by Evan Duggan
VANCOUVER, March 20 (Xinhua) -- A model with high-cropped, bouffant hair and dressed in bright red strutted up the runway, galvanizing the photographers, whose clicking camera shutters could be heard above the music.
Her leather dress was designed like a trench coat with shiny metal buttons, a strappy belt and white accent panels that hugged her shoulders.
It was just one bold look among many at the Monday night preview of the Fall/Winter 2018 edition of the Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW).
Now in its 31st season, the biannual event has become a top show for up-and-coming designers from around the world to cut their teeth in the fashion business.
"It used to be small, local designers," the show's founder Jamal Abdourahman told Xinhua. "Now there are more, bigger designers and more international designers, more global media and fashion media."
Abdourahman expects to see bold colors, shapes and a lot of volume. There are always a few surprises in the show, he said.
It was a full house on the opening night at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Vancouver's historical Chinatown. In the crowd of about 400, there was a lot of leather and black ensembles, with a few bright red outfits standing out in the dim lighting. Fedoras appeared to be in style again.
Between the shows, members of the audience flooded the runway snapping selfies with their friends.
The VFW this year includes nearly 100 designers from around the world. Nicole Jedelsky, a new designer from Sydney, Australia, kicked off the show.
The recent graduate from the University of Technology Sydney was showing a line she called "Skin for Skin". Her show started off with voluminous white dresses and then transitioned into softer drapes of nude colors and green.
"I'm still in the process of getting everything started," she said.
Jedelsky was recruited to the VFW via social media. This is the first time she has shown her line outside of her home country, she added.
"Having my work showcased on a global scale was the most exciting thing and to really venture out of Australia and get to a different market," Jedelsky said. "It's really nice to get out there and have other people see the work."
In her eyes, Vancouver seems to have become a hub for up-and-coming designers who aren't afraid to tackle niche styles. "It's great to see such a variety tackled so well and so professionally," she said.
Vogue China fashion editor Laraine Yu sat next to the runway.
She wore an oversized plaid jacket, a flat cap, baggy denim pants and sneakers. The back of her jacket read: "Your opinion not my beauty."
Yu said the audience and the group of designers came from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities, and that was important for fashion.
The VFW is unique among big city fashion shows, Yu said. "It's not just about fashion trends or designers, or brands," she added. "It's more about culture."