Indie Profile: Pauline Siu of Flora&Fauna

At Scout we are inspired by people who create. We recently scouted flora&fauna threads by Vancouver designer Pauline Siu, and thought you should meet her and know about her locally, ethically, and sustainably made clothing.

Pauline started working in the fashion industry in Toronto after studying Fashion Design at Ryerson University. Drawn by BC’s beautiful surroundings and the abundance of wildlife, Pauline moved to Vancouver where the eco-fashion label flora&fauna was born. Drawing inspiration from beauty in nature, the irresistible cuteness of animals, and the intricacy of the planet’s delicate eco-system, all of flora&fauna’s pieces reflect Pauline’s deep love for the natural beauty in our world. With a blend of clean lines, rich colours, and lasting style, flora&fauna incorporates nature and animal themes into each design, and is proud to support local animal welfare and nature conservation organizations (photos by Michael Clifford).

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Scout Indie Profile

What part of Vancouver do you live in and what makes you want to live there? I’m in East Vancouver, quite literally across the street from Burnaby. We moved here about 6 months ago, and LOVE it!! We’re within walking distance from Burnaby Heights, which is awesome – since I don’t have a vehicle, but can get to pretty much anything I need by foot! Rent is a bit cheaper in this part of Vancouver, so we can afford a home/studio with lots of room, and a big backyard for the dog to play in. There are also lots of nice dog parks close by! The best thing about this neighbourhood is the people in it! We have nice neighbours, lots of unique small independent businesses nearby, plenty of urban wildlife, and most importantly – my very wonderful partner, our roomate, and our cats and dog. I think we could live together in the middle of nowhere and it would still be awesome!

Which Vancouver shops carries your wares? flora&fauna’s Spring-Summer 2009 collection is in Hum (3623 Main St), Granville Island Organix (1812 Boatlift Lane, Granville Island), Planet Claire (212 Abbot St), Agnes Jean Boutique (38018 Cleveland Ave, Squamish). You can also find our line online at NextDoorStyle.com and FloraAndFaunaBoutique.ca. We also love doing sale booths. This year, we’ll be at the Spring Living Fair’s Ethical Threads Market, Epic Sustainable Living Expo, and Portobello West Market.

Where do you enjoy shopping in Vancouver? Tell us about some of your fave local haunts For work/office supplies, I will usually phone up my parents in Toronto, to see if they have any spare home office stuff laying around – my dad use to work from home. They never throw anything out, and everything is always in pristine condition – though sometimes dated, it works and is more than good enough for me. Otherwise I will usually check on Craigslist to see if I can purchase things used, my bike, filing cabinet, and most of my furniture is from there. Though I have to admit there’ve been times when I am in a rush or just can’t find what I need, and headed to a office supplies box store for it. For clothing and jewelry, I love shopping at artist markets, such as Epic and Portobello West. It’s fun meeting other designers and sometimes trading for each other’s clothes. If I am looking for something Canadian, I’ll head over to Hum or Twigg and Hottie on Main Street. Vincent Park is a great place to go for awesome jeans, or just to admire their beautiful décor.

Is there a local designer who you admire? Why? There are too many to list! I love Fluevog for being an innovator, and one of the few Canadian shoe designers. He’s a supports other local designers, and I’ve really enjoyed using his shoes to style my photoshoots. Nicole Bridger, who is an old university friend, and Megan of Peel Designs both have beautiful designs. Their passion, and hard work while raising new babies at the same time is really inspirational.

What inspires you? My clothing designs are very much inspired by the shapes and colours found in nature and animal wildlife. Each season, I select a few favourite plants and animals as my themes by incorporating graphic artwork, colours, and shapes into some of the styles. For Spring Summer 2009, I chose squirrels and jellyfish. After a visit to a wildlife rescue center, Critter Care, I fell in love with one of the baby squirrels. I am so happy that flora&fauna had the opportunity to sponsor one of the baby squirrels there – his name is Pepper, funded by our squirrel themed designs.

Tell us about your favourite space to work My studio is in one of the rooms in my home. It’s awesome. The shortest and most eco-friendly commute. It’s a lovely, sunny little room, with a custom designed pattern drafting table where I do all of my sketching, patternmaking, and sewing. I’ve seen some of the most beautiful sunsets from my studio window, and am grateful for the company of my 2 cats and dog – as it can get a bit lonely sometimes.

What is your favourite Flora and Fauna design right now? I LOVE the Squirrel Tent top. It’s so versatile! It looks super cute with a pair of jeans or black capri length leggings. I layer it over a white short sleeve tee-shirt on a cooler day. It’s perfect for the beach, and looks great on all different body types.

What sort of music do you listen to when you are working? OOO! I have a very special playlist for work! It’s full of tracks that remind me of the wonderful creatures and their beautiful habitats. It’s very motivating! It’s a good mix of Bjork, Neil Young, Talking Heads, and many other mother nature theme songs.

Is there a Vancouver event (a craft fair, design show, farmers market) that you look forward to attending or taking part in more than all others? I really enjoyed the Spring Living Fair. It’s a small show, has a great vibe, and is in one of my favourite neighbourhoods (Main Street). I love that the show had free admission, which makes the vendors accessible to everyone. I made lots of new friends there, and even ran into an old one I hadn’t seen for ages!! I’m looking forward to doing it again next year.

Why is Vancouver a good city for indie design? Vancouver is one of the greenest cities in Canada. There are more people who support shopping locally, and sustainably here. I think that being surrounded by the ocean, mountains, and wildlife serves as a constant reminder of the things nature has given us to cherish, and people are willing to take the time and effort to do their part.

What are Flora and Fauna’s plans for the future? I’m really excited about our next collection. We have lots of beautiful dresses, and more cute day wear pieces. I’m also working on some men’s styles too.

If you were to choose one of your designs to send to the Queen, which one would you choose, and why? From the Spring-Summer collection, I would send her the Squirrel Tank in gray. It’s simply elegant, and has a lovely neckline. This piece can be worn casually, or glam it up with a short string of pearls. It’s also a safe bet that she’ll fall in love with the super soft bamboo cotton. What’s her address??

All of flora&fauna’s pieces are locally, ethically, and sustainably made. Visit their website at http://floraandfauna.ca

THE SCOUT CULTURE BLOG

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