion because it is an all encompassing art form. Being able to pull inspirations from all avenues and focus them into a collection is incredibly gratifying."

B: What describes your personal sense of style/fashion? 

KMB: "My personal style is non-discriminant; I am attracted to so many different styles, designers, fabrics, and eras that my style tends to be very collected and juxtaposed. My splurge items are sweaters and shoes. I am very experimental with color in my wardrobe as well."

B: Who is your favorite designer(s) and why? 

KMB: "My favorite designer of the moment is Raf Simons, he is a true visionary and his clean, modern, colorful aesthetic attracts me to wear his clothes every season. I also love Ralph Lauren, the lifestyle brand he has built is brilliant. You can always count on Ralph to deliver classic, fashion-savvy wardrobe staples a every price point."
B: Tell us about your inspiration behind Kevin Michael Barba SS13 collection? 

KMB: "The concept I had developed for this collection was “One part POP, two parts WASP.”I pull inspiration from so many sources that it was in fact difficult for me to edit. Specifically for this collection I relied on places I’ve visited to inspire the color palette. Specifically, my brand signature teal, is connected to my childhood spent in the Hamptons. The styles and cuts are classic menswear conventions given my own fresh twist. I wanted the collection to be sophisticated without pretension or restraint."

B: What do you think is the biggest challenge for a new/upcoming fashion designer?

KMB: "The biggest challenge for new designers is that the industry is already so saturated with talent that it can be difficult to break in. However, I’ve found that seeking out mentors or researching the careers of other designers can be of infinite value when trying to make your mark in this industry. There is no shame in asking for help and often times industry veterans are happy and willing to share contacts to help an up and comer."

B: How will you progress yourself to become the next “big” thing? 

KMB: "My job as a fashion designer is to create clothing that people want to wear while staying in-tune with my creative intuition. I have given myself completely to my premiere collection and I plan to do so each season. That is my job, the rest is out of my hands."
 
 
 
B: Are you planning to showcase your collection in the future international fashion week? Which fashion week do you want to have your collection showcased the most?

KMB: "We are currently scheduled to present Kevin Michael Barba FW13 during Fashion Week in New York. We premiered the collection at Pitti Uomo in Italy this past Spring and it was such an incredible place to launch. I am ever inspired by many cities around the world and would love to show internationally in future seasons."

B: Upcoming projects/plans in the year 2013 and 2014? 

KMB: "I am so excited for the upcoming year and am equally excited to announce all of my upcoming projects. I hope to continue to expand my brand and encourage people to dress confidently and unapologetically through my pieces."

Thank you KMB for his time for the interview. For more info, you can follow him on:

Twitter: @kevinmbarba
Instagram: kevinmbarba


September 30th 2012
Binzento Finds… TIMBEE LO
Perhaps this is one of my most exciting interviews and features on this column; Binzento Finds… TIMBEE LO, a local Hong Kong based fashion designer/label. I was first introduced to TIMBEE LO by my friend Polly, who showed up at a fashion event with highly avant-garde fashion accesories pieces by the designer. I am all about accessorizing, and sure enough it caught my attention. She asked me to check out his collections, instantly I fell in love. TIMBEE LO speaks to the inner child of my heart. "Fashion fantasy" is what I would call it; I like the way they challenge themselves by executing surrealism, and creating pieces that only one could imagine. I can also imagine Lady Gaga would carry them perfectly. I had a chance to interview the wonderful designer behind TIMBEE LO. It is one that's close to my heart, because it is Hong Kong based (where I was from), and TIMBEE responded in Chinese (my native language). And of course, I translated them for my English readers :)) 
One of the cutest handbags I've seen by TIMBEE LO

B = BinzentoT = TIMBEE 

B: Tell us about TIMBEE LO, how it all started? and when did you build an interest in accessories design?


T: "我本身係一個男裝設計師, 主玫男裝時尚服裝, 2005年首次推出男裝服裝系列於海港城寄賣, 不過反應一般, 之後發現女裝的時裝發展空間較大, 於是開始生產女裝系列, 的確反應比男裝更好, 於是之後亦開發了飾物的系列, 飾物的產品本來只屬於一小部份的生產線, 不過由於與合作伙伴的無限創意發揮所以令飾物產品有魔力一樣的藝術感令很多女士也很喜愛, 慢慢飾物系列也變了一條很重要的生產線"
 “I am actually a menswer designer, and focuses mainly on men’s fashion. In 2005, I launched my line at Harbor City (HK) but the response was moderate. Soon I realized women’s fashion had a greater market to explore, and started new women’s collection. As expected, the response was much better than my men’s pieces. Subsequently I expanded the women’s collection with accessories line. At the beginning they were only produced in small quantity, but with my partners infinite creative ideas the products soon became something magical, and attracted many young female audience. Progressively the accessories line became one of the essential lines of my brand.”

B: Tell us about your designs and where does your inspiration come from?

T: "我是Alexander McQueen的fans, 小時間看報紙看到他設計的時裝表演, 我覺得很夢幻原來時裝是這麼有型的一回事, 於是修讀了時裝設計亦一直以舞台感與實用性平衡的方法去設計, 所以我的靈感其實可以來自很多方面, 只要將它誇大和戲劇化就已經變得很有趣"
“I am a fan of Alexander McQueen. I’ve been reading about his designs when I was a child. I was like a dream; I felt inspired and found fashion can be so chic!”

B: Are you currently working by yourself or is there other team members who works for TIMBEE LO?

T: "我的設計團隊其實很細, 時裝及飾物部門只有一個人負責, 我就是負責給他們計劃和idea的人, direct他們去設計及生產一些很有趣又能給日常生活使用的產品"
“My design team is actually quite small; I have one person in charge of both fashion and accessories. My role is to provide the creative direction and ideas, to produce creative pieces that are both interesting and functional.”

B: I noticed that your work is very whimiscal and fairytale like, how do you go about choosing the specific themes for each collection?

T: "我地品牌背後有一個宗旨是"怪博士的實驗室", 就是卡通片常見的一種劇情, 會在森林中找很多不同的素才來創作他的實驗品, 所以我們會運用到很多動物, 樹木,  金屬, 古物等等, 我們會用不同的手法去演繹, 而少女味道的感覺只是為了迎合市場女性的需要, 我們試過做得很血腥但女士一看到就嚇跑了, 所以我們才會用可愛少女的味道去包裝我們有點變態的設計產品, 慢慢把概念滲入她們的生活中"
"There is one major theme behind our work “Mad Scientist’s Laboratory”, just like the ones you see in cartoons. We vision the things we could find in a forest from an animation film, and “experiment” on them. Hence you’ll find animals, trees, natural and ancient materials, inspire many of our designs. We try use different ways to interpret our ideas, creating something whimsical was to accommdate the general female clients we’ve been attracting. We’d tried to “step out of the box” by creating something more morbid and gothic, but that actually scared some of our female clients away. That’s is why we incorporated the cutesy designs in our over-the-top ideas to dilute our “mad scientist” theme. Slowly these products became a part of their lives.”

