Talking Shop With Local Designer Nicole Bridger In Advance Of Eco Fashion Week

September 26, 2011.

Nicole Bridger is a locally produced line of socially conscious clothing and also a woman (locally produced as well). While this interview is concerned with both the clothing and the woman, we’re focusing on the latter while fully appreciating the difficulties of separating the two.

Nicole,as we’ve obtusely made clear, was born and raised in Vancouver. She studied fashion design at Ryerson University in Toronto and then she went to London (UK) to intern at Vivienne Westwood. But here’s the thing: instead of getting carried away with the extravagant and conflicted world of high fashion, she saw that she could use her talents with fashion design as a vehicle for some of the changes she wanted to see in the world.

To take care of the Earth we use sustainable fabrics that are from natural and renewable resources and are dyed with low impact dyes. We consider the impact that we have on the earth and do the best we can to minimize it.

For the People we use ethical manufacturing practices. The majority of our goods are manufactured locally in Vancouver and if we manufacture overseas, we use fair-trade factories.

Finally, for Spirit we sew into each piece of clothing our affirmation labels that say I AM LOVE. This is a reminder to the wearer to speak kindly to themself and to others and help spread positivity throughout their day.

Long story short, Nicole moved home where set about establishing her own clothing line. Today, Nicole Bridger the company, like Nicole Bridger the woman, is guided by the axiom that one must strive to do what is right for the earth, for people and for spirit. We caught up with her to ask a few questions as Eco Fashion Week approached here in Vancouver (October 5-7 at Storyeum)…

Three words that capture your design style: Effortless, drapey, sexy.

Favourite luxury purchase hanging in your closet? My Vivienne Westwood sheerling jacket, though it was a gift.

A Fall 2011 item every girl should have: One of our new organic wool coats. They make me happy that Fall is here.

Schooled in Toronto and trained in London. What keeps you anchored in Vancouver? My happiness, my family.

Eco Fashion Week is on the horizon. Which of your designs are you most excited to see on the runway? Some of the new, silky draped dresses.

If there was a Nicole Bridger soundtrack, what would be on it? Right now, it’s Bon Iver, but its always changing.

Why is Vancouver a good city for independent design? The industry is very new here. We are creating it.

Is there a local designer or artist that you admire above all others? Why? John Fluevog has been like a Papa to me since I was 16, and he has continued to be a good friend and mentor.

Best Vancouver place to be inspired by emerging artistic talent: The Eastside Culture Crawl [ed. note: coming up in November].

Three core beliefs that have kept you going in this industry: Anything is possible; be who you are; I am love.

Three places that you like to take out of town guests: Granville Island; L’Abattoir; Wreck Beach.

Last art show that really blew you away: Cavallier -I love cirque and I love horses.

Where do you enjoy shopping in Vancouver? Gravity Pope for shoes; Lululemon for yoga pants; Wholefoods for groceries. I seek out local jewellers like Shereen de Rousseau and Emma Bracefield. I don’t really buy clothing other than my own.

Who should we interview next? Edward McKeever did the fresco in my store. He is so passionate about it. Also Nick Kerchum and Galen Evans of Natural Balance Home Builders. They built the first LEED certified home in western Canada and it won Best Home of the Year.

What three colours do you like for Fall wardrobes this year? Brick red, berry purple and tobacco green.

What are you most wanting to see at Eco Fashion Week? Big publications to come and cover it.

Surprise inspiration for your Spring/Summer 2012 line? Allowing grace – it’s all about letting go and letting the things flow into place.

Favourite Vancouver park? Trimble. I grew up there. Love the view.

Talent you wish you possessed: Professional contemporary dancer.

The trend you wish you never followed, but did: It’s a tie between grunge and raver.

Musical instrument you long to master: Piano. I used to play and wish I still could.

Sport you gave up: Horse riding, though I still plan to take it up again when I’m older.

Favourite place to see live music: The Orpheum or The Commodore.

Cheap place for dinner: East Is East.

Three things of no monetary value that you will keep until you die: My positive outlook on life; my love for people; my desire to make a lil’ difference.

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Catch the Nicole Bridger Spring/Summer 2012 premier at Vancouver Eco Fashion Week (October 5-7)

Nicole Bridger is located at 2151 W4th

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