Building a Brand … Suka Style

Alisha Schick ~ Suka Clothing – With Marni Walker ~YEGfashionista

You know it’s pretty cool beans when you get to watch your protege create a viable brand, contribute to the design community locally, become well respected for her accomplishments and step into her power.  Alisha Schick was my student at MC College in 2000, earning her fashion diploma in 2001 at the tender age of 17 years. She came into the program with mad creative skills, a natural talent for illustration, and limited sewing experience.  And Allie had something else, one of the most tenacious spirits I have ever known. She was determined to do it right, and didn’t give up until she got it that way!

That drive has taken her far from her roots growing up in Devon. Owner and Creative Director of Suka Clothing, Schick has also been Lead Fashion Instructor at MC College Edmonton for the past 10 years. She continues to play an important role in the growth of Edmonton’s Fashion Industry, and was recognized at Spring 2019 WCFW for years of networking and collaboration with an Industry Contribution award.

Her teaching experiences also allow her to mentor and build community with students and peers who share her passion. Some of her past students include Sid Neigum, who was a recipient of the Toronto Fashion Incubator New Labels award, and Nicole Campre, a recent finalist in the Mercedes Benz start up competition. Some of Alisha’s other experiences have included fashion illustration for Manulife Place as well as Blue Skies Sportswear and LUXX Ready to Wear, styling for local publications such as Parlour, and Georgie magazine, and retail buying and merchandising for local independent boutiques.  She often participates as a featured Designer at WCFW, in fact she participated in their very first show in 2009. And she has showcased several times at PARK, which hosts events promoting creative talent and redefining culture.

Showcasing the new Suka collection at PARKSHOW in Calgary May 24-25, 2019

Her design direction has certainly been shaped by her straight up personality and social experiences along the way. Strong influences included a mixture of rave, hip-hop and pop culture, building a local community by helping run events & styling shoots, and doing illustration work or buying for media events & festivals. Schick made many connections, and helped other designers connect too – in the early 2000’s before the dawn of social media. 

The list of her accomplishments is impressive: • Featured in Fashion Magazine, Avenue Edmonton, Georgie Magazine & Alberta Venture. • Showcased in The Park Show in Edmonton & Calgary • Showcased at Western Canada Fashion Week (WCFW) • Competed in the 2012 Mercedes Benz start up competition • Industry Recognition Award, WCFW 2019

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Suka Clothing’s 2019 collection “Our Friends Our Electric” draws inspiration from pop culture and rock icons like David Bowie & Debbie Harry

Suka Clothing is a lifestyle brand inspired by the collaboration of art, music and high fashion. Alisha creates comfortable, detail oriented designs with a focus on wearability.  Bold, street inspired looks are balanced with feminine silhouettes and simplicity. She has been designing and manufacturing for over a decade, selling her creations in local boutiques (Bamboo Ballroom) and through her online Suka Clothing store. 

Her brand new collection has been out for a few months now, receiving rave reviews.  So to get ramped up for her next showcase at Fall 2019 WCFW, I asked Alisha to answer the “Top 5 questions about Suka still unknown” for us 😉

Muse: What was your inspiration for “Our Friends are Electric” collection?

Suka: I’d say “Kitschy” rock, icons like Ziggy Stardust, Rocky Horror, glam rock and teddy boy vintage 

Muse: Please explain the origin & your choice of the name “Suka” (which is widely used as a synonym for that term meaning … um, a female dog) 

Suka: Well really it just became an attitude for the line … after a spelling mistake on a word caption, I thought the word seemed Japanese (which worked with my aesthetic at the time). Later I learned the word had  numerous meanings in other cultures. Which is where the attitude of my brand really kicked in!

Muse: Tell me what was it like to show at PARK this spring? (& expand on how your relationship with park evolved).

Suka: I really dove into the PARK events, not knowing who or what caliber of platform I was dealing with. The network of designers, photographers, volunteers and models has really become a family.  And PARK is a platform that has allowed me to gain confidence to become a really polished brand. The unique relationships and the ongoing challenges push all of the designers to do more, and it’s a healthy competition. 

Muse: What are your plans for the brand in the near future?

Suka: I’m getting ready for a showcase at WCFW on September 20, with LUXX Ready to Wear. We’ve been doing Fashion Week together for awhile, and we always have a blast so I’m looking forward to that.  Also there will be fall pop ups and a launch event at Bamboo Ballroom. Stay tuned to my Instagram! 

Muse: Collaborations. Whom have you worked with & how? Also going forward who would you most like to collaborate with?

Suka: Collaboration is a key force of the brand from clients to bands and artists. My most influential collaborations include:  Bamboo Ballroom, Foosh, House of Sew, Mode Models, Chvrch of John & Right Hand Tattoos. As for the future, obviously to collaborate with a big brand would be a dream come true or highlight for me.  The Suka Clothing brand is an extension of my experiences, and we have a mandate that truly expresses this. My mantra – Inspire and be inspired!

Photos by: 

  • Rick Halbert @clicker4_u
  • Semi Vujcic @my.name.is.semi 
  • Ashley Champagne @ashleychampagne.photo
  • Alisha Schick @sukaclothing
  • Marni Walker @yeg_fashionista