There's a reason they say two heads are better than one. It spurs collaboration, open feedback and the ability to foster uninhibited brainstorming. Whiskey Teacup is a unique local brand utilizing this model, partnership. The duo consists of Sharlyn VandenBroek from Brooks, AB and Laura Crossman from just outside of Saskatoon who met as interns in the visual department of Holt Renfrew in Vancouver. The two have similar backgrounds with similar interests, Laura studied Fashion Merchandising at the Vancouver Community College and Sharlyn studied fashion Design at the Art Institute of Vancouver. They've always dreamed of starting a project together and it wasn't until they were working side by side dressing mannequins and creating window displays for TOPSHOP they decided to actually make a go of it.

They developed their first line of clothing within a month, dubbing it "Whiskey Teacup", a name which was inspired by the Tom Waits lyric "she's whiskey in a teacup".  And like Waits, the line of clothing doesn't play by the conventional rules of fashion and pushes the boundaries to be one of a kind.  

The first spring/summer collection is inspired by unconventional fabrics and the ability to shape the materials into one of a kind garments. The designs play off both sides of the spectrum with light, airy pieces contrasted against structured garments using diverse fabrics such as plastic. Whiskey Teacup leaves no wasted materials by using scraps for accessories.

Around eight months after the initial creation of the brand, Laura made the decision to move back to Saskatoon. Although this could have been the end of Whiskey Teacup, the decision strengthened the duo and now they are able to build the brand in both fashion communities. 

This will be the very first fashion festival Whiskey Teacup will be part of in Saskatchewan! The SFDF team is very excited to share with the Saskatoon community this edgy fashion forward brand. Continue reading below to learn more about this fresh hip fashion duo.

Why did you decide to become a fashion designer?

Being a fashion designer was something I'd thought a lot about ever since I was a kid.  My grandma was a seamstress so I used to sew with her all the time.  I have always enjoyed making my own clothes but wasn't sure it would grow into anything more.  So when I was living in Vancouver and my friend, Sharlyn VandenBroek, suggested we start a line together I jumped at the opportunity.  Now that we've been working on Whiskey Teacup for the past couple years I can't imagine doing anything else.  

It's not common to see a design team, what makes it work for you two?

Shar and I both excel in different areas which creates a nice balance.  We also have great communication which is key for long distance business partners.  But I think the thing that really works for us is that we click so well together and seem to always be on the same page.  We're both so enthusiastic when we brainstorm which I think is a great motivator. 

What is your favourite part about being a fashion designer?

I love having the ability to be creative and experiment with clothing.  I also love collaborating with other people and being part of some really amazing projects.  

What was the first item you ever sewed?

That's a tough question.  I remember sewing with my grandma on a miniature sewing machine when I was around six years old.  So it was likely doll clothes.  

Who is your favourite fashion designer, why?

I love Phoebe Philo from Celine.  I admire her minimalist aesthetic and strong silhouettes.  

What are your inspirations around your designs?

I often feel inspired by interesting fabrics.  A lot of the time an idea really evolves as I'm shopping around for fabrics.  I get a lot of ideas from art, music, blogs, street style, ect.  But I feel most inspired when Shar and I are brainstorming and bouncing ideas off each other.  There's a strong collaborative process behind our designs.  

Where do you source your materials and fabrics?

I buy some material online but prefer to buy it in Saskatoon if I can find what I need.  Since Shar is based out of Vancouver she has a little more selection and sometimes sends me fabric.  

What are your favorite trends right now?

Right now I love anything 1970's inspired.  Also, lots of denim and simple, classic pieces. 

What are you most excited about during the Saskatoon Fashion & Design Festival?

This is our first fashion show in Saskatoon.  I feel really lucky that the first time we showcase our line in Saskatoon we are part of the Fashion & Design Festival!  I'm also looking forward to meeting lots of people and checking out other designs.  

What are your plans for the future?

We plan to grow our brand by taking part in as many fashion events and opportunities as possible.  We will continue to work hard by doing what we love and see where it takes us.  

What are 3 words you would use to describe your designs?

innovative, edgy, modern

Written By: Nicole Romanoff