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Media Release: VCC Fashion partners with BC Children's Hospital

Posted on September 13, 2019


VANCOUVER – Model Organisms is the talk of the city as Vancouver Community College (VCC) and BC Children’s Hospital present their creative new collection at Vancouver Kids Fashion Week (VKFW) for the SS20 season. Model Organisms is the result of a collaboration between students, alumni, and instructors in VCC's fashion design and production program as well as research scientists in the Healthy Starts theme at BC Children’s Hospital. 

This "Fashion Meets Science" team is passionate about showcasing species such as fruit flies and yeast (called "model organisms") that help us learn about genetics and child development.

“We see the Model Organisms collection as a platform for curiosity, inspiration, and conversation between scientists and the broader community,” says Dr. Michael Kobor, Canada Research Chair in Social Epigenetics, Healthy Starts theme lead at BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, and founder of the Kobor Lab. “Inspiring the next generation of young scientists and bringing the ‘hidden’ side of research into the public eye are huge priorities for Healthy Starts. We are so excited that our scientists have found a creative way to connect research to the communities it benefits. We hope that Fashion Meets Science will show that science can be a lot of fun!”

Finding inspiration from fruit flies and biological research in the Kobor Lab, one VCC fashion student (Lexi Vanderzalm) and several alumni (Brigita Anrevi, Chris Nagy, Nico Gruzling, and Steven Thomas) and instructors (Andrea Korens and Allison Drake) created dresses, t-shirts, leggings, and shorts that embody their expanded understanding of the basic building blocks of molecular biology.  

“Visiting the Kobor Lab was an eye-opening experience. I was particularly drawn to the flies and the work being done with them. I was in awe of the iridescent quality of their wings and how their eyes look like hundreds of little diamonds,” says VCC student Lexi Vanderzalm, who is also an Audrey Raine designer. “It’s been a fun challenge to bring some of these qualities into my design for Fashion Meets Science.”  

The nine boys' and girls' outfits in the Model Organisms collection will inspire scientific curiosity in even the youngest audience member. In addition to the runway show, audience members are invited to explore their inner scientist and learn more about model organisms by visiting the Healthy Starts booth at VKFW.

VKFW has a global reputation for recognizing and celebrating diverse and innovative talent, and proudly creating a platform for local and international children’s wear designers. The SS20 season introduces the seventh official edition of VKFW, highlighting creative designers from around the world.

“Inspiring and educating the next generation in the world of fashion was our goal when we first started Vancouver Kids Fashion Week. It gives them a stage to enter the world of design and explore their creativity and passion,” says Jamal Abdourahman, producer and founder of VKFW. 

By inspiring the scientists of tomorrow and highlighting the importance of model organism research in understanding childrens' health, trainees from the Kobor Lab initiated Fashion Meets Science with VCC Fashion. The Kobor Lab uses the model organisms to study epigenetics – the influence that the environment has on our genes. The Kobor lab has been working closely with VCC Fashion since early 2019 to bring a creative dimension to scientific research and to connect communities that would not normally have the opportunity to work together. 

Fashion Meets Science – Model Organisms Collection Debut
Vancouver Kids Fashion Week SS20   

When: Saturday, Oct. 12 and Sunday, Oct. 13, 11a.m. - 1p.m.
Where: David Lam Hall, 50 East Pender Street, Vancouver, B.C.

About Dr. Michael Kobor

Dr. Kobor is the Healthy Starts Theme Lead at BC Children’s, an Investigator at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, a professor in the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia (UBC), the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Social Epigenetics and the Sunny Hill BC Leadership Chair in Child Development. His research team, which includes UBC graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, provided the inspiration for the clothing line.

About the BC Children's Hospital Research Institute

The BC Children's Hospital Research Institute conducts discovery, translational, and clinical research to benefit the health of children and their families. The Healthy Starts theme is dedicated to keeping children and families healthy and out of the hospital by preventing lifelong health challenges and chronic diseases that are rooted in early childhood. We are supported by BC Children's Hospital Foundation; are part of BC Children’s Hospital and the Provincial Health Services Authority; and work in close partnership with the University of British Columbia. 

Instagram: @koborlab
Twitter: @BCCHResearch | @_HealthyStarts | @koborlab
Facebook: @HealthyStartsBCCHR

About VCC Fashion

Vancouver Community College Fashion programs offer the best value for learning all you need to work in the fashion industry. Our fashion design and production program mimics the real-world fashion industry, combining a fast-paced production process with fundamental skills, industry standard software, and creativity. The fashion merchandising associate certificate prepares students for the business of fashion through hands-on experience and knowledge of fashion fundamentals and theory. Non-credit courses are the place to test the fashion waters and upgrade sewing skills. All programs are taught by instructors that are experienced in both the industry and classroom. Learn from their expertise.

Instagram: @vccfashion
Twitter: @VCCfashion
Facebook: @VCCFashionArts

About Vancouver Kids Fashion Week

Vancouver Fashion Week is entering its 34th season and has become the fastest-growing fashion week, which led to the launching of Vancouver Kids Fashion Week in September 2016. VKFW is a two-day fashion event dedicated to children’s fashion and creativity. The ever-growing talent in youth was the inspiration driving the launch of this new platform, aiming to highlight and leverage kids designers on an international scale. VKFW partners with BC Children’s Hospital Foundation (BCCHF) in an effort to recognize children in need. The event will also include live dance performances and the cutest kid emcees, bringing lots of fun to the runway.

For media accreditation: visit
Instagram: @vankidsfashionweek
Facebook: @vankidsfashionweek


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Medica can contact:

Sarah Murray
Co-Program Coordinator, Recruitment and Industry Relations, Fashion
Vancouver Community College

Tiffany Reeve
Strategic Initiatives Research Manager, Healthy Starts
BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute