Sarah Murray's resume says it all - teacher, show producer, public relations, writer, editor and much, much more. The fashion world first beckoned in university and there was no turning back. Add in a deep felt commitment to the Eco Movement, a gentle, quiet spirit and a passion for our Vancouver community and a picture begins to emerge. She is a champion on the local scene working daily to change the way we view fashion, one step at a time.
Sarah Murray - Much, Much More
by MARILYN R. WILSON
As a child, Murray loved to dance and read. Fashion came along a little later, but there were early signs. "I remember picking out my own back-to-school clothes in grade five and thinking I was super stylish. I still have the first Seventeen magazine I purchased in 1985." University studies were originally focused on English, Environmental Studies and Women's Studies, but a chance encounter changed that. "I realized I wanted to be in fashion when someone scouted me for modeling. Nothing came of it, but it made me realize that fashion was a job. I knew there were two ways to get there - education or work - so I did a magazine journalism course and a photography course. Then someone I KNEW in the modeling industry got me a job and the rest is history."
But fashion didn't always sit well with Murray's passion for the Eco Movement. Standard industry practices were at odds with goals such as sustainability and reducing one's ecological footprint and a solution needed to be found. Time spent reading about the philosophy of aesthetics offered a way to unite the two. "It taught me there was intellectual thought about beauty. I realized fashion could be more than superficial; it could be the means for affecting the environment by buying locally. I needed this to make my work truly worthwhile."
Murray moved to Vancouver in 2001. It was time for a change. Two years later she opened her first business - The Honey Mustard Fashion and Media Services, a public relations agency that focused on promoting local design. She started out by doing the public relations for two seasons of Vancouver Fashion Week which introduced her to the local community. Days were also spent walking up and down local streets, popping into shops, checking out the designers they carried and talking to owners. Slowly, through networking and word of mouth, the business grew. In 2011, Murray decided to re-brand under the name Fashion Capsule. "Fashion Capsule is still a media relations company for local designers but now we have the Style Lounge where stylists can come to borrow our clients' products for their shoots. This gives our clients the opportunity to access both sections of the media - the writers and the stylists - resulting in more coverage."
Over the last several years, Murray has also made her mark on the local scene through teaching and producing innovative fashion events. Several stand out. Generation Next supported local up and coming designers from 2005-2010. Winners included Nicole Bridger, Red Jade, and Sofia. For Capers Organic Market she challenged designers to create a garment inspired by or featuring food. The result - handbags made from corn husks and a wheat grass dress. Another event had models on stage playing musical chairs with the audience betting on the winner. For the Home Show in 2010 - models came out with home décor props to set the stage in colours that matched or complimented their garments. Each new event is a chance to explore original ideas to draw the audience in.
Next on the list for Murray is a conference/showcase in May called Bcreative 2012. This event brings together government, business, the creative sector, and researchers to stimulate thinking, policy and action directed at developing a strategy; lever resources to further build the creative economy; and help BC become a leader in the creative sector in the twenty-first century. Murray will be working with Vivienne Taylor, Jun Ramos, Katherine Soucie, and RozeMerie Cuevas to bring attention to the fashion industry as an important part of Vancouver's creative economy. Bcreative 2012 is a must attend for anyone in the local fashion scene and Murray's participation is just one of the ways she continues to support our Vancouver community.
In the long run, it is Murray's commitment to the Eco Movement that has always been a guiding factor. Over the last ten years she has seen many highs and lows as the topic moved in and out of popularity. "My references are from Toronto, I usually travel there once a year to meet the editors. When I first started going they had already done their one green story, then they had whole green departments. Now I feel like I'm back where I started - struggling to get local designers in the media. The economy and stores like H & M have stolen the local independent designer's limelight. I can only hope that people realize that for our planet to survive, they have to start to support what is created, developed, made and grown right here at home."
For more information on Fashion Capsule or to contact Sarah Murray go to www.fashioncapsule.ca.