B: Have you showcased your designs in major fashion shows or exhibitions?

T: "每年的香港時裝節我們都會有展覽攤位展示出來年最新的產品系列, 10月我們更會首次到台灣作時裝表演及展覽, 希望吸納更多的顧客"
“We set up our station every year at the Hong Kong Fashion Week. In October, we will also travel to Taiwan for the first time and exhibit our work. We hope to attract more buyers.”

B: What is the current collection in showcase?

T: "將會推出高級晚裝系列, 更有前衛的晚裝飾品會推出"
“The current collection being showcased is high-fashion night wear, also avant garde accessories.”
 Rings by TIMBEE LO
 

B: How will TIMBEE LO as a brand hit international fashion market? (if you've got any plans to expand)?
T: "其實我們有很多意大利及杜拜的客人都會訂購我們的產品作當地銷售, 但如果叫我出外發展我暫時還未有這個能力及財力去支持"
“We actually have many clients from Italy and Dubai that will order our collections for their corresponding boutiques. We are still working on the international market. As of now, we haven’t had the manpower nor budget to carry out.”
TIMBEE LO never fail to surprise to me by bringing the most creative work to the table. The whimsical fashion and fashion accessories continue to make me smile. It is more than just fashion; there is also a great deal of art involved. 
Check out the website at http://www.timbeelo.com if you enjoy playful accessories as much as I do :)~. 



August 25th 2012
Binzento Finds… Fashionistas Fever
(photos courtesy: Binzento Vincente; Fashionistas Fever)
One of the most beautiful things about living in the multicultural Canada is being able to come in contact with all sorts of people of different ethnic backgrounds and cultures. Even in fashion, I could taste "a bit of everything", and learned the histories behind different coutnries' styles and designs. On the runway, it is not uncommon to see designers feel inspired by a specific ethnic concept and incorporating them into their collections. Here in YYC, there is an emerging support for overseas designers, and many buyers like to seek alternative niche to find unique fashion pieces. Middle-eastern fashion scene has been one that's in my mind recently, mostly because I felt more exposed to it than ever before, especially when middle-eastern fashion is barely in trend in Asian countires like ChinaKorea, and Japan. I respect the middle-eastern traditional fashion though, because there is so much history behind it, and even till this day the styles and designs persisted. I recently met with Maryam Fatima, an entrepreneur from Pakistan. Noticing a growth in the middle-eastern population in YYC, two years ago she decided to open a small & intimate boutique at her home…so here Binzento Finds… her boutique Fashionistas Fever

The original idea behind Fashoinistas Fever is to provide middle-eastern women access to trendy middle-eastern style clothing in Canada. The boldly colorful, high energy, and elegant fashion pieces are originated from the middle-east and designed by Pakistani designers such as Sara Salman, Aisha Shiraz, Motiz Needlez, Nadya Vissage and many more. Fashionistas Fever also caters traditional middle-eastern wedding gowns for both women and men, as well as one of a kind fashion accessories. When I asked Maryam about the different clients she had, she said: "Nowadays, some of my clients are not from the middle-east, but often come to my place to look for traditional middle-eastern fashion pieces for parties and special occasions". I might not wear a complete middle-eastern attire to an event, but definitely would mix-n-match with some of her accessories the boutique carries. I am sure it would be a "street-style spot worthy" photo if styled appropriately. 
I spent a good afternoon with Maryam chatting about middle-eastern designers and fashion. She said currently the top designers are "Hassan Shaheryar Yasin, Sana Safinaz, Umber Sayeed, Nomi Ansari and Chinyere". They are considered the high-end designers in middle-east fashion designs and their work can cost thousands of dollars depending on the collection. Fashionistas Fever is moving ahead to expand the knowledge of middle-eastern fashion designs in Canada. Maryam is passionately looking forward to share her culture to fashionistas in YYC and beyond. It's been a pleasure chatting with Maryam and I would like to thank her for the great hospitality. For more information about Fashionistas Fever and boutique collections ---> Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Fashionistas.Fever.Page


August 6th 2012
Binzento Finds… Jason Gogo
(photos courtesy: Jason Gogo, KO of Olmo)
He is a well respected contemporary artist by many, for his unique take of creating a visionary universe that goes beyond imagination. After years of experimentation with art media, he has mastered a self-taught signature style, which ultimately became one of the most sought after original work of arts among collectors, including Hollywood celebrities. He is Jason Gogo, a Calgary based artist, and perhaps the closest celebrity painter "Binzento Finds…" in proximity. 
works of Jason Gogo

For someone like myself, who did not pursue art as a career, it's almost too comprehensive to describe in detail the thoughts of an artist into writings. However in my opinion, there is an arbituary value attached to artwork, which it could mean nothing to one person but meant everything to another, and that's the beauty of it. For me, Jason Gogo's paintings are absolutely desirable objects. Raising in a family where art was not scarced (Mr. Gogo's father is a long-time art educator), Mr. Gogo was fortunate as a child being able to explore this avenue. He became a full-time artist in 1997, and since then, his career boosted significantly especially during his time when his studio was located in L.A.Hollywood. His work was greatly appreciated by a broad spectrum of audience, and was even honored to commission a series for the Oscars A-listed participants. His fame goes as recent as being filmed in TV shows, including Real Housewives of Vancouver
KO-M and Jason Gogo

