The shOws: 5 Questions with Bellavance designers Ava and Nolan

At just 23 and 27 year old respectively, Ama Hama and Nolan Bellavance are a fashion force to be reckoned with. The co-designers and BFFs met at a Parsons transfers orientation, where Nolan saw Ava's shoes and decided to sit next to her.

The rest, as they say, is fashion history, with Bellavance designs being donned by supermodel Karolina Karkova and paraded down New York Fashion Week runways. And while the Spring/Summer 2014 line may only be Ama and Nolan's second collection — and their first showing at Toronto's shOws -- their meteoric rise through the fashion ranks is undeniable.

Talented, successful and under 30? Yeah, we're cool with that.

We asked the young designers the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and WHY of their collection and future plans. See their answers below!


1. WHAT was your inspiration for the spring/summer 2014 collection?
With duality as a jumping off point from Fall 2013, we went into Spring 2014 with the idea of trios, or more specifically, the relationship between three sisters. We are lucky enough to know three such inspiring women, and seeing this dynamic relationship first hand provided the foundation for both designing and merchandising the collection. 

Within the framework of foundations, we were struck by the presence of scaffolding coverings around the city, particularly the interplay between control and release as it relates to the rigidity of a structure and the fluidity of its paneled coverings. Memphis artist Ettore Sottsass and Claire McCardell’s roots in American Sportswear further inspired us. Their energetic use of motif, specifically the stripe, became a main focus in surface design, texture, and construction. 

The convergence of these influences allowed us to inject a playfulness into the collection that feels fresh and light. This idea of foundations, both familial in a metaphorical sense and structural in a representational sense, defines Spring/Summer 2014.

2. WHY do you love showing in Toronto and the energy at the shOws?
This is our first outing in Toronto! It's kind of a new ball game for us because it's our first runway presentation ever! We are so excited, the entire team has been incredible, so I can only imagine that energy is going to be present on Wednesday.

3. WHEN people see the collection what do you hope they’ll take away from it?
We kind of strive to create collections that can be interpreted any way the viewer wants to, it's why we like to incorporate a lot of different reference points to come up with something unique, but we always want the customer to feel that they're left desiring something they have seen.

4. WHO is the “BELLAVANCE” woman and what is she doing on a Saturday afternoon in Toronto?
The woman we design for is cross generational, cross cultural, cross everything. We want the clothes to be democratic; a 75-year-old customer and a 19-year-old customer should feel equally compelled to buy the clothes. As for what she's doing, we hope she's enjoying herself!

5. WHERE do you see yourselves and your brand in five years?
Accessories. We are starting to partner up with some people for next season to do some shoes, but we want to really develop the line to include a wider range of things to offer.

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