Vancouver Fashion Week: As Told by Influencer Mekal McGowan

Richmond influencer Mekal McGowan (@mekalm) shares her experience catching photographer’s eyes, and capturing the perfect reel at Vancouver Fashion Week F/W22!

Mekal McGowan at VanFashionWeek (@mekalm)

Vancouver is a flourishing city with lively events and passionate people. As an influencer it offers picturesque spaces, well-coordinated occasions, and growing local businesses. Vancouver Fashion Week is a perfect example of all these things. Hosted in the heart of historical Chinatown, the walls surrounding the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen garden offered perfect backdrops for photographers like @Yhanson_photography to capture the attendees’ carefully considered looks. The outfits are scouted several weeks leading up to the event. Some influencers reach out to brands looking to secure sponsored looks, such as @Tyler.krueger in Silk Maison, and some design their own, or orchestrate from their unique collections as fashion influencers.

In the courtyard was placed an illuminated #VFW sign that couldn’t be missed. In line, the event staff checked tickets and distributed wristbands to ensure a smooth entrance. Once inside David Lam Hall you were invited to line up for refreshments or venture up the wide staircase that lead to a balcony circling the runway, while simultaneously functioning as a showroom exhibiting the participating designers from the previous or upcoming evenings. This was a great way to learn more about the collections, meet the designers, and maybe take something home with you.

“Being an influencer to me means sharing my experiences, and especially those that involve local businesses and talent.”

The view from the upper balcony offered an unobscured birds eye view of the floor, including its bustling photographers and guests taking in the set up and opportunity to capture the night in a series of photos on the runway before it began. The large LED wall was both extravagant and efficient in documenting the whereabouts of the photos, it also advertised the event’s hashtag meant to collectively document the event. Towards the entrance teased studio lights and a black and white photo backdrop with the ‘Vancouver Fashion Week’ logo patterned across it. Throughout the night, between sets, lines formed and crowds gathered patiently waiting to get their photos taken by a friend or one of the local photographers such as @JerryLumphotography. As an influencer this was certainly a seductive opportunity to get a professional photo of your look to post on social. @Valchemic certainly didn’t waste the chance to use the provided backdrop to record her themed looks every night. 

Once the lights began to dim and the show was underway, the event organizers would make announcements introducing the sponsors of the night, including Tonio Lamborghini and their upper lounge. After a long day of the models being fitted, rehearsals, and a large team of hair and makeup artists, it comes to its final moments as familiar faces grace the runway in new innovative looks. There’s no detail too small, the models were carefully selected and placed in a particular order to flow and narrate the intentions of each collection. As an influencer watching these performances unfold, it was inspiring. I had a hard time putting my phone away as I thought of the reels and looks I wanted to share. Getting the right angles might have been tricky from the back row, but select special guests sat back to back in the center of the runway, optimizing content and adding to the overall aesthetic of the evening as they were as much on display as the models themselves.

There were intermissions after every couple designers and you could follow along with the digital program posted on the official Vancouver Fashion Week Instagram, perfect for finding designers’ social accounts. During these breaks, guests would take photos with the models as if posing next to artwork at the gallery. Photographers approached various models or influencers as they networked.

At its core, Vancouver Fashion Week is a gathering of like-minded creatives who have a particular appreciation for the fashion scene and, through the efforts of the event coordinators, were able to share a series of evenings admiring textile beauty. Being an influencer to me means sharing my experiences, and especially those that involve local businesses and talent. There’s no doubt that as I walked past the glowing #VFW sign at the end of the night, with a camera roll full of content and a few more accounts to follow.

By Mekal McGowan

Follow Mekal on instagram @mekalm for more behind the scenes photos, and other updates on her life as a Vancouver influencer!

Feature image credit to HFE&Co

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