I met Mr. Gogo through my most beloved blog supporter Mrs. KO-M, and was later introduced to his work when I visited her home and saw his piece hung on her art wall. I decided to contact Mr. Gogo for a nice coffee date to talk about his work, and of course I didn't miss my chance to ask him for an interview. I think I approached at the perfect time: "I will be moving to Las Vegas soon" said Mr. Gogo, "It will be the greatest opportunity to expand the market for my work." Mr. Gogo will be working with one of the top art publisher in America, Brandon Donofrio, CEO of Get Down Art. "That's awesome!" I said. Even if Mr. Gogo is already a well-known, established artist, he said the move to Las Vegas is tremendous for him: "If I do my work in my Calgary studio, I am living in Calgary; If I cater my clients from my Hollywood studio in California like before, then I live in Hollywood. But when you can do your work in Las Vegas, you are like living in different parts of the world everyday because of the dynamicity, and high traffic of international audience." When I asked about his inspiration, Mr. Gogo believed that in his perspective, a real artist doesn't need to find inspiration vehicle to create. "Inspiration comes from the most natural subjects." he suggested. He has derived a formula that allows him to create art at any given time. The only difference is he explores a variety of medium, textures and emotions that will ensure no single piece of his work is identical. Mr. Gogo is also obsessed with the notion of singularity, especially mathematical geometry, particle theory as well as the cosmic universe. You will find light years time in his paintings, which tells a story of the universe history via his vision. I am fascinated by his concept, and though there are many contempoary artists that pay tribute to our wonderous universe, I enjoyed how each shape or particle was carefully planned, and stories can be interpreted the same way by different people. The "message of the artist" is executed with clarity, while also leaving room for "imagination".
The meeting with Mr. Gogo taught me a few things about being a successful artist. It is important to have passion in what you do, but simultaneously the artist should also learn the business side of things to build a career out of it. He said he is currently full booked with commission work, hence for him to spend the afternoon with me to chat was a pleasure. From here, I wish him further success in building his art empire in Las Vegas. For more info on Jason Gogo's work, please visit his website: http://www.jasongogo.com/


July 20th 2012
Binzento Finds… Lisette Xavier
It's been quite some time since my last "Binzento Finds…" post. I haven't forgotten about this column, it's just that I've been occupied with planning upcoming projects for this blog. However, when I do come across things or people that "I (Binzento) finds" interesting, there is no question that I will share them here. And this week, I found YYC's new and upcoming song writer Lisette Xavier.

I always believe that everything happens for a reason, including the people you come across in day-to-day life. First time I met Lisette Xavier was at the Calgary Comic Expo, which happened few months ago. At that time, I didn't know much about her, all I knew was that she assisted the local band Septembryo's private booth. Not until recently, at a fashion charity event where Lisette was invited to perform, then I realized Lisette is actually an aspring songwriter. She recently debuted her first music video for her first written piece, The Leap
The Leap music video

Lisette's voice was captivating, and the video was beautifully edited by George Georadis of Lucid Lights Studios. For a local production, I give it thumbs up and can't complain more. The Leap underlies a dark, and sad tone. "My songs are mostly depressing" said Lisette as we sat down at Higher Ground coffee shop in Kensington. Frankly I was surprised, because her music does not reflect to her cheerful, talkative, and carefree personality. "I usually don't talk about sad things that happen in my life, it's my way to express myself, through music" she explained. There is definitely nothing wrong with that, I mean I do trust this is a part of being an artist - to be able to express a subconscious emotion to connect consciously with the audience. In fact, I very much appreciates the "catchy melody", and "simply relevant lyrics" Lisette creates, which can potentially categorize her as an indie-pop artist: "I am not afraid to admit that I like pop and mainstream music. For me as an artist, I want people to listen to my work, and I want a mass of people to share my music with. When you reach that kind of volume, your music can easily become mainstream." I couldn't agree more with her. Being unique doesn't necessarily make you a great musician nor artist. It is how you approach your audience, and whether your work could capture their hearts and connect with their souls.
When asked how Lisette started writing songs, she said she began writing at an early age: "I wrote my very first song when I was 9 years old, after going to a  Chantal Kreviazuk concert. She inspired me to write my own song. It was a bad song though, a very bad one lol". She added: "I only had two years of formal school learning how to play a piano. I admired pianists who mastered piano skills. I haved experienced that to play a piece on the piano, you are asked to replicate and play exactly what's on the music. I found that deminishes creativity, as a musician, it's one of the reasons why I quit my piano lessons."
As we further discussed about her upcoming album, Lisette said her debut album will have 6-8 of her personal tracks: "It is a lot time and effort especially when you have to juggle with other work and projects." With that being said, both Lisette and I agreed that doing what we do (blogger, musician, artists…), we shouldn't devalue ourselves, and really should let people appreciate our hard work. "I think it is important that we realize our work does mean something" she said, "If I want this to be my career, I better care about the business side of things and be able to sell my music." Again, I couldn't agree more. After our meeting, I did a few shots of Lisette for this post. She insisted black and white photos, because she likes the way how they look timeless
Lisette Xavier's upcoming album will be launched later in the fall. For those of you who enjoyed the song The Leap, show some support and you can purchase her song HERE. And to know more about Lisette and future updates including album release, you can visit her WEBSITE, as well as her FACEBOOK page or follow her on TWITTER.

Photos courtesy: Lisette Xavier; Binzento Vincente


May 22nd 2012
Binzento Finds… The Gnostic Eden
Rarely, Binzento Vincente gets a chance to talk about theatre productions, let alone ones that are overseas. However, I took every opportunity I can to write about this one - The Gnostic Eden - which will be showing in Hong Kong between May 25th-27th, produced by the Pleroma Theatre, is proudly a work of art by fellow Hong Kong artists. 
The story takes a modern point of view of the biblical stories and allegories, using contemporary dance, cultural music, and 3-dimensional images to maximize different styles of interpretation. What attracted me the most about this upcoming theatre drama was the creative direction, which expressed heavy imageries of love, life, death, and spirituality. The costume designs based on the preview also looked amazing. There is quite a mystical feel with a hint of "zenness" attached to them. Because of the biblical theme, we will hear familiar names that are from the Bible in this story, such as Adam & Eve and Noah. I got a chance to interview the creative director of The Gnostic Eden, Zeke Li, to talk about the work and inspiration behind this production:
Binzento: What is the concept, storyline, and inspiration behind The Gnostic Eden?

Zeke Li: "Choreographed by reputed Andy Wong and directed by Ben So, The Gnostic Eden is the First Multi-media Dance Theatre adapted from the Nag Hammadi Library. The Nag Hammadi Library, of no less importance than the Dead Sea Scrolls, is a collection of early Christian Gnostic texts written in Coptic. These manuscripts, dating from the 2nd to 4th centuries AD, had long been lost until they were accidentally unearthed in Upper Egypt in 1945. Today the whole collection has been published and translated. In-depth studies of the texts abound. Gnostic Eden is the dance adaptation of three Nag Hammadi texts. Based on the gnostic interpretation of the biblical myths, this dance theater revisits and gives illuminating twists to the traditional stories of Eden and Noah's Ark. Here Eve and Norea, Noah's wife, turn out to be the real Saviours of the world: they not only redeem their husbands from the Archons, but also give humankind the divine knowledge necessary for salvation…"

BinzentoHow were the performers selected for the roles?

