I've been saying for a minute that Vancouver's fashion scene is destined to blow up in the next couple of years. Unlike other cities of similar size, Vancouver is especially suited to experience such a change for a number of reasons:
- It has a ton of money - Vancouver's economy largely consists of young people with more of their parents' money than they know what to do with. This is a city where isn't not uncommon to see a sixteen year old kid driving a Lamborghini. If you're ready to be extremely depressed, check out this blog for an example of the supercars regularly seen on the University of British Columbia campus.
- It has an extremely urban population - this is something unique to Vancouver that I haven't really seen anywhere else. Vancouver's downtown skyline, which consists of hundreds of towering high rises, is almost entirely residential. Unlike many other major cities with a large downtown core, a huge amount of people actually live downtown. This makes Vancouver's city center a hotbed for arts, culture, and entertainment every night of the week.
- Vancouver has a huge number of streetwear/general fashion enthusiasts. At roughly 30,000 members, the Vancouver Streetwear Community group is the largest local streetwear community on the internet. This in and of itself is a massive testament to the amount of people in Vancouver who are actively engaged in the fashion scene to some degree. On a per-capita scale, I have no doubt in my mind that Vancouver has the biggest streetwear community in the world.
These factors are so important in making a city fashion-ready for a number of reasons, but most obvious is the ability to foster a sense of community in the scene. True success in the industry can't simply be brought about by creativity alone - creative minds exist everywhere. What really must happen is for a community to accept these bursts of creativity and turn them into a proper movement. Events, pop-ups, hype, and outreach are the main actions that will help take a label from conception to full blown phenomenon. Cities like Vancouver that easily allow these things to happen put that process into hyper-speed.
Aside from the fact that the city itself is ready to become a global fashion leader, Vancouver does already have an impressive track record when it comes to local brands blowing up on the world's stage. Brands like Herschel, Lululemon, and Aritzia have all done the seemingly impossible by breaking out of the Vancouver market and becoming household brands across North America.
With regard to emerging brands in the city, there are many. Vancouver has an extremely rich community of incredibly talented creatives making big moves in the industry. There are several specific movements in the city, however, that are proving more successful at fostering that sense of community than any others. One such example is Nice Girl.
You know a brand is interesting when you have a genuinely tough time trying to summarize it. I'm not going to attempt to find a deeper meaning beyond the NG aesthetic, as that's beyond my pay grade, but on the surface you can tell something very cool is happening here. The concept itself is beyond simple: they have a total of five items for sale on their online store with two actual designs between them. What's really interesting though is how people have rallied behind the young brand's identity as a collaborative movement.
All that being said, this is just one example of a movement taking shape in a city that's definitely going through an interesting time. It's not limited to fashion either - Vancouver's local music scene also seems to be experiencing a massive revival thanks to these demographic movements. Only time will tell what this means for the culture overall, but I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more of one of my favorite cities on the world stage.
Check out NiceGirl's website at http://www.nicegirl.shop