If there ever was an animation that resembled RVNG Couture gowns, it would probably be Disney’s Cinderella. Picture the scene when the fairy godmother grants her with glass slippers and a gorgeous blue dress – all set for the ball? Dreamy, magical, fairytale-like. These words perfectly describe Canadian designer Jordan Stewart’s work and design aesthetic.
Stewart’s work has been all over television, runway shows, award ceremonies, red carpets and many major events around the world. She’s had a meteoric rise to fame in Canada thanks to her exquisite and meticulously conceptualized work.
Where it all began
Stewart’s family has a long history in fashion. Her great grandmother was a master European dress maker in Glasgow, Scotland. Her grandmother was a seamstress, who worked for Singer Corporation, and trained both Stewart and her mother to sew as well.
“I was raised making clothes with my mom. I remember making Christmas presents with her. That’s where my love for sewing and art began,” says Stewart.
“There is the business portion: with manufacturing, garments, stock,” she adds. “And then there is the art and atelier component: where you create custom garments. I consider myself a runway company: I love the production, the art, the theatrics of creating a runway. I like having the interaction with my customers. I love to create magic.”
Stewart’s business originally started with her own high-end women’s boutiques in 2008, where she focused on event wear and sourced clothing from different brands. She says she built amazing connections during that period and subsequently dressed many high-profile clients. Eventually, she decided it was time to make her own clothing and transitioned into that business in 2014.
RVNG concept and brand
“When people wear your garment, it’s like you get to go with them: to their weddings, graduations, award ceremonies,” says Stewart. “It is so special – to be a part of people’s lives when they feel beautiful.”
“RVNG stands for ‘revenge’ and is about perseverance. It’s about confidence. It’s about following your dreams.”
The creative process
With every new collection, Stewart follows a set creative process.
“I always start with colours and then I move onto fabrics. And then I sketch dresses and match them with fabrics. I love collections that are conducive to themes, colours. I also name every collection. There is always some sort of inspiration behind it.”
“My first one wasn’t named though, believe it or not. The second one was called Rodeo Drive. And the last one was called Ooh La La, where I did 40 looks, with gowns and ready-to-wear, although even my ready-to-wear was about clothing you could wear to [events].”
“For my ready-to-wear pieces, I’m considering opening up retail but only looking into two or three high-end retailers. My gowns can’t go to retail. I make one of each. They are all custom made. They are my fun art.”
In fact, every gown has its own story.
“If I meet you and connect with you, I tend to go home and start to draw you something, whether you want it or not!” laughs Stewart. “I name each dress after the person I meet. So, I often invite that person to the show and let them know that I made them a dress and it’s on the runway, and that I’d like them to see it. Each piece is special because it represents someone.”
The future is here
The pandemic has certainly affected the entire fashion and entertainment industry, but Stewart is optimistic and more energetic than ever. In fact, she is preparing for one of her biggest experiences to-date: showing at New York Fashion Week this September.
“I have changed my production dates and become malleable in my timelines. My meetings have been adapted for the Zoom screen. Magazines and creative editorial deliveries are now met with gloves and socially distanced drop offs. The show must go on and we are all learning as a community on how to continue to create and support one another,” she explains.
As far as her next collection at NYFW goes, she adds that “normally, all details of up-and-coming seasons are top secret, but I can tell you that I am using a lot of colour and texture. I am looking forward to showing RVNG Couture spring/summer 2021 at NYFW. And I’m also beyond excited to be nominated by CAFA for The Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent. As a fashion designer, it is the highest honour to be included as a nominee.”
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