Zeke Li: "It was an uneasy job to select performers for The Gnostic Eden. Dance and drama techniques are basic requirement. They also need to be in good physical shape and have a strong spiritual consciousness."
BinzentoWhat was the most interesting AND difficult part for this work of art?

Zeke Li: "It's an usual mixture of art forms, including drama, contemporary dance, aerial tissue, live percussion, Tibetan singing bowl, stand-up comedy, live fire dance, 3D animation and Hebrew, coptic and Chinese Biblical typographic projections. The most difficult part is to get the approval of live fire use on the stage."

Binzento: Can you briefly talk about the custome designs?

Zeke Li: "The costumes are designed by the renowned make-up artist and fashion photographer Donald Chiu. He has created original looks for the all characters. Stretch fabric and novelty fabric with metallic yarns, applied glitter and sequins were used."
Binzento: Where do you want this performance lead to in near future?

Zeke Li: "The Gnostic Eden will performed in Mandarin and English in different cities in Asia in near future. Another drama about life of Jesus adapted from Gospel of Judas and other lost gospels has been written also. It will be the next drama of Pleroma Theatre Production."
The Gnostic Eden is more than just a story with a biblical theme; it also takes on the challenge of searching new styles of modern performances, which include contempory art and technology, to a new level. As mentioned by Zeke Li, The Gnostic Eden will be performed in English language in different cities in the near future. I hope that this show will eventually travel to Canada some day. :) Thank you Zeke Li for the time and interview. For more info on The Gnostic Eden, please visit The Pleroma Productionhttp://www.pleroma.hk/


April 11th 2012
YYC artists mini-series Part 4 of 4
Binzento Finds… Kristin Richard (Kaviar Pearls)
The final Part 4 of 4 YYC mini-artist series in Binzento Finds… is featuring Kaviar Pearls' Kristin Richard. Kaviar Pearls specialized in made-to-order, one of a kind pearl jewelry pieces and accessories. Meeting the "mother" of Kaviar Pearls, Kristin Richard was absolutely a delightful AND educational experience. Delightful because I was able to browse fashion jewelry pieces made from one of most previous/ beautiful gems of the sea. Educational because Kristin taught me some of the fascinating science behind pearls. Believe it or not, all the pearls that Kristin uses in her jewelry pieces were harvested by herself, which is certainly NOT an easy task. 
Kristin completed her graduate education in California to become a gemologist. Her love of pearls stems from the fact that these gems conserve a natural beauty of its own without any external manipulation. Every 9-10 months, during cooler water season, she would fly to Southeast Asia to source pearls. When I say source, I don't mean she buys them from a supplier or local fishermen, but to dive down by herself into the deep ocean to find these previous treasure. Knowing this puts a smile on my face. I mean how much more can you ask for from a jeweller, when you are told that she takes part in every single process of making her jewelry, starting from isolating pearls from shell fishes.
I sat down with Kristin in her Kaviar Pearls boutique, located in Art Central downtown Calgary one afternoon. It was such an enjoyment to hear her "pearl hunting adventure" and tried to understand all the knowledge about pearls. Not going to get into all the scientific details, but here are some questions I had for Kristin.

Binzento: When did you get into the "pearl business"?

Kristin: "I started pearl/jewelry business about 4 years ago, after I got my education to become Graduate Gemologist (GIA)."

Binzento: You mentioned about fresh water and salt water pearls, how are these pearls different?

Kristin: "Fresh water pearls comes from mussels and bivalve mullusks in rivers and lakes. They will die as soon as its opened and pearls are obtained in its tissue. Salt water pearls comes from oysters and can further be differentiated into warm or cold salt water pearl. The oyster is usually still alive after pearl is taken out. To get their pearls, it requires a surgical procedure in their reproductive organ. Pearl, which is made of calcium carbonate, is formed in their reproductive organ as a form of self-defence mechanism against external irritant."
Binzento: What is the rarest pearl you've harvested?

Kristin: "The south sea pearls are among the rarest, and largest pearls from very large oysters. One of the main reasons for its rarity is because of over harvestation until the 1920's."

Binzento: Can you tell me  some of the colors differentiation between fresh and salt water pearls?

Kristin: "Salt water pearls can come in white, black, grey, green, blue, pink - many interesting colors; while fresh water pearls are usually white, silver, pink colours."
Binzento: Why did you decide to involve in the jewelry design business?

Kristin: "I've always had a passion for jewelry and fashion. I think pearls are good that they are beautiful naturally. Often pearls are linked to fine jewelry for older women, but I like my jewelry designs to be timeless, and want them to be accessible to women of different generations. I believe it is important not to exploit women based on age and appearance."
The name Kaviar was created because she is a food lover, and Caviar is something that represents luxury and from the ocean. Replacing the "C" with a "K" (for Kristin) adds personification. Kristin also documented her dive for pearls in Asia into a published hard-cover book, and can also be purchased at her jewelry store. For more info on Kaviar Pearls Jewelry, designs and purchasing, please visit the official website: http://
www.kaviarpearls.com 


March 28th 2012
YYC artists mini-series Part 3 of 4
Binzento Finds… Andrea Blais
The long waited 3rd YYC artist to be featured in this mini-series is Andrea Blais, a beautiful jewelry designer and metalsmith. Andrea specialized in using multiple natural materials including argentium, sterling silver, gold, platinum, freshwater pearls and gemstones to create one of a kind, extravagant jewelry work. Every piece is carefully handcrafted with fine details. Furthermore, with intricate craftsmanship, every piece represent a form of luxurious, classy, elegant and timeless delight. It is not often to find in YYC a homegrown artisan that creates unique high jewelry pieces. What I liked about Andrea's work was that delicate beauty can be found even in the simplest form of designs. 
Binzento: When did you start this kind of work?

Andrea: "I've been making jewellery since I was a kid.  I began using precious metals and gemstones when I started taking night classes in the Jewellery + Metals program at ACAD in 2003. I enrolled as a full time student at ACAD in 2004 and graduated with distinction in 2008.  After graduation I really began to develop my line."

Binzento: Where did your inspirations come from?

Andrea: "I have always been drawn to and inspired by organic structure.  I explore the intricacy and beauty of biology, while expressing themes of containment and nurturing."

