fashion magazine
The Realization of a Dream
By YNA ANSAY
Photography by KELLY JILL - www.kellyjill.com
Styling - YVADNEY DAVIS @ Judyinc
Stylist assistant - JESSICA CLARK
Make up/Nails - TALYSIA AYALA for MAC Cosmetics
Model - JORDAN @ Lizbell Agency
Jillian Zdunich is the talented designer behind one of Vancouver's new labels, Mortar and Pestle Apparel. Recently showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week, the line offers classic pieces that are functional and versatile with quality craftsmanship.

Zdunich grew up "...creating clothes for Barbie dolls and watching Fashion Television," all while dreaming of becoming a fashion designer. In university the focus was on Primate Studies and Anthropology which were interests, but not passions. After working a string of corporate jobs in the business and finance sector, her true passion was finally realized on 2009 with a move to Vancouver where she entered Blanche Macdonald's Fashion Design program. Upon graduation a year later, the brave decision was made to develop her own label.

Mortar and Pestle's aesthetic is "classic, feminine, simple and understated." The clothes are comfortable and easy to wear - designed to complement any wardrobe. Zdunich caters to the wearer's needs by paying close attention to classic fits, modern details and overall functionality. Inspiration for the spring 2012 collection was color. She had "...an old vintage scarf with bold colored stripes that went in and out of the consignment bin." While fabric sourcing, there was such an attachment to that scarf that its colors were used as a reference for her choices. It is this palette that brings life and playfulness to the classic silhouettes of each piece. Greens, yellows, sky blues and purples add appeal and interest while neutral warm tans and whites create versatility. Each garment is a perfect investment piece to be included in any wardrobe.

Operating a business has kept Zdunich on the tips of her toes. "Every day, I'm learning and referencing off the resources collected in school, such as blocks and textbooks." Her mother's comedic gift of the Reader's Digest Sewing Guide has now become her bible. The biggest challenges faced are managing finances and staying on top of the budget. It's also amazing to learn new techniques by self teaching beyond what was covered in school. Another astonishing realization was the number of small details to be taken care of, "The little things I never thought much about have suddenly become issues like sweeping the floor, collecting receipts, etc."

In spite of setbacks, passion and the thrill of being her own boss have been her greatest motivations. Zdunich has also realized that she's "... finally living the dream," which is more than enough to keep her going. Showing at Vancouver Fashion Week gave a much-needed boost of confidence. The whole experience was also "...an instant adrenaline rush" for the designer. There is a great love to be found in the Vancouver fashion industry as well as advantages with being a part of a small and well established network.

Zdunich's goal is to see Mortar and Pestle become an established brand. Currently the focus is to spread nationally, but in the future she hopes to expand into the United States as well as branch into some European stores. For more information on Jillian Zdunich and Mortar and Pestle Apparel visit the website at www.mortarandpestleapparel.ca.