fashion magazine
Nicole Bridger: "I AM LOVE"
by NATASHA BHATNAGAR
Photography by PETER JENSEN - www.peterjensenphotography.com
On May 7th sustainable designer Nicole Bridger, will open the doors to her much anticipated flagship store in Kitsilano. The neighbourhood was indeed a palpable choice for her. On any given day you can find eco-conscious people like herself frequenting cafes, boutiques and biking in and out of traffic, all while taking in the green and blue landscape that surrounds `Kits'. And you know what they're probably wearing? Nicole Bridger.

A Vancouver native true to her roots, Bridger had to leave her beloved city to study fashion design at Toronto's Ryerson University. In her third year she applied for an exchange program in London where she directly worked under fashion maverick Vivienne Westwood. This is where she learned the art of sculpting fabric and sculpting change. "I learned from her that you can use what you do in fashion as a vehicle for any kind of statement or change you want to make". Headed back home to Vancouver with a burning desire to stay true to her beliefs, Bridger paired up with Lululemon Athletica and co-designed the sustainable line Oqoqo (pronounced Ohkoko). After two years and a better understanding of the business side of the industry, the designer was ready to branch out on her own. That was in 2007 and the rest is history.

Since then she has made her mark on the Canadian and International fashion scene, tirelessly advocating ethical and sustainable practices in everything she does. Bridger has a three part philosophy that she follows closely 1.Do what's right for the Earth - use only sustainable fabrics 2. Do what's right for people -maintaining ethical production and 3. Do what's right for the spirit - be kind to yourself and others. Her basic driving force is to promote positivity. Stitched into each of her pieces are the words "I AM LOVE" Bridger goes on to say, "designing an eco-line was never a decision. It's always how I've lived my life".

Fast-forward to Spring 2011 - a new collection and a new flagship store in her hometown. While her professional life flourished, her personal life took a hit. As Bridger worked through the raw emotions of heartbreak, she found herself on the path to self-discovery. She was in a state of re-birth and connecting back to her spirit as she designed the appropriately titled Spring|Summer 2011 line "Reconnect". The line boasts bright pops of solid colour and comfortable fabrics. The draping and ruching that's distinctly Bridger remains, but there's a refreshing fun and flirty aura about her new collection.

Bridger's flagship store is set to open May 7th at a time she says she's ready in both her personal and business life. With a peaceful smile on her face she explains "It's so cool because it all came together so seamlessly. You know when you're trying to make something happen and it's not working and then all of a sudden you switch gears and it all falls into place?" Her hopes for the store go beyond fashion and clothing. "I see it as more than just a store. It's a place where like-minded people can come to connect". Bridger plans to house charity events and seminars on sustainable topics such as greening your home and holistic nutrition. Always staying true to her beliefs, her roots and her city, Nicole Bridger is LOVE.

Nicole Bridger's store can be found on 2151 W.4th avenue between Arbutus and Yew and her Spring|Summer 2011 collection can be viewed online at nicolebridger.com.