Trending and spending

The Fashionistas, the Meetup group I took over, has come back to life. At least I hope so. On Friday night, three of us (OK, that included Sweetie, my guest) met up at Heritage Hall for the first night of Spend on Trend. And we had a blast!

Spend on Trend is a yearly event in Vancouver that allows local, independent designers of clothing, jewellery, and accessories to sell their wares and win new customers. It had been three years since Sweetie and I had attended the show, back when it was in the basement of the Scotiabank Dance Centre.

Our first stop was at Schaart Clothing Co., a label with which we were familiar from items we had seen (and bought) at Planet Claire Sustainable Fashion (now sadly defunct except for occasional pop-up events). One of the great things about Schaart is right on her label: "Sizes 2 to 24." Designer Cheryl Densky wants to make sure women of all sizes can wear beautiful clothing. Sweetie bought a work dress for fall. I bought a white-with-black-pattern skirt (lined and heavy enough for fall) for a really nice price.

I was totally drawn in by Piknic Designs. I bought a slinky bluejean-blue half-sleeve dress with a beautiful crane design on the front. Definitely not for work! But it's already a favourite. I'm pretty sure I will be back for more—at least if I start going to the gym again!

(I don't like the picture, but Sweetie says it's OK. I should just learn to pose, right?)

Around the corner, Carla Swope Jewels brought us to a halt. She makes absolutely stunning pieces from ammonite fossils and several kinds of rough-cut stones. Sweetie was won over by a beautiful ammonite necklace. I was about to leave when a Swarovsky crystal heart-shaped necklace caught my eye—literally. Like a bird, I couldn't resist the shiny thing! Check out her website, which has a link to an excellent Flickr display. Her work is wonderfully inventive!

Revival Ink was our next stop. The company is based in Seattle, and we have a Revival Ink skirt, black with red koi, that we bought at Bumbershoot a couple years ago. This time, T found a great light wrap sweater, and Sweetie went for a blue-grey fleece with an octopus printed on it. Of course!

We were doing plenty of looking without buying as well. There was lots of nice jewellery and some very cute handbags. How can you resist at least looking at jewellery from a company called Toodlebunny? We stopped at Elroy, a hot local designer, so I could try on a cute autumn jacket. Unfortunately, in outerwear I am often size 12, not 10, and her sizes stopped at 10. I tried on the jacket, but it was too small.

We swung back around for one last pass through the hall. T wanted to stop at Salts Organic Clothing, where she tried on and bought a lovely blue dress and a top in a similar colour. They both look great on her.

Salts was right next to Bronsino Designs. We had already touched the beautiful Italian leather shoulder bag on the first pass, but of course it was very expensive. A small black shoulder bag caught my eye, and then a greyish version that I liked even better. And Sweetie says, "You've been looking for a small bag"—one for going dancing to replace one I'd mistakenly left behind at a hotel. And the woman running the booth says, "This one is a second. I could give you 30 percent off." She showed me the small flaws on the stitching inside the flap, which were nothing. And so, for my first time (no Coach in this house), I bought an expensive purse. Genuine leather that I must keep out of the rain! But I love it.

The three of us were peckish by the time we were done, and there was no shortage of places to eat. However, on Friday night without a reservation, it wouldn't be quick. Burgoo had more of a lineup than we fancied. We walked up to my favourite Public Lounge Eatery, where the owner remembered me. Man, was I impressed! It's true I did show up three times within two weeks, but that was quite a while ago. Unfortunately, they were full as well, with people already waiting. We went across the street to Latitude, where they quickly found us seats at the bar until a booth opened up. Latitude serves mostly Latin American tapas, which fit the bill for all of us. The chalkboard above the bar was impressive. I had no idea there were that many kinds of tequilla!

Even if you can't get to Spend on Trend, check out the links. Some vendors have studios, and others sell through stores such as the Barefoot Contessa.

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