Vancouver Fashion Week showcases Newfoundland designer’s work

Tucker Ellis has been creating things their entire life and recently got the chance to bring those creations to the grand stage.

Emily Lyver

Editor’s Note: Tucker Ellis identifies as gender non-binary and prefers to be referred to with gender-neutral pronouns.

Last week, 28-year-old Tucker Ellis represented Newfoundland in their fashion debut at Vancouver Fashion Week , and says they’re eager to get on the catwalk again.

Ellis, who is originally from Bishop’s Falls, is a 2017 graduate of the textiles (craft and apparel design) program at College of the North Atlantic in St. John’s. About two months ago, the Vancouver Fashion Week opened invitations to colleges with apparel design programs. The programs were asked to submit one student who had graduated within the past three years to represent them at the show.

And what was Ellis’s reaction to being chosen?

“Very nervous,” Ellis admitted. “I wanted to throw up a little bit, but mostly I just dove straight into the work.”

Thankfully, Ellis didn’t have to start the line from scratch.

“I was going to show (my work) at the year-end fashion show at the college,” Ellis said. “The graduates have a show as like their final exam, basically. And they wanted me to come back as a graduate and show another line. So, I was already working on stuff, thank God.”

Ellis also spoke about where the inspiration behind the looks they created came from.

Tucker Ellis says participating in Vancouver Fashion Week was an amazing opportunity. Ellis would love to go back and showcase more. Arthur Green/Kicker

“I mostly do cosplay,” they said. “So, if I was gonna do a line, it was gonna just be a branch off of that. So they’re very costume-y pieces.”

Ellis also says they started reading the novel Dune around the time that they started working on the designs, and it inspired them to go for a more “futuristic wasteland aesthetic.”

Barry Buckle, one of the instructors for the program who has been in the fashion industry for 30 years and accompanied Ellis to the show, says Ellis’s “uniqueness and style” immediately made them stand out.

“Tucker has a very edgy design style and a very unique way of approaching designs,” he said. “So yeah (they) got all the basics from me, but Tucker also had a very interesting way of how to approach (design), which was very interesting for me to see and to experience.”

Ellis says that they have always had a love for design, especially in costume creation but couldn’t pin its manifestation to a singular moment.

“My whole life, as long as I can remember, I’ve just made stuff,” they said. “I don’t remember that starting in my life; I just know it always was there.”

Ellis also says they love design because clothes are an art form that is attainable for most everyone.

“It’s where everyone gets to kind of decide how they present themselves. And you have freedom within that. I just like to make it a little weirder,” Ellis said, laughing.

On the third day of shows (March 21), models strutted Ellis’s creations into the spotlight and down the Vancouver Fashion Week runway in front of about 700 people from around the world.

“(It was) a bit of a blur,” Ellis recalled. “But, it was really exciting . . . Everyone received them really well; everyone seemed to really like them.”

Ellis says the experience was incredible, and they feel there’s plenty on the horizon for them.

“I’m gonna actually try to make my business officially,” they said, regarding the future. “And I’d like to continue on with the fashion road, honestly. This has been a great experience, and I think I want to keep going.”

You can see Ellis’s designs from VFW in the video below, or check out more of their work at

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