Binzento: Where did you find passion for your work?

Andrea: "The qualities of the materials I work with are a continual source of passion for me. I find the effect of light and movement on a finished piece is really satisfying." 
This pearl ring is Binzento Vincente's favourite piece!! :)

Binzento: How do you feel about the art scene in Calgary?

Andrea: "I've noticed a real progression in the arts since I moved here - I think Calgary has come a long way.  I also think the art and culture scene is a lot more prevalent than people in a lot of other Canadian cities give us credit for.

Binzento: What are you hoping to see more in terms of local artists in Calgary?

Andrea: "I would love to see a larger sense of community continue to develop.  The Market Collective has been great in bringing local artists together.  That's part of what I've been trying to do with the collectives that we've had but on a smaller more intimate level."

Binzento: How will you take your work to the next level? Any future directions?

Andrea: "I'm hoping to do an apprenticeship with a goldsmith to expand my knowledge and technique.  I certainly see myself continuing in the same path for the next five years and beyond. I've been working on expanding my website which will be up in the early new year. My plan is to approach galleries, boutiques and jewellery stores across Canada and internationally."

Thank you very much Andrea for this wonderful interview. For more info on Andrea Blais designs and jewelries, visit her website: http://AndreaBlais.com

Photos courtesy: Binzento Vincente, Andrea Blais




March 5th 2012
YYC artists mini-series Part 2 of 4
Binzento Finds… Dena Seiferling
Artist: Dena Seiferling, holding one of Diorama collections.

2nd YYC artist in the "Binzento Finds… YYC artists series" is Dena Seiferling, an illustration artist. Meeting Dena makes me feel like a child again. This feeling stemmed primarily from after seeing her "children's story book-like" drawings, where imagination is limitless, and curiosity is not restricted by logic. Her work brought innocence back to my heart, and reminded me how much I love and miss imagining the impossible.
In addition to illustration work, Dena also designs a line of crafts collection called Diorama. Each Diorama piece is a little glass showcase inside containing ultra-cute handmade animals, in felt material, given human qualities. Dena said the Diorama collection is a new medium she's been exploring recently. These little "treasures" displayed the intricate skills Dena had developed over the years as an artist. Every prop pieces (such as miniature painting kit, leaf rag, and egg shells) in the showcase were all handmade and painted by Dena herself. Dena is also a sessional art instructor at the Alberta College of Art and Design, transferring her knowledge and skills in illustration to other future aspiring artists.
Binzento: When did you start this kind of work?

Dena: "I began doing this kind of work about a year ago. I wanted to explore a process beyond paint and 2D surface to convey my ideas and to basically just have some fun after working with the same medium for almost 12 years."

Binzento: Where did your inspirations come from?

Dena: "I have always been drawn to miniatures and furry critters. I remember my favorite book as a child was a miniature book covered in fur, about tiny fur bears. I definately feel that I am drawing from, and reliving a part of my childhood when working on my felts. I’ve also always enjoyed expressing human characteristics and storytelling through animals."

Binzento: Where did you find passion for your work?

Dena: "I feel the most comfortable and satisfied when I’m creating things. I feel anxious if I’m not. I don’t remember a day that I didn’t feel this way so I think that passion has always been there, it’s part of my nature." 


Binzento: How do you feel about the art scene in Calgary?

Dena: "In my opinion, it seems to be evolving, but I have to admit I’ve always wanted to feel more connected to Calgary’s Arts scene, being an Illustrator who doesn’t get out much. I do see a lot more collarborative efforts to organize Arts events and Art markets than ever before. I’d love to this culture grow even more, and I think there is a great potential to do so, especially as Calgary houses such a highly regarded Art College which graduates amazing artists. It’s sad to see talented Artists move away from Calgary for better opportunities in other cities and I hope that this happens less and less as Calgary’s Art culture grows, and more artists stick around to tough out the growing pains.

Binzento: What are you hoping to see more in terms of local artists in Calgary?

Dena: "I hope to see more talented and unique Calgary artists gain international exposure and support."

Binzento: How will you take your work to the next level? Any future directions?

Dena: "I am content with my illustrator career as of now and I don’t see any huge changes of direction in this area. I do have ideas as to where I could go with my felt critters. But for right now, I am content making them out of pure enjoyment with no long term goal in mind. It’s nice to create something that isn’t so much geared towards a final product, which my illustrations always are, and to have a creative outlet that is more of a work in progress, with which I can take my time evolving and developing. My goal for the time being is to build a larger body of dioramas and exhibit them in the new year."


Photo courtesy: Dena Seiferling & Binzento Vincente

Think the Doriama super cute and want to own one? :) Good news!! Dena accepts commission requests for them. For more details, please check out Dena's Official Website: www.dena.ca and her official Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/DenaSeiferlingIllustration

Also, Dena recently gave birth to a adorable baby boy!! CONGRATULATIONS Dena!


February 16th 2012
YYC artists mini-series Part 1 of 4
Binzento Finds… Kathryn Doig
For those who follow my blog closely, you might remember Binzento Vincente's special mini-series features on YYC fashion designers on "Read the Blog" and YYC models on "Real People w/ Real Styles" columns. I think it's time to do a mini-series on YYC artists on "Binzento Finds…"!! In this special mini-series, I will be featuring four lovely ladies I met back in November during a private artwork trunk sale. My eyes were wide-opened with excitement when I had the opportunity to experience their talents. Each of them focused on a specific art form, and their creativity and skills were definitely something worth admiring. First to introduce in Part 1 is Kathryn Doig.
"Sluggy" Snail Scent Container/Sniffer

Jars/Containers Assortment

Kathryn Doig's art form consists of ceramic and porcelain sculpture work. When I first saw those little white slug-like sculpted creatures (which functions to be used as a scent container), they made me went crazy and go "THEY ARE SOOO ADORABLE". The white jars too were equally impressive.  There are something whimsical about them. The "rough-ness" and texture Kathryn created on these sculpted products made them become very attractive and unique. While growing up in a little town from Saskatchewan, creativity runs in Kathryn's family. She said her father is a talented "inventor", who constantly create, construct and fabricate things from creative mind. Her mother is a writer and is very well adept behind the lends of a camera. Kathryn knew as a child, she will one day go on in the artistic path, and work diligently in crafts making:
Butter Dishes
Binzento: When did you start this kind of work?

