The Alternative Side Of Cherry Velvet

Cherry Velvet with Margot Meanie

When Cherry Velvet broke into the industry, we centered our brand around Pinup-style. Our photoshoots had a decidedly classic look: Black winged eyeliner, vintage eyebrows and eye catching victory rolls. However, we soon discovered from comments by our customers that they often felt intimidated by this styling; many of our customers felt that they would not be able to achieve the full look. When we used alternative models with visible tattoos, we received feedback that they distracted from our dresses and it was difficult to imagine the looks without tattoos.

We always take the feedback we receive and use it to grow and change as a brand. At the end of the day, we’re a vintage inspired fashion line; our intention is never to alienate anyone or their style. To that end, in response to the feedback we’ve received over the years, we choose to shoot our catalogue/online shop images and advertising in a way that ensures that we can appeal to the broadest audience we can, while still upholding our own commitment to releasing inspired dresses with original prints and all inclusive sizing.

Having said that, by no means are we confined to being just mainstream.  As an office, we’re as unique, alternative and funky as our dresses. Our rainbow-haired office administrator, Tracy, loves to dress in Disney-inspired outfits every Friday (“Disneybounding”) and our Media Director, Logan, will never stop adding tattoos to his growing sleeves. As expressive as we are at Cherry Velvet HQ, we want our dresses to be a colourful canvas for our customers to be inspired by and accessorize with; to show their flair.

Recently, we had the opportunity to work with a local alternative fashion blogger, Margot Meanie. An East Van girl, through and through,  we were excited to discover her unique style. After a creative brainstorm meeting, we were stoked to set up a photoshoot with her. We couldn’t wait to see what kind of alternative spin she would put on one of our newest and currently most popular dresses, The Lana.

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Many of Margot’s #ootd shots are often taken with a Street Photography feel.  We wanted to echo her alternative style and so chose an eye catching location that would go perfectly. We ended up deciding on an East Van favourite, The Rio Theatre.

We also took some time to chat with Margot a bit and get her thoughts in a mini-interview; we’re excited to share both the photoshoot and her interview below!

Read on!

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1. How did you get into Fashion blogging?
 
I was wooed by all the pretty photos on Pinterest. I wanted similar shots captured of me in the outfits I’d create, so there’s a tiny bit of vanity at play there. But I also wanted to help plus size babes find resources to find cool clothes that suit their personalities. It can be really difficult as a plus size shopper to find the clothes we like AND for them to fit us. Since brick and mortar locations are drying up for us to physically shop in and try things on, we are forced to turn to online shopping. Being able to share my knowledge about how to start shopping online,where to look and to be able to show how the clothes look on my body, which may be similar to theirs is important to me to help empower stylish babes of all sizes.
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2. Where/who do you get your fashion inspirations from?
 
EVERYWHERE! But social media is probably my number 1 influence, mostly because it’s so vast. I follow fashion bloggers of all sizes, I have over 1000 instagram accounts I follow { though they’re not all fashion, there is a lot of art, tattoos and drag queens in there }, Pinterest is an amazing resource too, because it gives you the ability to create mood boards so effortlessly and if you find an item you love, there is often a direct link to that item!
Social media has just opened up a world of possibility. It also helps you craft the media you consume, instead of just being force fed the standard unattainable, “aspirational” beauty ideal, you get to craft your own beauty standard and it helps you broaden your scope of beauty and acceptance. I’d also say searching hashtags on platforms like instagram or tumblr is really great as well, some of my favourite hashtags are: #alternativecurves, #goldenconfidence, #psootd and #whatfatgirlsactuallywear
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3. What drew you to reach out to Cherry Velvet? 
 
My friend gave me a heads up about a model call and I was really excited to find an inclusive brand from my own hometown! Vancouver, as much as I adore it, can be downright difficult to navigate as a plus size shopper, we have about 6 options to go shopping in and try actually try things on, so I really want to celebrate and herald local and Canadian brands serving the plus size community with beautifully crafted items.
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Sabrina Casts A Spell @ Our Next Studio Shop (Sept 30-Oct 1)

Kaleigh is wearing Sabrina in Indigo Roses

 

 

It seems Vancouver skipped a season and we went from Spring to Fall in 2 months! Now that we’re a stone’s throw away from October, you know that means pumpkin spice lattes, spooky decor… and Autumn Studio Shops!

