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Calgary’s long-awaited fashion scene brought to life in sold-out show THE OTHERWORLD 

By Glory Okeleke, May 15 2023—

On April 27, Foreignerz also known in the past as Sans Fuccs collaborated with Secret Shop YYC, a fashion-forward movement that makes progressive style and artistic forms more accessible to like-minded enthusiasts, to put together the sold-out show acclaimed as THE OTHERWORLD

“We want people to feel like they can look towards examples from the community […] we want to encourage creativity, innovation, and quality”, said Eboshi, one of the co-founders of the underground artist collectives, Foreignerz.

This fashion experience hosted at the memorial Lougheed House was one charged with tangible magic as the aim of the exhibitions curated by the designers was to teleport the audience transversely to multiple universes through the excellence of their craft. Calgary is only beginning to acculturate itself to such fearless expressions of pure expertise and courage from creators, designers, and artists, much like those showcased at the unforgettable event renowned as the otherworld. Calgary’s long-awaited fashion scene is emerging and all of the creatives within the city are here for it.

A resounding objective that a range of designers and artists who showcased at this fashion experience had was to inspire — to inspire through the art which they put out. The Gauntlet had the opportunity to interview them and learn more about their work.

“I know just looking at myself, people might not be able to grasp my whole story and where I’ve come from, but I hope that when they learn more about my story, then they can know that I’m no different than they are — just a kid from the NE of Calgary trying to make something,” said Omar Carty, the mastermind behind the spectacular designs of his apparel brand known as Lab Carty

Musing together life-shaping occurrences and cultural narratives, the seven designers who exhibited at this show all remarkably specialized in telling stories, the stories that formed them and the ones they held in high regard. The image maker and designer behind the brand labeled Jonas is notably inspired by the necessity to be creative and the real-life experiences which he has walked through. Taking a more sustainable route to bring his pieces to life all of the attires which he fabricates are handmade with his grandma’s sewing machine. Despite being time-consuming, Noah endures because as he explained, “there’s a satisfaction to see pieces of fabric come together from your own mind” and ultimately through his craft, he hopes people can recognize that they can do that too  — create magic. 

“I’m really inspired by traditional Haudenosaunee craft culture, and I take a lot of elements and infuse them into contemporary pieces through very subtle details,” said Thea, the fashion prodigy behind ThreadsbyThea. She upholds her Indigenous culture even whilst marketing to modern-day fashionable audiences. To break out of the box which indigenous designers are put in is what Thea primarily hopes to accomplish through her craft.

“Our clothing [and] culture is seen as a piece of the past and we don’t really have a way to blend it in and showcase it to the world in contemporary spaces,” she said. Through Thea’s processes of manufacturing substantial pieces, her work successfully speaks for itself. 

DesignedbyNdidi aspires, through craft with flowy silhouettes and crystals, to tell water stories and to principally make clothing for aquatic creatures like mermaids. 

“Essentially I heard them say make stuff for us to wear, and so in my opinion, I’m making pieces for these goddesses using traditional techniques that are from my culture,” said Merlin Uwalaka as she explained the vitality behind her design and creative process fundament to her showcased collection. 

Championed by Maria Woziak, the artisanship intricate in Augusta Fashion and Textiles brought meaning to fabric in a completely different way as she immersed the audience through her work which was influenced by the concept of enclosed cognition. 

“This idea of how clothing affects your cognitive abilities and how you think and act; and so I thought how can we design clothes that are responsive to our experiences and how we live,” said Woziak. As a spectator, I can confidently attest that these designers triumphed in encapsulating myself and the rest of the congregation into burgeoning dimensions and prospective futures. 

This fashion revolution is only just beginning to bloom in Calgary and these visionaries of originality and authenticity are eagerly anticipative of all that is yet to come. As designers, artists, and creatives within the city boldly begin to step into their callings, Calgary’s fashion scene is one that brims with impeccable talent and brilliance.

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