Designer Interview: Eco-friendly flora and fauna
We asked our readers to suggest designers to include in our new interview series, and Vancouver based label flora&fauna was nominated quite a few times! Loved for her laid back west coast style and exclusive use of sustainable fabrics, designer Pauline Siu promises to be a Canadian designer to watch.

Paper-Doll: How did you get into fashion design?
Pauline Siu: Having always been a fan of DIY projects, I started designing and making clothes and doing custom alterations to clothing for myself and my friends as a hobby. Itís so much fun! I was going to school at York University, and found myself skipping classes to make clothes. Pretty soon after that, I left York to attend Ryerson for Fashion Design.

What is the first thing you designed?
As a kid, I was obsessed with Japanese paper dolls. I would spend hours and hours drawing and designing new clothes for them. I guess thatís not unlike what I do now!

What inspires you / your work?
My clothing designs are very much inspired by the shapes and colours found in nature and animal wildlife. Each season, I select a few favourite plants and animals as my themes by incorporating graphic artwork into some of the styles. For Spring Summer 2009, I chose squirrels and jellyfish! After a visit to the local wildlife rescue center, I fell in love with the baby squirrels. I am so happy that flora&fauna had the opportunity to sponsor one of the baby squirrels there - his name is Pepper, funded by our squirrel themed designs!

Describe your Spring Summer 09 Collection.
Earthy, sporty, comfy! We use super soft organic and sustainable fabrics, and incorporate functional details such as cute little pockets an shelf bralettes in our designs, making each piece adaptable to all different lifestyles.

What is your favourite piece from your Spring Summer 09 Collection?
I LOVE the Squirrel Tent top! Itís so versatile! It looks super cute with a pair of jeans or simple tights. The girls at Hum Clothing in Vancouver wear it over a white cap sleeve tee-shirt on a cooler day. Itís perfect for the beach, and looks great on all different body types!

What is the most difficult thing about your job?
Sometimes itís difficult to be in many roles at once Ė but I have a few wonderful helpers, and mentors, and 2 snuggly cats.
If you could collaborate with any designer / artist / musician / etc. on a single project, who would it be and what would you do?
Definitely BjŲrk!! I absolutely adore her uninhibited and unique style as a musician, artist, and fashion icon.

What fashion era do you love? Is there one that you don't like?
I love now! There is so many different styles to choose from, and so many eco-friendly and local options!! There isnít really an era that I detest, but I do disagree with trends that promote body mutilation Ė such as rib removal in the Victorian era, or Chinese feet binding. I guess I have a great appreciation for natural bodies and comfort!

Do you have a real or imaginary muse?
I am very much inspired by nature, but I always have friends and family in mind when I am working on a design. Each design has to be good enough for my favourite people to make it into the collection!

What fashion trend would you not be caught dead in?
As much as I love the aesthetics of corsets and high heels, Iíll canít bare to wear anything to restricts my movement. I would never forgive myself if I missed an opportunity to catch a glimpse of one of natureís little miracles because I couldnít get there fast enough.

What is your favourite item in your personal wardrobe?
Rubber boots!! They are a necessity here in rain-city, and I love the freedom of stomping around in muddy puddles and wading in the shallow water at the beach!

Where do you shop for clothes when you're not wearing your own?
I love shopping at artist markets, such as Epic and Portobello West! Itís fun meeting other designers and sometimes trading for each otherís clothes! If I am looking for something Canadian, Iíll head over to Hum or Twigg and Hottie on Main Street. Vincent Park is a great place to go for awesome jeans, or just to admire their beautiful dťcor!
What is on your current fashion wishlist?
I have my eye on the Dzunukíwa halter top by Kulus, itís a hankerchief style halter, and features an image from a Kwakwala folklore. I am also in love with all of Nicole Bridgerís dresses!

What is your favourite thing about the city you live in?
I love Vancouver. The ocean and mountains are so close, and the people here are amazing! There is a very happy and calm vibe in this city. There is so much cultural diversity, and some of the best restaurants!!

What is next for your label?
We are looking forward to adding some menís styles, and collaborating with local artists on some more fabulous artwork!

Visit: flora&fauna website.
Shop: flora&fauna store.
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