Credit: Courtesy Oscar de la Renta

The Granville Online ecofashion challenge is back! Last time we had so much fun re-creating a Nicole Miller runway look that we just have to do it again.



With the sun getting more inclined to show its face, we set our sights on a fresh spring ensemble. The participants this time include a fashion magazine editor, a local designer, a makeup artist, an art director and Granville Online's ecofashion editor.

As you'll see, there are great alternatives to spending big bucks to stay ahead of the trends. And sometimes the place to check first could be your very own closet!

The challenge:

To reinvent, according to our individual styles, an upscale designer look with either locally designed pieces or items available in vintage and consignment stores.

The inspiration:

(Pictured above) My eyes popped when I came across this gorgeous ensemble from the Oscar de la Renta spring 2009 ready-to-wear collection. The tailored fit of the jacket is beautifully complemented by the flared skirt, which infuses an element of flirty charm to the polished look. Just a great, "effortless chic" look for spring. But there's a slight issue: the jacket, corset belt, silk skirt and leather pump retail for a whopping US$4,065.

The look book:


Alison's look

Miranda's look

Mary's look

Sandy's look

Davinia's look


Click on any image above to see details about the outfit, including shop info and prices.


Alison Hartford, fashion designer


Alison's look

Alison's Jacket

Alison's skirt and cami Alison's look is the result of creative improvisation and hands-on customization: she dyed the shoes herself (from white to black) for the more sophisticated look she wanted.

What are her thoughts on the challenge? "It was really fun, and basically the way I shop all the time. Finding a short-sleeved jacket like in the picture was really hard. I didn't like the evening shoes the outfit was styled with in the picture, so I stuck with black and silver, but went with a more funky, daytime look."

The Jacket: Wool jacket with puffed sleeves. Value Village, 1820 E. Hastings Street, $6.99

The Skirt: Cotton print skirt from a yard sale in East Vancouver, $2

The Camisole: Silk camisole with lace neckline. MCC Thrift Store, Fraser St. at 43rd, $1.50

The Necklace: Necklace with white stones. Value Village, 7350 Edmonds Street, Burnaby, $2.99

The Shoes: Wedges originally from Nine West. Value Village, Burnaby, $5.99.

The Bag: Vintage leather book bag borrowed from Alison's husband, who found it for free.

About Alison: Alison is a Vancouver fashion designer who makes clothes by day and dreams about them by night. Many of you may be familiar with her work, as she is the designer for the Manuel Mendoza bridal collection. Alison has been a thrift-store shopper since she was a kid and likes nothing better than a cheap find that can pull off a high-fashion look. Check out her blog here.


Miranda Sam, fashion magazine editor


Miranda's look

Miranda found everything at Tiger Tiger Vintage at 2471 E. Hastings Street in Vancouver. I love the light and breezy colour combination she has chosen. Her take on this ecofashion scavenger hunt? A resounding "super fun!"

The Jacket: $40

The Dress: Blue cotton dress with horizontal stripes, $28

The Belt: Ricki's, $14

The Bag: Woven straw bag, $20

The Necklace: $18

The Shoes: Pumps by Enzo, $32

About Miranda: Miranda Sam is the editor of Style by Fire, Vancouver's online fashion retail magazine. Her shopping philosophy is to buy cheap n chic, but will occasionally splurge on "necessities" like YSL black lip gloss.  [pagebreak]

Mary Little, makeup artist


Mary's look

Mary's jacket and shoes

Mary's purseMary assembled her interpretation of the designer look at True Value Vintage, 710 Robson Street, Vancouver. This is a funky store brimming with cool retro finds, definitely a welcome break from the big-box retail chains that Robson Street is primarily known for.


The Jacket: Susie's Casuals tweed jacket, $36

The Skirt: Pink pleated floral skirt, homemade, $28

The Purse: Woven hangbag, $28

The Shoes: Vintage French Room suede-and-leather pump. $29

About Mary: Mary currently works in human resources, but has a makeup artistry diploma from Blanche MacDonald. Her passion includes makeup, fashion, music, travelling, making jewelry and being crafty in any way possible. She credits much of her creative inspiration to her "amazing group of talented friends." [pagebreak]

Sandy Jakkavanrangsri, art director


Sandy's look Sandy_top-3.jpg


I tagged along with my friend Sandy when she was doing the challenge, and it turned out to be an interesting "non-shopping" trip of sorts.

Not too many things were striking our fancy that day. A couple of times I would suggest an item and Sandy would say, "Yeah, but I'm pretty sure I have something at home that'd work better." After a while, she turned and asked, "I bet if I root through my closet I'd be able to re-create the outfit. Is that cheating? Can I do that?"

I thought, why not? It serves as a great example that we don't always have to rush out to buy new things for the latest look. In Sandy's case, when she took the time to check her closet, she was able to put to good use pieces that she hadn't worn in a couple of years.

We did end up finding a black belt at Madison on Main that is simple and versatile, with a scrunched/textured look that makes it stand out. It costs $12 and provides a nice finishing touch to her final look.


It's no secret that accessories are our friend when it comes to achieving eco-conscious style. Whether they be belts, scarves, necklaces, bangles or earrings, you can count on them to spruce up, tone down or (with a really great piece) even create an outfit: a quick and affordable way to freshen up a look without having to spring for new clothes.

About Sandy: Sandy's first love of art direction and design goes hand in hand with her keen eye for fashion. Much of her work is heavily inspired by patterns and colours from a wide range of fashion designers. [pagebreak]

Davinia Yip, Granville Online ecofashion editor


Davinia's look

Davinia's jacket

Davinia's purse

I may have taken a bit more liberty with the re-creation. The reason is I instantly latched on to the jacket when I saw it. The colour, the wide-V scoop neckline, and the slight accent with the satin ribbon trim were just irresistible to me. Made of brushed cotton, it has a smooth, rich, almost suede-like texture. It didn't quite work with a belt though, so I went without one.

The Jacket: Double-breasted, brushed cotton jacket with satin ribbon trim. Front & Company, 3772 Main Street, $48

The Skirt: Cotton skirt from H&M, brand new with original sales tag attached. Front & Company, $24

The Camisole: One of my closet staples. The lace along the top comes in handy when you just need a touch of detail.

The Shoes: Simple classic black pumps that I've had for years.

The Clutch: I got this from a friend a couple of years ago. She never did manage to use it because she couldn't cram in all of her makeup and gadgets. I was there to reap the benefit of her impulse buy.