Photography by SHANNON MENDES
Styling - TANUS LEWIS
Hair/Make-up - KRISTA SELLER
Model - ADRIENNE @ Lizbell Agency
It's Thursday afternoon, you have had a hard day at work - tight deadlines, an intern that just doesn't get it - and you get a call from the girls for a quick and much needed drink. If you were clever enough to have put on your Allison Wonderland dress that morning you do not need to stress about going home and changing. Allison Smith's designs are 'daytime on-the-go wear'. Dress it up with accessories, a handbag and heels and you are ready for an evening in confidant style!
Smith's foray in the arts began with a sewing class in high school, so it's no surprise the choice to pursue fashion design came naturally. On the way to that dream, she earned a diploma in Fashion Design and Technology from Kwantlen College and dabbled in the Montreal fashion scene. Luckily for us, she has now returned to create her designs in Vancouver. After moving back from Montreal in the 90's, Smith found "there weren't a lot of job opportunities" and so she started making day glow mini skirts in her parent's solarium. In 1998, she launched Allison Wonderland - a small line of classic pieces. It was an organic progression which has led her to an eclectic space in Gastown. She has sustained success through the economic downturn by doing what she does best - adding fun fabric and prints to basics.
The designer is drawn to simplicities in life, "Living and being active are my biggest sources of inspiration". She often finds herself wondering what her friends should be wearing on a night out and finds inspiration. Smith shares, "Women appreciate my designs because they are fun, interesting and versatile". Fashion mavens are wearing evening looks around the clock and Smith is committed to making pieces fit the working woman's lifestyle. The line's success can be attributed to her considerate style of designing. She truly puts herself in her client's shoes and designs from a fashionista's point of view. "I am always thinking if I should add straps or not, will my client have this shade in a foundation garment and if not is this piece worth them buying?" The fashion forward working woman may not always have time to ensure her outfit can go from day to night and clients rely on Smith for just that.
Smith also places an importance on flattering cuts and invests endless nights of care and consideration as she chooses the most becoming styles that fit all women. "My goal is to create pieces that are as flattering for as many body types as possible. I know that not every single style will fit every person, but I try to get as close to that with every design." Garments are uniquely recycled in her Pillar collection. Not only are eco friendly fabrics used, but the designer recycles her most popular styles. "Why do I have to throw out every single style each season? I like to recycle a design that is already popular and make it different."
The women in Vancouver are lucky to have a designer who understands their needs. By staying away from popular trends, Allison Smith gives the modern day woman variety. Her collection is a polished selection of garments guaranteed to appeal to women of any age. In Vancouver, Allison Wonderland is available at Dream, Little Dream, Tenth & Proper, Eugene Choo, Room 6. For more information please visit the website at www.allisonwonderland.ca.
To read a past article on this talented designer go to http://famedmagazine.com/magazineissue25/fashiondesigner.html