 

Our next open Studio Shop will be on Friday, September 30th (2-7pm) & October 1 (11-5pm)!

 

 

We wanted to take a moment and spotlight a popular style we’ve carried for awhile and are releasing this season in some gorgeous new fabrics. We’re excited to showcase Sabrina and our new arrivals at our next Open Studio Shop!

If you’re lucky enough to make it down to our showroom in East Vancouver (1635 Powell St.) on Sept 30 or Oct 1, you’ll be one of the special few to have a chance to try some new prints that will not yet be available on our site!

Vanessa is wearing Sabrina in Shimmer Lace

 

A style from 2013, we’ve continued to carry our Sabrina over several seasons because of its unique, elegant look. Although we have many dresses that fit above the knee or higher, our Sabrina is one of the few styles we have that offers a below the knee to mid-calf hemline, depending on your height.

And no need to cover up with a jacket, the flattering sweetheart neckline is “capped” off with darling short sleeves that wrap around your shoulders, like a built-in bolero!

Erin is wearing Sabrina in Indigo Roses

We recommend pairing it with a Mid-Calf length crinoline!

Fabulous New Fabrics For Sabrina…

Cherry Velvet will always carry our signature 100% cotton prints, but this season we decided to try something new…

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Sabrina comes in some new fabrics that we’re very excited about! In addition to coming in some gorgeously rich prints, these fabrics are a completely different weight than our cotton. Indigo Rose is an incredibly soft, thick fabric that luxuriously drapes over your curves. Conversely, our new Shimmer Lace fabric is dark & elegant, yet light in weight; A delicate but opaque lace texture. We love the colour, as well! The lace is striking in the light… like onyx stone glistening in the moonlight.

We hope to see you at our Studio (1635 Powell Street) next week! There are so many new styles to try on, including many that will not be up on our site yet! Get your Sneak Peek on or grab an End Of Season dress for a great price!

XOX Cherry Velvet

Models of Cherry Velvet: Kaleigh Almond

Continuing our “Models of Cherry Velvet” series, our next model has only been shooting with us since the summer of 2015…

Galbraith Mansion, July 2015. 

With her golden hair and piercing blue eyes, Kaleigh Almond exemplifies the sweet as cherry pie look, yet has the unique ability to smoulder like the most sultry of femme fatales. A seasoned model, she has been working in the industry since 2012, while she studies at UBC. How was she discovered? She won a modelling contest for a local lingerie company!

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Kaleigh is wearing The Kate in Midnight Galaxy

We had the opportunity recently to ask her a few questions during a photoshoot…read on!

How did you get this Cherry-sweet gig?

I started modelling for a local company in Langley BC. At a Fundraiser Fashion Show for a fellow model, Diane Kennedy saw me and contacted me for modelling some time after. Since our very first shoot at a heritage home in New Westminster, I have had the pleasure of working with Cherry Velvet in their catalogue and promotional shoots!

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Galbraith Mansion, July 2015. Kaleigh is wearing The Aurora in Plum Taffeta

What does #stunningatanysize mean to you?

Since I’m in the fashion industry, the positive body movement over the past few years has held a particular interest to me. Growing up, I always considered myself, “average”; I thought I was mundane and girl-next-door as one could imagine! Even today, I still think I’m an average height, size, shoe, shape; I even study arts and have blonde hair! How “average” can you get! But this movement towards self-accepting and thinking that every person is beautiful in their own unique and wonderful way has really had a positive effect on my work. I’m so pleased that despite my self-deprecation, I’m able to find modelling work and the positive messages are applicable in my everyday life.

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#stunningatanysize means that I’m beautiful -the way I’m right now; not once I’ve achieved the goals I have set for myself to lose weight or become fitter- but right now I’m beautiful. And this has been a struggle, especially in the last six months, to remember this and to work on self-acceptance. #stunningatanysize does not mean I’m perfect, but it means that I’m (trying) to accept me for me as I’m today. A lot of people find it surprising that I struggle with self-acceptance and confidence, but being a model doesn’t mean I’m perfect or that I’m totally confident, it means that I’m trying to see myself as a beautiful person and that I’m continuously fighting to be proud of myself.

How do you get ready for a photoshoot? What are your 3 favourite beauty products?

I love photo shoots more than almost anything in the world, but getting ready for them requires a lot more time than I had originally thought!

