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Local designers plan to strut past competition

Even with trendy stores–such as Forever 21, Urban Outfitters and Anthropology–opening up in the new Chinook Centre expansion, local designers say they can stay competitive.

Brook Fung, designer of Peeko Apparel & Vintage, says she isn’t concerned about how these trendy stores will impact her business.

“People tend to like Forever 21 at first, just like any popular store when it first comes to a city, and then they usually have a falling out with it.”

Fung says her business depends on clients who want custom pieces, rather than what’s hanging off a mannequin at the mall.

An ACAD fiber and textiles grad, Fung designs one-of-a-kind items made out of a fusion of new and recycled fabrics.

“I take what already exists and give it another outlook, another vision,” she says.

“I love the challenge of taking a piece that is used and making it into something beautiful that people would never guess is actually old.”

Peeko Apparel is a combination of minimalist draped jackets, skirts and sweaters with interesting lines, unusual darts and Asian influences.

Fung’s line can be found on the website etsy.com.

In her DYI spirit, she chose not to put her clothing in a boutique. She says she’d rather go global, and develop a following from the U.S. to Australia.

“I design for people that have a hunger for fashion and want statement pieces that can be easily mixed into their wardrobes.”

Irene Rasetti, owner of Shisomiso boutique in Art Central, agrees. She says Shisomiso avoids carrying clothing that’s “disposable” or too “trendy.”

“We try to carry things that are unique, well made and affordable,” she says. “Because of this we find our store has a loyal following.”

Suraiya Kara, a first-year Mount Royal University student, says although she shops at the mall for basic items, she prefers to buy individual pieces from local designers.

“I find these pieces usually just fit better and … I would rather support a local designer.”

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