Traditional ideals of beauty is something that I’ve longed to re-route. After a set of standards has been hardwired into each one of us, it takes time to order reverse its long-term societal effects and those of the individual. Of course, starting out in the fashion industry from the age of 16 would seem like something that would be counteractive–the conventional belief there being that the fashion industry is one that’s surface level. Like anything, there are elements that remain fabricated in an emphasis on the exterior; style is something that stands to physically be judged. But to end the discussion there would be doing the multi-billion dollar industry, built around artistry and fantasy, a disservice. A little healthy skepticism never hurt…

To the outside world, often the fashion industry is seen as “frivolous”, to quote Alexa Chung in her new behind-the-scenes video series with British Vogue. Too often, the public hears stories of models with eating disorders, the lack of racial diversity, or countless cliched celebrity endorsements, overshadowing the lot of good that is going on within its complexity.

I admire Vancouver Fashion Week for their apathy towards attempting to fit the mould set by fashion capitals such as New York, London and Milan. There is simply nothing more exquisitely beautiful than recognizing one thing as your own and constructing your form outside of that. I see similarities between Vancouver and London’s run-throughs, with each selectively chosen designer line-up reflecting workmanship and flair.

My favourite fashion designer to come out of Van is Eliza Faulker, who studied at the prestigious Central Saint Martins in London at just 19. After returning home to her Canadian roots, she’s been later quoted that whilst away abroad she recognized the immediate respect and admiration for fashion as an art form itself–from those within the industry but perhaps more importantly, from those merely watching from the outside in. Canadian fashion is not recognized to such an extent and therefore, lacks the funding and mentorship–two pillars for longevity within the craft. The very concept of imagination facilitating artistry to such extent is what I find most beautiful; the metaphor that within a garment, we see delicacy, elegance and intelligence through our default peripherals. One dress, skirt, jumper, relays a certain finesse–one we may agree or disagree with, but that doesn’t make it any less alluring in its own right.

To recognize that your place is just as worthy and need not for any antagonism. To be beautiful, to me, is to see beyond. It’s to think different; see different; be different–both in what you exude but in what you observe. The law of attraction, people.

Stay tuned for my live tweets from Eliza’s show, as well as my two other favourites, Aniimiism and Sara Armstrong. Follow along at @ethcsofstyl and let us know what your idea of beauty is under #ethcsofbeauty. VFW runs from Sept. 28 – Oct. 4. Follow @VanFashionWeek for more!

[Images: Eliza Faulkner SS15 lookbook shot by Nariman J]