For starters, being perfectly manicured for shoots means I have to shave the day off – which often means waking up crazy early before a shoot. In order to look refreshed (like I got those 8 hours of sleep I had planned on!), I use A-Derma Emollient Foaming Gel to wash my face. My skin is can get grumpy and with all the makeup products I have to put on at shoots—I often break out. I love this product because it minimises breakouts and doesn’t suck all the moisture out my skin. My skin is also very reactive, but so far this product has had no negative effects on it!

My second secret is what I put on the rest of my skin to make it look soft for the photos. Again my skin is very reactive, so I even though I’ve tried all the fun products from places like Bath & Body Works, The Body Shop etc. and liked them, I still wasn’t getting the results I wanted. So I went back to basics. Every morning and night, I put aloe vera on my skin! Even though it doesn’t smell as lovely as the other options, it works fabulously!

But my biggest secret, the one that took me the longest to figure out, is how models always had such beautiful nails! Pro tip: they don’t get manicures every day, they use gel nude nail polish! I personally love Sally Hanson. It’s affordable and it dries reasonably quickly, which is something I value when I’m running from University to shoots and back.

What is your favourite Cherry Velvet dress & why?

My favourite dress right now is The Brigitte!

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The Brigitte in Storybook

This dress is perfect for warmer weather. It’s a touch shorter than some of the others and I always LOVE the fun prints it comes in! Pink Eden is my personal favourite!

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The Brigitte in Pink Eden

Who inspires your creativity?

I grew up in a wonderful home with wonderful, caring and intelligent parents. But they’re also kinda crazy (in the best way possible!). My mother is one of the most creative people I have ever met. She can take anything, a broken teacup, for example, put it in our garden and plant wonderful bright flowers around it, making it look like she got the idea right off Pinterest. My mom loves colour; everything in her world is colourful! Every wall in her room is a different colour. She dresses in fun, fashionable colours every chance she gets and, most prominently, her personality shines through everything bad in the world. My mom has always supported my creativity by putting me in classes for sculpture, painting, pastels, dance, theater, film acting etc. Her creativity is inspiring and I love her more and more every day. <3

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us, Kaleigh!
If you liked the dresses she’s wearing in this blog, check them and all of our new arrivals out on our website

-Team CV

 

A Dose of Diane: A mini-bio!

As we are in the midst update our company bios, we sat down with our designer, Diane Kennedy, to find out a little bit more about the chéri behind Cherry Velvet.

Have a peek!

XOX Cherry Velvet

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How did you get into Fashion Design?

Born and raised in Vancouver, BC, my love of fashion started at a very early age. By the age of four, I received my first real sewing machine and I enjoyed a lot of mother-daughter bonding as she taught me how to sew.

A moment stands out in my memory of a time when my cousin and I were playing with our Barbie dolls. She disappeared into the other room and quickly reappeared with a bathing suit she had sewn herself! The idea delighted me and I honestly think that’s what planted the seed in my mind that I wanted to create fashion.

After graduating from Kwantlen University Fashion Design program and several design and patternmaking positions, I bought a patternmaking service bureau called Fashionmark.  In total I spent 20 years perfecting my craft and honing my ability to design excellent fit across all size categories before starting my first fashion brand; Diane Kennedy. Five years later in 2011, I started Cherry Velvet.

Cherry Velvet is all representing curves. What does that mean to you?

My experience as a plus size woman, in addition to my Fashion Design background, gives me great confidence in my understanding of a woman’s figure and how to highlight our best features.

In my years of dressing women, I pay attention to how we dress, how we wear dresses. Cherry Velvet is well known for our fit. While many fashion lines use one pattern to cut their sizes, we create 2 patterns; one for Regular & Plus Sizes, to ensure the best fit.

Why is #stunningatanysize an important motto for Cherry Velvet?

While other brands are starting to finally recognize the Plus Size community as a relevant market, I have always wanted to have all inclusive sizing.

When I began research for Cherry Velvet, I came across some very telling comments from women in our target market. It quickly became clear that Plus Size women wanted to shop for the same clothing and brands that are readily available in regular sizes. It was dismaying for them to have to shop on the top floor of a department store with a dismal selection or in a plus store that offered matronly clothing. These women wanted the respect of not being treated differently because of size.

And so, it became my mission to focus on providing a unique vintage inspired dress line geared towards great fit in both plus and regular sizes.