By Shadi Elien
Describing the type of woman that would be most likely to wear her clothes, Allison Smith smirks and says, "I would like to imagine that she is someone who is happy and covets what she gets."
It's no wonder that images of Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday were playing in her mind while completing the spring collection for Allison Wonderland. "I love watching old movies, I get a lot of inspiration from the history of fashion, just sort of little details here and there" she says.
Allison graduated from the Kwantlen Fashion design program 15 years ago, but she has been a designer at heart since she was a young girl. At only five years old, she would go with her mom to the fabric store, where they would pick out patterns and fabric, "in my mind she would always let me get whatever I wanted, but I'm sure she kind of swayed things along what she wanted me to get", Allison giggles as she remembers.
The West Coat designer was born and raised in Vancouver, a city that she hopes will always remain her base as far as her designs go, "this is my home, I want to stay here."
Allison's personality shines through in her clothing. The unique pieces all throughout her collection convey a relaxed, fashion forward style that never looks like it's trying too hard.
Her modesty is endearing, specifically when asked if she's always been good at doing what she does, and responds, "I always liked doing it, but whether I was good at it I don't know."
She is good at it, great in fact.
Her designs are carried at several different stores throughout Vancouver including Dream, a small boutique just below her studio space on Cordova Street. They've been carrying her designs for nearly 15 years and continue to support the designer.
Fashion exists in a world on its own. The playing field is always changing, what is fashion forward today may become passť in no time at all. Allison understands that, and explains "it's the type of business where you can never really rest."
Designing clothes is not simply her job it's a much more intimate process for Allison. It can also be a very solitary one, a slow process with many sleepless nights and even more crumbed up sketches that don't make the cut. "It doesn't get any easier, well some things do but others get harder" she says.
Don't let any of that fool you, this is one lady that's up for the challenge and can't imagine doing anything else with her life. "I don't know what I would do if I wasn't designing, I stopped thinking about it a couple of years ago."
It's a good thing she did. Allison Smith is doing something that is clearly her calling. She portrays in her designs the same quite confidence that she has in herself.
It's in showing off her latest designs for the fall 2008 line that her true colours come out. Someone with a genuine love and passion for what she is doing. She speaks of the places she has searched in order to get the perfect fabrics, and the pages and pages of sketches that she has gone through just to come up with the right winter blazer.
The world of Allison Wonderland is sure to make you want to stay and embrace the magic that Allison Smith puts into all of her designs.