Standing on the ladder with her gown gently sweeping the sea, she graciously tends to her flower garden. The beautiful geometric, earthy jewelry that adorn her body brings out a charisma that was not previously there. She appears delicate and dainty, but at the same time there is an air of authority in her every move. Who is she?
Surrounded with beautiful flowers in the midst of the sea, it was as if she was a princess from the mythical world of Atlantis. Were we really in the middle of Atlantis?
It was actually the set of our shoot that features two emerging designers from Vancouver, Canada, a couture and costume designer: Shelayne Mulholland and a jewelry designer: Sarah Mulder. If Shelayne’s gowns speak romance and drama, Sarah’s jewelry screams power – a validation that show both Shelayne and Sarah truly understand how to make a woman feel and look like a mythical goddess.
Shelayne’s first encounter with the fashion world was when she had to design and make costumes for her dance company. That was a crucial moment that inspired her to pursue her passion for fashion design. Upon graduating from a Bachelor of Design in Fashion and Technology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver, Shelayne decided that she wanted to gain more experience. She did internships with a Vancouver-based fashion designer: Nicole Bridger, and a Ghana-based designer: Osei Duro. It was her internship with Osei Duro that she discovered her love for fabric.
Since then, Shelayne’s love for fabric has kept on growing, the choice of fabric has become the key step in her design process. “The first thing that I do when I see a beautiful garment is to feel the texture. I get inspired by the way different fabrics drape and flatter a body. Some designers love drawing their new ideas, I love designing in a three dimensional approach by taking fabrics in my hands and draping them on a body form,” says Shelayne. After fabric, her clients’ story comes into play. Her clients’ lifestyles bring her inspiration and those different lifestyles are reflected in her designs whether it’s from how they live, what they love, how they spend their time, or what they value.
Currently working as a freelance designer, Shelayne has been involved in various types of projects, from dance costumes to couture gowns to theatre productions. Her latest project was with the costume team of the production of Les Miserables at the Chemainus Theatre Festival. And for this shoot, she specially designed and made the dresses to suit the concept. Dare we say that she is the young of Christian Lacroix?
As a big advocate of sustainable design and socially responsible production, Shelayne says that her biggest challenge as an emerging designer is finding a place in the fashion industry that coincides with her ethics and values, “I want more than anything to be involved in the fashion industry in a socially responsible way. It is very hard to compete with existing brands that sell their clothes for cheap and sacrifice labour standards, safety and the environment in the process.” One of her biggest hopes is to witness a change in the fashion industry, to see consumers care about where and how their clothes are created. Well, it looks like her belief, patience and persistence will quickly lead her to produce her own label that is dramatic, vibrant, organic, and most importantly for her, sustainable.
To connect with Shelayne Mulholland: Website
When she began working on her jewelry label, Sarah dreamed to be the go-to brand for everyday jewelry wear. As it turned out, she didn’t have to wait too long. Within 2 years, her collections have now been carried by various retailers in 5 cities across Canada.
Seeing her full collections in person, it is no surprise why women are obsessed with Sarah’s jewelry. They are simple that you can wear them every day, yet at the same time, they are conversation starters among jewelry lovers. Her jewelry is what we may call “understated statement pieces”.
A self-declared “jewelry fanatic” since a young age, Sarah has always loved it when people notice her jewelry before her outfit. Her love for jewelry triggered her to learn jewelry-making on her own when she was a teen, and she hasn’t stopped since. Her favourite designing moment is when her work table is covered with various pieces of jewelry materials. She loves seeing which materials bits and pieces look the best together, “It’s like a magic when things start clicking- your heart starts to beat a little faster knowing you have a winning design that your customers are going to fall in love with!”
Constantly inspired by beautiful things around her, including her own paintings (yes, she is also a very talented painter), Sarah currently has two big things going on in her mind: working on her next Egyptian-inspired collection and introducing her brand to the international world. Go marvel at her jewelry worn by the princess of Atlantis on the photos above and you will also believe that this will be another milestone that Sarah won’t have to wait too long to achieve.
(Note: All jewelry are by Sarah Mulder, except for the headpiece)