Kathryn: "I started my first year at ACAD in 2004 and took my first ceramics course in my second semester and, without sounding too cliché, fell in love. As with anything, it took a few hard years of work to develop a strong aesthetic impression. Porcelain is my weapon of choice, and I work mostly on the wheel but do some slip-casting as well. Nothing compares to the soft decadence of this material. I focus heavily on the form and use very little colour in the finishing and glazing of my work. Texture, profile, function and simplicity are always at the core of my work."

Binzento: Where did your inspirations come from?

Kathryn: "Growing up on the prairies I always held a tenderness for the backdrop of home. I will always have that as the foundation to my work. A large number of my lidded vessels are loosely based on the profile of the grain elevators that pepper the landscape. Apart from the fact that most prairie chickens are inspired by “home”, I find a huge source of inspriation from the Arts and Crafts movement. The idea of truth to material, structure and function and the value of skilled creative crafts people never escaped me. The entire ideology behind that movement is something that I connected with very early on in developing my own ideal. The sophisticated simplicty of the movement’s architecture and furniture always finds a way to my hand."

Binzento: Where did you find passion for your work?

Kathryn: "Coming from a home where I was challenged to consider the way the things were made instead of just simply using them, I developed a strong affinity towards fine craft objects; jewelry, my grandmother’s fine china sets and delicate lace collections, and artisan furntiture . I am driven to make beautiful objects. Some artists tend to recoil from the word “beauty” when referring to their work, but I am a craftsperson and the bond one can develop with an object that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional can be quite profound. It really can be that simple for me."
Tulip Vase

Binzento: How do you feel about the art scene in Calgary?

Kathryn: "It’s hard for me to answer this without having gained much experience working in other cities as Calgary is the only city in which I have focused on my practice as a fine craftsperson. I feel more and more, Calgary is thawing the reputation of being this cultural miss. It’s always been very kind to me in terms of support and the network I’ve developed here is amazing. There is something going on in this city every night that will nurture your need for erudition." 

Binzento: What are you hoping to see more in terms of local artists in Calgary?

Kathryn: "I think that this city is really lacking in a well-funded and well-managed work space for arists. I am very lucky to have the luxury of having my studio in my home, but I know that this isn’t the case for most; especially for students that are leaving ACAD. The facilities you have access to as a student are spectacular, but once you convocate and move out to work on your own you lose this. Finding even as much as a garage to work out of (that’s affordable) is difficult. I know that a lot of practicing artists are working together to create more of these spaces but the funding is sparse."

Binzento: How will you take your work to the next level? Any future directions?

Kathryn: "I work a full time job as well as trying to manage a studio practice and I find it incredibly difficult to balance my job with my work and life. My boyfriend and I are planning on transplanting to Montreal within the next year and from there hopefully purchase a small farm. I will eventually switch my entire focus to my work. This is the dream anyways. Until then I plan on putting a heavier focus on creating some new pieces and developing my webpage."
Yellow Minis

Thank you Kathryn for taking her time for this interview. I can't wait to see more of Kathryn's work and her future projects. Best of luck to you and your move Kathryn! Kathryn's official website: doigware.com is still under development. For more inquiries about her work, please email her at kathryn.doig@gmail.com


February 12th 2012
Binzento Finds… Double Fuzz
There is something about homegrown local artists - "genuinity" and self honesty. That is exactly what Binzento found in Calgary's two-men band, Double Fuzz. Their newest debut album, with the band's name, "Double Fuzz" is what made me draw that conclusion. So what is all the fuzz about them…? I had a chance to listen to their album -the tunes were a mixture of rock/metal & electro-pop elements- and heart felt their passion and sincerity in creating the best of local indie music. I can't say I am the biggest fan of rock/metal music, but their unique take with the beats and flow of songs captured my attention. I am not a musician, but all I know is music is an universal language, and if my ears enjoyed them, then they are good music. Yes, I like the album "Double Fuzz".
I had a chance to sit down with one of the Double Fuzz guys, Roland Lowson at a local vegetarian restaurant The Coup. He told me that "Double Fuzz was established three years ago", when him and his other band member Jon Whitehead "met at The Living Room". The guys clicked immediately with similar music taste and style. Both Roland and Jon developed an interest and self-taught to play music during early teen. While writing most of the tunes together, Jon wrote most of the lyrics, vocal work and guitar sounds and Roland (originally from Hamilton, Ontario) masters his skill as a drummer. The release of their debut album "Double Fuzz" hits one of their milestones, proving that dedication and hard work makes anything possible. 
"Double Fuzz" contains 8 tracks. My favourites are "Alone in My City"- heavy pop/rock style song that focuses on guitars and drums and "100 Days", an emotional finale of the album. I like the fact that all the tunes sounded like I was at a live performance. I could really feel their passion as they play or perform, which is one of the reasons why I described them as genuine and heart felt.
Roland told Binzento that Double Fuzz's mission is to inspired others by their passion, conviction & power. Most of their songs were written based on their experience in life, which he called it a "self reflective" story; A personal journal of their journey. The band hopes to continue to work together to produce inspiring music for their audience/fans. The debut album "Double Fuzz" will be on iTunes. They will also be one of the musicians playing at the 2012 Sled Island. Their next live performance will be on Saturday, March 3rd at the Hifi Club.
LIKEWISE Thank You Double Fuzz for inviting Binzento!

Check out some of their songs on their official myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/doublefuzz
Photo source: Double FuzzBeatRoute


January 26th 2012
Binzento Finds… Jared Faa
I am stoked to know Jared Faa from Vancouver, Canada will arrive YYC tomorrow for his first ever live music performance here!!
Binzento Finds (knew)… Jared Faa from last year's Fairchild Television's annual New Talent Singing Awards Vancouver Audition. Jared made it to the final round where he competes a spot for Hong Kong's upcoming music talent awards. I think what caught most of people's attention about Jared was his "almost perfect" spoken Chinese. Jared was the only caucasian contestant in New Talent and I believe he was also the ONLY caucasian contestant ever made it to the final.

Jared spent half of his life in China, where he adopt both the language and culture. With his unique talent, and appreciation of the Asian culture quickly brought him a good solid Chinese fan base. His videos on 56.com (a Chinese video sharing site like YouTube) became viral, reaching close to one million viewers in short period of time. He's even got a Chinese name: 杰里德 (Jared Faa)He's also been approached by various media outlets in Asia, such as Taiwan, and even have fans overseas. Here is a video of Jared on Fairchild Television New Talent Singing Awards performance (Chinese):
(I might be bias but I have to give credits to Jared's dedication to perfect the Chinese language and be able to perform without a hitch) I will be meeting Jared personally this weekend during his arrival in YYC. Previously, I did an interview with him and learned where he lies in music, style, inspiration and cultural identity.


