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Designer Profile: Jordan Stewart, RVNG Couture

Canadian fashion designer Jordan Stewart grabs attention on the real-life runway, or a virtual catwalk

by CHRISTIAN DARE

THE PAST FEW MONTHS have been surreal for many of us; our realities have been turned upside down due to a global pandemic. Faced with so much uncertainty, many of us have turned inward and self-reflected while sheltering at home. We have discovered new hobbies and passions. While others have continued to dream and create a new future. Those dreamers (artists, visionaries, designers) provide us with the optimism we all need right now. Enter fashion and RVNG Couture.

RVNG, founded and designed by Jordan Stewart, first made waves on the Canadian fashion scene just over a year ago with a debut collection at Toronto Fashion Week. The collection was the perfect combination of sophisticated ready-to-wear pieces and glamourous special occasion dresses for the modern woman. I mean who doesn’t need a statement patent leather trench coat in powder pink? Or a slick business suit that can easily go from the boardroom to the ballroom? If the response to the collection was any indication, the answer was everyone wanted (and needed) a little RVNG in their wardrobes.

I always feel as though they have brought me with them in my gown. I feel a great sense of pride when a celebrity, or any person looks fabulous in their moments on the red carpet. I am proud of their accomplishments and feel lucky to join them.”

-Jordan Stewart, RVNG Couture

The follow up collection for Fall/Winter 2020 was even stronger; RVNG upped the ante on sophisticated power dressing for the modern woman and threw in some fairytale elegance to the mix. Suits were fashioned in luxe velvets in an array of jewel tones, while the gowns took on retro seventies glam. It was sophisticated chic.

After only two collections, the brand had shown it knew how to design and dress the modern woman, and that it was here to stay. But all that certainty and confidence was thrown into disarray when the global pandemic hit. COVID19 upended and changed many industries around the globe and the blows to the fashion industry seemed insurmountable. Many designers faced declining sales, unpaid wholesale orders, and cancelled runway shows. Many even had to shutter their doors for good. But that wasn’t an option for Jordan Stewart and RVNG. She was a fighter and so was her brand. She was ready to rise from crises with optimism and a hint of glamour.

You see, Stewart had been planning a New York Fashion Week debut for RVNG for more than a year (and as she freely admitted to us, NYFW had been a life-long dream). And she was ready to work, pivot and redesign the concept to make it work. The pay-off from showing at New York Fashion Week would be huge for any designer, and Stewart wasn’t about to let this opportunity pass her by.

Luckily enough, the teams at NYFW already had the wheels in motion to create a virtual fashion week that could be seen the world over.

RVNG made its NYFW debut this past September (slotted in right after Jason Wu) to rave reviews from around the globe. “Showing NYFW virtually felt very exciting, thrilling! It was incredible to have a flood of international messages from all over the world just following the production. I really felt amazed at the global reach,” says Stewart.

The SS21 collection was all about reverie; getting lost in a beautiful dream. It embraces the optimism we all need right now and does so with luxurious fabrics and finishes. When asked to describe the inspiration in her own words, Stewart offers, “I wanted to inspire an optimistic view of the future in such uncertain times. The dream collection was an array of soft hues and gentle fabrics.”

In tune with this theme of idealism, the collection employs an array of sorbet colours that cover the spectrum of the rainbow, from soft peaches to bright yellows. Further, Stewart obtained a delicate balance between sharp, modern angles and whimsical silhouettes to exude a sense of confidence. The collection is a delicious dream-like fantasy. There was even a touch of Hollywood magic to RVNG’s SS21 runway presentation via actor Laura Vandervoort. The Canadian actor had been a longtime fan of RVNG and was thrilled to open the SS21 collection by walking the runway.

“The collaboration of two female Canadian entrepreneurs just felt natural, being in fashion and film are two worlds that tend to run parallel… I had a lot of fun working with Laura,” says Stewart.

RVNG is no stranger to Hollywood celebrity, such notables as Alessia Cara, Keshia Chante, Jessi Cruickshank, Liz Trinnear, and of course Laura Vandervoort have worn the brand. It has also walked down red carpets around the world, including the Golden Globes and the Emmys. But Stewart thinks everyone should feel like a star in her dresses, and she is happy to be on that red carpet (or at that special event) with them.

“I always feel as though they have brought me with them in my gown. I feel a great sense of pride when a celebrity, or any person looks fabulous in their moments on the red carpet. I am proud of their
accomplishments and feel lucky to join them.”

So, what’s next for fashion and RVNG you might ask? We asked Stewart to find out, “Fashion and the arts will always have a place in our society, we will always be ever changing and adapting to the social and political climates. There will be adaptations to fabrics and sales approaches over the decades but ultimately we will always find a way to express ourselves.”

And yes, you will find Stewart and RVNG showing at the next New York Fashion Week in February. Her FW21 collection runway debut will happen in New York (virtually or IRL), you can bet on it.

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