Models are using their own unique vision in the fashion scene to expose their brands and with models turned designers not being a new phenomenon, we are seeing a lot of models sharing their skills and ideas embarking on new collaborations and branching out to expressed desire to design on more than one occasion. Hitting the runway this April in Toronto at Fashion Art Toronto is clothing brand Vanika which is a line created by model turned designer. I caught up with Vanika to check in on the brand and see what we can expect on the runway this April.
Getthebuzz716: Tell me a little about your brand. Where are you from?
Vanika: My parents emigrated from Hungary before I was born, and my mother (Ildiko Kiraly) continued her sewing and alterations business in Canada. After I started modeling and walked for my first season at FAT in 2013, I was really inspired by the beautiful collections I saw and started taking a fashion design course in my grade 10 year.
My brand, VANIKA, is actually my nickname for "Vanessa" in Hungarian which means butterfly. It also means "to sound eloquent" in Sanskrit. It is a combination of ready to wear outer & evening apparel due to the various faux furs, vegan leathers, and textures present in the garments. The designs for "Morphosis" presented at FAT this year were accompanied by titanium quartz and agate accessories that pay tribute to the earth versus industry feel. The collection tells the story of a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly and how we all experience feelings related to transformations to become better versions of ourselves.
Getthebuzz716: What does FAT mean to you?
Vanika: It means the start of a journey for me as a designer. The event to me represents an open door of opportunity to allow both experienced and commencing designers to participate in a very unique fashion festival as one. I find this very important to Toronto because FAT allows you to create anything of your imagination, without necessarily having to focus on how you will commercialize your products, like the mainstream fashion industry does. This sometimes creates a repeating cycle or trend which does not allow much room for originality.
Getthebuzz716: How would you define your Brand?
Vanika: I like to think of VANIKA as picturesque but unpredictable. It is an outer and evening wear brand for all genders inspired by the transformation of a butterfly and stays true to its simple construction and textures that create impact. I want people to feel like the clothes can add confidence to their step when they wear one of my pieces! I love to tell a story through my collections.
Getthebuzz716: How long does it usually take you to construct a piece?
Vanika: It really depends on the piece! If a previous pattern is used, it is just a matter of choosing the correct color combinations and it can finished within hours. But embroidery on some of the neck pieces or dresses with pearls and stones can take several hours to complete.
Getthebuzz716: Describe the general process you go through to design and What's your favorite part about conceptualizing a design?
Vanika: I really like to take looks I am inspired by, draw their basic shapes, and merge aspects of them together into one design. Since I was a little girl, I loved to draw digitally and do the same for my fashion sketches, allowing me to create easily. After sketching, my mother helps to sew the clothing while I embroider it or the neck piece that compliments it. My favorite part is searching for inspiration which can come to me in the forms of music, artwork, or even events in my life.
Getthebuzz716: What matters to you most as a designer?
Vanika: Definitely finding a good source of inspiration and enjoying the creative process that flows from it. I will not finish a design unless I am absolutely in love with it, originality is important to me, I don't necessarily follow trends.
Getthebuzz716: What do you believe makes a quality design?
Vanika: A design should make a connection between the intended wearer and the designer's message, as well as make wearer feel great about themselves and understand the story behind their garment! I don't think a design has to be too complex to show that it is a quality design, but the way fabrics are put together must please the eye.
Getthebuzz716: How would you define the style your line exemplifies?
Vanika: Some of the pieces in my collection are styles that I personally like to wear, which is elegant, unique, but comfortable. The Faux furs in this collection are really great for keeping warm during the majority of the Canadian year!
Getthebuzz716: What are some of your fashion goals?
Vanika: I definitely would like to pursue designing as a second career path. I hope to continue creating runway collections and to open up my own studio and sewing and alterations shop with my mother when I go to university in Toronto.
Getthebuzz716: What other experience do you have in the fashion industry (stylist, retail, marketing, etc.)?
Vanika: I work as a fashion, editorial, and runway model as well as retouch photos for magazine editorials. Also, I am going to become a regular contributor to a new magazine coming sometime this summer.
Getthebuzz716: What are your favorite patterns/materials [prints] to work with and why?
Vanika: For sure faux fur! It's environmentally-friendly, easily gives a garment impact, and gives you instant confidence when worn! I also enjoy working with bold textured bouclé which is seen a lot throughout my work!
Getthebuzz716: Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
Vanika: You can view more of my work at www.vanikadesign.com