Binzento: Can you briefly introduce yourself to my readers?

Jared: "Hi, I'm Jared. I was born in Canada but grew up in China from the age of 2 and lived there for around 8 years. This year I entered a Chinese singing competition called NTSA (New Talent Singing Awards) Vancouver and since then have started to perform here and there in the Vancouver area as well as once in Edmonton."

Binzento: When did you developed an interest for music/singing?

Jared: "I really loved singing at a young age. I've always loved music and singing in my church."

Binzento: How did you learn Chinese?

Jared: "Growing up in China I went to a Chinese Kindergarten. Grade's 1 and 2 I was back in Canada where I forgot a lot of my Chinese. When I returned to China again in grade 3 I was home schooled. I learned the language from just being immersed in the culture."

Binzento: Do you prefer singing Chinese or English tunes?

Jared: "I like singing both Chinese and English songs but I have been performing all Chinese songs so far, I prefer singing Chinese songs because it has really helped me improve my Mandarin and because that's largely where I spent my childhood."

Binzento: How did entering NTSA Vancouver change your direction in singing?

Jared: "Entering NTSA Vancouver made me realize how much room I have to improve and helped me really appreciate the connection I have with the Chinese culture. It really helped me ignite my passion for singing Chinese. Entering it has helped me get fan support as well as getting show opportunities. Overall it has really helped my grow both as a singer and as a Mandarin speaker."

Binzento: What are you most looking forward to in terms of music career?

Jared: "I really look forward to improving and getting better at everything. In the future I would love to perform in Asia and gain support from all over. I really look forward to all the people I will meet!"

Binzento: Who is your favourite musician/artists and why?

Jared: "Jay Chou was the first artist I really knew of and have appreciated his talent in song writing. I also really like how LeeHom came from the USA and to see how far he has come in his music career. I really appreciate all of his music. I also discovered an artist named Anthony Neely who was born and raised an Taiwanese-American who moved to Taiwan to try and get into the entertainment industry, his voice is really amazing and I really enjoy listening to his music."

Binzento: Can you describe your sense of style (in fashion sense) that represents you?

Jared: "I dress to be comfortable so typically I dress quite casual, except, for when I'm performing on stage, then I dress a lot nicer!"
Photo courtesy: Fairchild Television

Jared is currently working to earn the money to go back to Asia and study Chinese. As well as just doing his best to improve in singing Chinese and performing. He feels as his Mandarin gets better, his quality of music will also increase. Jared will be in Calgary January 27th as a special guest performer for Rosanne Lui's Chinese New Year Concert in Calgary. I'm really looking forward to the show!

Here is another Jared's viral music video that is similar to the one with "over one million hits" on 56.com:


Jared Faa's Weibo: http://www.weibo.com/jaredfaa

Photos and videos courtesy: Jared Faa, Fairchild Television


December 20th 2011
Binzento Finds… Flesh Imp
Few days ago, I blogged about the "Proj Leap of Faith"- a fashion photo/videography project done by a collaboration of Stuart Chen from hollymacaroni and Flesh Imp. This week, "Binzento Finds…" will carry on to further introduce Flesh Imp, the Singapore street wear label found by two fascinating gentlemen Nicholas Cho and Vincent Q
Binzento Vincente was actually inroduced to Flesh Imp clothing during the early 2000's, which was approximately the time when this street wear clothier had just established.

I found their clothing very refreshing at the time. It's giving the young and energetic vibes that were suitable for hip youngsters. Although their main focus was on casual wear, Flesh Imp enjoys blending pop culture themes, such as music and graphic designs into their fashions. 

Flesh Imp x Casio G-Shock

Flesh Imp x Adidas

Flesh Imp x Canon camera bag (PS: I WANT this so bad!!!!!!)

Today, Flesh Imp offers their fans a wide range of street wear necessities, from graphic tees, polos and accessories for men, to a full range of ladies' clothing. Their success as an Asian independent label have brought them collaboration opportunities with Adidas, G-shock Casio and several other street wear essential brands. With the fast growing and ever so dynamic fashion market in Asia, standing out and staying competitive is not an easy task. Here is a little Q&A with Flesh Imp's Nicholas Cho and Vincent Q on "Binzento Finds…" and their paths to keep Flesh Imp "hip" in the industry:

Binzento: How did Flesh Imp started and what was the its vision in fashion?

Nicholas & Vincent: "Flesh Imp started back in 2000 when there weren't any local brands around. We felt that while we had a vibrant skate, graffiti, DJ and street scene, there wasn't any local labels around to support the cause. And that's how we started Flesh Imp. Up till now, we are still supporting local bands, acts, models and personalities, because we want to band everyone together and grow the scene through our clothing."

Binzento: Currently, what kind of merchandize Fleshimp is carrying?

Nicholas & Vincent: "From Tee Shirts when we first started, we have a full range of mens tees, polos, shirts, bermudas, pants, jeans, caps, belts, bags and recently shoes! We also have a full range of ladies clothing."

Binzento: Nicholas, and Vincent, please tell us what kind of (fashion) styles describe you both?

Nicholas: "Currently the trend is looking towards preppy smart crossed with 'godfather' elements and we have been experimenting various looks around it. Some days I slick my hair back and throw on a shirt with bespoke cut berms and some days, I just lay back with some casual street wear. Street wear have evolved tremendously, and while I still dress in Tees and berms, it is usually the fixie 'hipster' look."

Vincent: "I love shirts and the current season allows me to mix and match whatever I have at the stores to create the smart preppy crossed with Ivy league elements. I love glasses so I look out for vintage pieces to match my look."

Binzento: How does Fleshimp keep up with their fashion trends?

Nicholas & Vincent: "Fashion is always evolving and we are always on the look out for emerging trends. Having said that, we always keep true to our street wear roots. The difference is that we sample and use some of the trends, but add in our own elements and create something truly unique to Flesh Imp."
Flesh Imp: Vincent Q & Nicholas Cho

Over the last few years, Asian pop culture (especially Japanese and Korean fashions) have infiltrated the western part of the world, and generated many loyal fans. Personally, I think that Flesh Imp products can find its ground here in the west. I hope that one day Flesh Imp can expand their products continentally, and Binzento will sure be one of their supporters. 

