Suman Faulkner dazzles with her South Asian fusion collection

Suman Faulkner's creation All photos submitted
Suman Faulkner’s creation
All photos submitted

SUMAN Faulkner opened this year’s Art Institute of Vancouver’s fashion show with her South Asian fusion collection. The high contrast of bright colours against black cotton offered a refreshing twist on traditional Indian clothing. Her impeccable attention to details (think thousands of tiny little pleats and hand beading) combined with perfect construction earned her the Excellence in Execution award.

Each year, the Art Institute produces a fashion show, Atelier, featuring the works of their fashion design graduates. Other designers who displayed their creations  included Shabnam Sotoodeh, Fatima Nasserzadeh, Nanna Laorojpinyo, Amir Shah, Jessika Voorhees, Jamaree Eiammanassakul and Zong Peng.

This year things changed to include more than just fashion. Atelier 2015 | Fashion, Food and Film was a showcase of the individual and interdisciplinary talent of not only the fashion design graduates but also culinary, fashion marketing and film students.

The show was held at the Art Institute of Vancouver’s Renfrew campus, transformed into an innovative space right from the red carpet and Royals Royce set up just outside the front doors to the pre-show reception in the institute’s art gallery where tasty bites of heaven were served by culinary students.


FASHION 1SUMAN Faulkner (Lata) was born and raised in the Fiji Islands before immigrating to Canada at the age of 18. Her mother first introduced her to embroidery when she was eight years old, and she learned crochet from her aunt shortly after. At the time, the availability of manufactured fashion was limited in Fiji: most clothes were either homemade or produced by tailors.

From a very young age, Faulkner was passionate about making clothing. Her first creation was a sari blouse that she sewed for her mother when she was 12. Other garments were quick to follow, even though she had no idea how to draft a pattern and hadn’t learned proper sewing techniques. Over the years, Faulkner kept creating garments whenever she could steal a moment: she sewed, crocheted, cross-stitched, and embroidered.

While Faulkner had always wanted to pursue a career in fashion design, the comfort of a well-paid job proved too difficult to leave. However, after 12 years of working in finance, she decided to take the plunge and follow her dreams. She left her job, and enrolled in the Fashion Design program at the Art Institute of Vancouver.

Living between two cultures, Faulkner has always felt the need to create garments that could be worn on different occasions. Whenever she saw runway shows from India or Pakistan, she felt the urge to create fusion garments that could not be found in Canada. This formed the inspiration for her graduation collection at the Art Institute of Vancouver. The East meets West collection of cotton styles combined with detailed embroidery spurred Faulkner on to launch her first label, Lata Designs.

Now a graduate of the program, Faulker is proud to launch her new brand, Lata Designs. Her first collection is inspired by the bright colours and beading of India matched with chic black. The styles are innovative in the use of cotton as an eveningwear fabric. Faulkner’s collection earned the coveted opening for the Art Institute of Vancouver’s annual fashion show gala, Atelier 2015, on Tuesday, March 24.