Vancouver’s Eco Fashion Week came to a wrap last week & following the success of her show, Sally Omeme shares her story…
How did your label start? It officially didn’t start until I attended the John Casablanas Institute in 2011. I was encouraged by my instructors to think about designing knitwear, because they knew it was my passion. I knit a dress for a photo shoot & I was then asked to design a small knitwear line for my segment in the show. It wasn’t until I got involved with Eco Fashion Week, that I officially knit an entire collection.
How did you get involved with Eco Fashion Week? I had volunteered a year ago at Eco Fashion Week. I was a dresser back stage when I worked during the 68 pounds challenge fashion show that Kim Cathers took part in. I was inspired by the reconstructing of garments to make new garments, something that I was already doing. So I approached Eco Fashion Week with my idea of using strips of second hand materials and knitting them. I was thinking if I was lucky I might get the opportunity to take part in the show in October, but they encouraged me to take part in the one in the Spring – one season earlier then I expected. Their support and encouragement has been amazing. They really took a chance on a girl who wasn’t established, a complete unknown.
What is the inspiration for your current collection? Twisted Fairy Tale – Barbie glam, meets G.I Joe. I love to play, and have fun. Growing up it was all about playing with my barbie, and my brother’s G.I Joe.
What is your motivation behind using second hand materials? I didn’t start off saying I was going to be an Eco Knitwear designer, it just happened. I had to recreate a t-shirt for a school project, and the best way I knew how to was to knit it. I also made a really great scarf from one of my roommates (actor Matt Loop) t-shirts. For my first fashion show, Empyrean I also started knitting with denim. From that the passion screw into, “ What else can I knit?” …that is why when I saw the 68 pound challenge I was so inspired……I also have a passion for people, and I was thinking one night, how God can take the little scraps of our lives, and create something beautiful….. I might use worn out t-shirts, denim, and recreate something new, but he can take the ugly, worn out pieces of our lives, and create the masterpiece, which is our life, our purpose, our legacy.
What are the recycled materials you used in your recent collection? We used t-shirts, old denim, suede (I loved working with the suede), cords, a hunting tarp, rope, fake leather, and we took apart old hand knits (sweaters and blankets).
What piece from your new collection is amongst your favourites? I love the denim skirt. It is something that I wear myself all the time…, as well as the dress I think turned out AMAZING.
Do you have a favourite photo-shoot from your archives that you have worked on? My team from last season did an amazing job at a photoshoot at stanley park. Photographer Melody Young, model Ennia Mariscal, make up and hair by Miko Wu, and Stylist – my best friend Kenneth Coleman.
How long did your maxi dress from your SS13 range take to knit? Two days….. I can be a fast knitter, once I get going. It starts with finding a great beat, and then I find a rhythm in my knitting.
What do you see outside your studio window? I actually just moved back to Vancouver, two weeks before the show….. I try to surround my self with light, bright colors, and positive energy.
Where do you get your inspiration from? I have two creative passions, one is writing, and the other is creating knits. When I need to take a break from knitting, I tend to write, and vice versa. I also rely on music, to keep me inspired, and I love walking through Holt Renfrew. Also creativity is also inspired with play. Playing, and working with different fabrics, and textures.
Do you remember your first fashion event? My first fashion show I attended was at a mall. I was a girl who loved playing dress up, playing with hair and makeup, and I remember watching the girls walk down the runway, and the music, the vibe made me feel so alive. I knew I wanted to be apart of that. I thought at that time though I would be more involved with the modelling industry.
Who are your favourite designers? I love Alexander McQueen, and Sarah Burton. Their creativity is so astounding. I also have to say that my Nana – Alice wasn’t a designer, but she was talented in creating her own clothes, and clothes for me, and my dolls, and without my Mom, and her passion of knitting, I would never of learned to knit.
What is your advice to consumers in how to be more ‘eco-conscious’ when they are shopping? Every little effort helps. Be conscious, be aware.
Who is your muse? I love Audrey Hepburn. She had amazing style. She was very classy. I also Love McQueen, and Sarah Burton. I love the creativity and boldness that is behind the McQueen Label. That being said. I love the playfulness that Isabella Blow had – she had so much fun with fashion.