Flesh Imp website: http://shop.fleshimp.com/
Flesh Imp Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/fleshimp

photos source: shop.fleshimp.com, mymomhatesfashion.blogspot.com, popspoken.com, shutterbugoli.blogspot.com, doubleselect.com

December 13th 2011
Binzento Finds… Lou Gazzara
Christmas is just around the corner, so I am going to share with my readers a new Christmas album I've been listening to recently when I feel festive driving to work in the morning (I know it's crazy, but I am feeling the white Christmas here already with the -20 Celsius weather). Thanks to the artist of this album, he showed me what it means to work for something you truly love doing. 

It is not so much about the songs, since like every other album, there are always "Jingle Bells" and "O Holy Night". I was more drawn to the genuine vocal and the passion for music this artist has offered in his 1st Christmas Album. He is Lou Gazzara.
Originally from New Jersey, Lou decided to pursue his dream as a musician shortly after his freshman year in college, and migrated to Las Vegas to perform live concerts. His charismatic character and heart-felt performance quickly created him a solid fan base.
The very first time I encountered Lou Gazzara was one of the earlier seasons of American Idol, which he made it to the televised finals. I came across Lou again recently via one of his live music performances on YouTube. I found his vocal had matured, and became even better than his American Idol days. Lou certainly has a natural vocal talent and to be honest, better than many popular artists these days. I was fortunate to connect with Lou's manager Steve McCoy, and was introduced to Lou personally for a quick Q&A:

Binzento: When did music become a part of your life?

Lou: "I started pursuing my music career when I was 19 years old, but music has played a major role throughout my life. My passion for music stems from my desire to express myself to other people using my vocal."

Binzento: Why did you decide to produce a Christmas album?

Lou: "Producing a Christmas album was something I wanted to do 3 years ago. To me, all styles of music enveloped in Christmas. Christmas songs have so much versatility, and any style can be used to interpret them. You can sing country, rock, jazz, or pop to cover any given song."

Binzento: A major focus on my blog is fashion, what is your favourite style on stage?

Lou: "I am not so much the typical American style. On stage, I enjoy wearing well-tailored suits, and I would describe myself of having a well-manicured style. It would ideal for me to try something modern, but also keeping a consistent classic look."
Besides the interview, Lou and I spoke about his future plans. He wishes to continue his music effort and hoping that his voice will reach a even wider audience. His dedication and honesty to music is something I admired and truly captivating. For someone who is talented with a humble heart deserves the success. Lou is also nominated for "best performance by a featured actor in the musical category" in this year's Broadway World Las Vegas Award
Best of luck and I hope you win!
You can download Lou's Christmas album "This is Christmas" on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/
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Lou Gazzara wesite: 
http://www.lougazzara.com/
(All photos, videos: courtesy of Lou Gazzara)


November 29th 2011
Binzento Finds… Brittany Robart 
Binzento Vincente often focuses on the fashion or sometimes lifestyle sides of things but rarely talks about music. I want to make my first exception this time. Many of my readers know that I am all about supporting new talents, and up & coming artists, and here Binzento Finds… Brittany Robart, a local "songbird" - songwriter and singer. I have yet to watch Brittany live, but from all the music I've heard from videos on YouTube and her Official Site, I experienced Brittany's sincerity, and passion for music. Here's a ballad I REALLY like by Brittany (embarrassed to say, it made an emo moment out of me :p)

"Already Gone" - Brittany Robart


The best part about this song is that it has a sense of familiarity, and it's from one of my homes (Calgary). Brittany Robart music career stems from her dedication and talent: 
"I began singing as a little girl, barefoot and brave growing up in the tropics of Indonesia. My musical world exploded when we moved to Canada and I began acting with Storbook Theater. I graced the stage as the fearless Anne in Anne of Green Gables, a wickedly stupid step-sister in Cinderella and was proud to be part of the world premier of the Jungle Book directed by Louis B. Hobson. I also kicked-butt in the Kiwanis Music Festival, often winning my classical and musical theatre classes."


Want to see Brittany's performance live? Here's your chance! 
On Friday, December 2nd Calgary’s favorite songbird Brittany Robart presents The Not-So Silent Night. At this charity event she will be joined by the soulful Sarah Vann and the bubbly Melissa Papp. Together these ladies will raise their voices to raise money for two special families in need over the Christmas season.

The money raised through ticket sales, silent auction, and event merchandise will be donated to two local families in need over the holidays. One family is a loving single mother of four and the other family is a hard working family with two young children.  Although these families love strong and exude effort into their everyday lives they aren’t necessarily finically stable enough to provide their loved ones with a memorable Christmas this year.

Brittany Robart first thought of the idea when she began thinking about how music could impact others. You can find her passion through her heartfelt music and in the excerpts of her website -“I truly believe music has the power to change lives; that is what this concert will do”.

This concert will be a festive way to kick off the holiday season and will be held at the Lantern Church in Inglewood. The evening will begin at 6:30 pm with a cocktail hour and silent auction which will displaying locally donated items and then move into the concert beginning at 8:00 pm.



November 22nd 2011
Binzento Finds… Hurmoso
First entry for this new column: "Binzento Finds…" and thought it'd be nice to bring my readers something little bit more…spicy: A new New York male underwear label called Hurmoso by Pissaro. Just launched in November 2011, "Hurmoso is already off to a great start" said Pissaro, the designer of Hurmoso
The vision behind Hurmoso is to create comfortable male underwear, not necessarily will make a man handsome or sexy, but rather feel handsome and sexy. Pissaro mentioned that back in the 18th century, the purpose of a good-o-pair of underwear was about function and hygiene. Today, underwear style is a form of pop-culture, creativity, and a potential a self-esteem booster. I had an opportunity to connect with the designer Pissaro, and had a brief Q&A:

Binzento: Where did the idea of launching Hurmoso come from? and How did Hurmoso started?

Pissaro: "As a fashion lover I have always been keen on the men underwear segment and have always paid close attention to details when purchasing under garments. I dove into this industry because of the unique opportunity to combine everything i love and everything I have learned in my creative/professional career. It has kept my work path interesting while allowing me to concentrate and help define the fashion segment of men's underwear."
Binzento: What were you doing prior to creating Hurmoso?

Pissaro: "I am an artist from New York City that has been working in Fashion, Advertising and Media for the last 10 years. Prior to this I worked in Germany as a medical Illustrator for the University of Tübingen and illustrated medical books for first year medical students."
As of today until next year, Hurmoso will only be available online. Currently, it comes in blue, yellow, black, and white in suggested retail price USD 24.99-25.99. In January 2012, Hurmoso can be found in selected stores.
Hurmoso online store: http://www.hurmoso.com