Sally Omeme

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Vancouver’s Eco Fashion Week came to a wrap last week & following the success of her show, Sally Omeme shares her story…

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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.

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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.

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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.5_PBJ_4211_jpg

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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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