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Birds of North America - Spring 2014 Collection sneak peek!

Behind the scenes: Curating fashion with Victoire and Birds of North America

By Karen Diepeveen on March 5, 2014

Ever wondered how clothing gets selected in your local shops? How store owners manage to pick those really great pieces from collections of lovely designs? This week, you get a chance to find out, with Victoire Boutique hosting a Collection Launch down at their West Wellington location.

For three days, they’ll have the entire Spring 2014 collection from Canadian designer Birds of North America on display. Stop by to peruse the collection, and take the chance to buy like the shop owners do for their stores: with all colours and styles and sizes available. Plus, on Saturday they’ll feature Hayley Gibson from Birds of North America, who will talk about the entire design process and answer all of your questions.

We sent Hayley and the owners of Victoire, Regine and Katie, a few questions to get an early sneak peek at what to expect, and how on earth they choose what designs to feature each season.

Apartment613: Let’s start with you telling us a little about the process of creating a collection – where do you get your inspiration from? 

Hayley, Birds of North America: I usually start with asking myself, “If I could wear anything in the world for next season, what would it be?”  Feelings about what I would like rush in, and I start from there.  I also look at a lot of vintage clothing for inspiration – it is so well made and full of interesting details.  I have very strong preferences for silhouettes, fabrics, and details and I tend to revisit the same themes over and over each season, but I am compelled to bring something new each time so that helps keep it fresh.

How on earth do you choose what you think will be hot for an upcoming season, both in designing clothes and picking them for the shop? 

Hayley: For me, I try not to think too much about what other people will like, I just think about what I would like to wear that season.  Offering my personal vision is the most basic job I have as a designer.  If I was trying to figure out what stores and customers were going to like it would feel like working as a designer for a corporation, not as a designer who expresses a personal artistic vision through a line of clothing.  Victoire always seems to be on the same page as me so it works well!  It’s amazing to have a store like them that trusts my vision and judgement as a designer!

Victoire: We like to look for pieces that are special & unique, while at the same time being totally functional: a perfect work dress, or special occasion dress for instance. It’s a hard duality to master, but Hayley totally gets it. Our customers are not slaves to fashion, so the pieces we buy have to actually fit into the needs of their day-to-day lives. With Birds the uniqueness comes from her fit which is truly unparalleled, as well as her choice of fabrics. Super wearable & durable fabrics with a few quirky prints and colour combinations thrown in.

What’s important to you when thinking about the overall curation of a collection? 

Hayley: I have actually stopped forcing myself to think too much about overall merchandising, palette, coherence etc.  I found that my collections looked less spontaneous and more contrived when I tried to work like that. I basically go with what appeals to me now and worry about how it works together later.  I have found that Birds of North America has a strong enough identity that whatever I do within a certain realm seems to work together and be coherent in the end.

Victoire: We on the other hand DO think about how everything will end up working together. We see all our designers collections within weeks of each other usually, so every piece is still really fresh in our mind with every new collection we see. So we start to see themes or colour stories develop from what all our designers present. So we do try to think about how each style contributes to an overall idea or vibe we’re feeling.

What can we expect at the event this week? What do you think shoppers will be most surprised by? 

Hayley: I think people can expect a very intimate, genuine experience with all three of us.  The fashion industry can feel very inaccessible and unfriendly and I hope people will be surprised by how down-to-earth we all are and how much we love our work and care about the people who buy Birds of North America and all the other lines that Victoire stocks. I hope the guests will also leave with a little reassurance that spring weather will be here again one day soon!

Victoire: People can definitely expect to see more Birds of North America in one place then they ever have before – and to fall in love with more pieces than they can take home! Hayley is such a joy to be around that I think people will love her line even more after meeting her. We highly suggest people come in on Thursday & Friday to pre-shop and avoid the changeroom line-ups, then come back on Saturday to meet Hayley! This is the first time we’ve ever done a collection launch, so we’re super excited!

The Collection Launch takes place from March 6-8 at the West Wellington location of Victoire (1282 Wellington St W). Details: March 6-7: Collection launch from 10-8pm. March 8: Collection launch from 10-6 and artist talk with Hayley Gibson at 11:30am.