Taran Cheema To Showcase Collection At Vancouver Fashion Week

Vancouver Fashion Week selects just a few designers whose work they choose to showcase and Taran Cheema is one of them.

Aspiring fashion designer Taran Cheemas work will be showcased at the Vancouver fashion week which kicks off Sept. 16 at the Chinese Cultural Centre downtown.

The 22-year-old Vancouver native and recent graduate of New York City’s Parsons School of Fashion is looking forward to this show.

Vancouver Fashion Week producer Jamal Abdourahman caught a glimpse of Cheema’s senior collection from her graduating year at Parsons and immediately knew he had to sponsor her and show the collection at the upcoming fashion week, which kicks off Sept. 16 at the Chinese Cultural Centre downtown.

“It’s not going to be easy trying to get my name out there,” said Cheema, a former VFW intern, adding that she’ll probably head to London, England, for her masters before she can land a job here.

“(But Vancouver Fashion Week) chose a couple of designers that they’re willing to sponsor, so I’m grateful to be one of them.”

“It’s a step up . . . (and) it’s definitely a networking opportunity — having to intern for them, I know how many people they invite for their fashion shows, like bloggers and media.

“I’ve been working really hard on this collection (and) it’s really great to hear that people are interested and want to know more about it.”

According to Abdourahman, he “couldn’t believe” that the bold and colourful couture photos he saw on Facebook was the work of the recent graduate. “It’s beautiful, beautiful work,” he said.

At VFW, Cheema will showcase five looks — each one consisting of three bright, colour-blocked garments, all draped over the model in layers.

“(My collection has) a lot of colour, it’s very geometric shape-based, it’s very futuristic, it’s a lot of colour-blocking,” said Cheema. “Initially when people see it they get confused, but I think once they realize the layers, it’s something magical.”

The collection, along with most of her work, is inspired by her Sikh ­heritage.

“The way the garments are put on is unique — they’re kind of wrapped like a sari, or a turban,” she said. “It’s more meaningful if I bring my culture into it and I’m always drawn back to it.”

Having grown up in a Sikh household, Cheema says she always finds herself incorporating henna designs, beadwork, or the bright and beautiful colours often associated with her culture in her designs.

Showcasing young, local talent like Cheema is the goal of VFW, said Abdourahman. “This is what we want to accomplish. Vancouver Fashion Week is meant to highlight and create a platform for designers — local designers,” he said.

“When it’s someone from home, from here . . . it’s extra special.”

“It’s not something you see everyday,” he said, “here we have amazing talent and designers.”

Sept. 16: Opening gala and sneak preview of designers’ collections, 7 — 11 p.m.
Sept. 17: Opening day, runway shows begin with local, international designers, including Sara Roka and Shelley Klassen of Blushing Designs, runway shows 5 — 8 p.m.
Sept. 18: Emerging, Canadian designers, including four students from LaSalle College design students and local designers Evan Clayton and Dandilion Wind Opaine, runway shows 5 — 8 p.m.
Sept. 19-21: Local and international established designers, including Ha Sang Beg, Veejay Floresca and newcomers Noe Bernacelli from Lima, Peru and local upstart Indiverve, runway shows 5 — 8 p.m.