By: Hafsa Sakhi

As the warm weather approaches, Patricia Lynn Bebee of Blackbird Studios is busy preparing her James Street North store for a new line of spring/summer fashion.

Their aesthetic is feminine with a bit of edginess, specializing in dresses, all of which are printed and hand-sewn. The women’s clothing store and fashion label has been running for nine years. Business partners Patricia Lynn Bebee and Kerry Wade are currently gearing up to showcase their new spring line at the Glamour in the Hammer fashion show on May 5.

The new line for the spring season, Bebee noted that the design team emphasizes new fabrics and patterns.

“In terms of the style lines,  [the dresses] don’t change much. Once we've got a great style and a great fit, it's really the fabrication that changes,” Bebee says.

When preparing for a new line, what becomes important is not only paying attention to what the new trends are, but also allowing one’s creativity and the originality to shine through.

A beautiful dress inspired by Frida Kahlo is a notable standout in the collection.

“Kerry and I are madly in love with [Frida] to begin with, so she's [been] a muse from the beginning... we knew she had a garden for example, so then we created fabric prints that were floral… there's always an idea behind it,” explained Bebee.

From there, the two designers decide the colors and fabrics, cultivating different dresses along a similar theme, resulting in a full collection.

To prepare for this spring’s collection, the two designers chose a theme before Christmas.

“We're so ahead of the seasons in fashion [that] we've already chosen colors [and fabrics]... [we look] at the different things like length changes as well, what's happening in the season… [maxis will be] really big this year so we want to make sure that's addressed," said Bebee.

This season Blackbird Studios will be moving away from their traditionally darker colour choices and instead opt for floral patterns and the vibrant and light colours of summer sunsets, which will be increasingly popular this year.

“Kerry and I, we've always sort of had a real edge about our clothing but this is the first collection that we'll be putting out in sort of the ice cream colours… [all the] mint greens and soft pinks.”

Their new couture collection for the upcoming fashion show features hand beaded and hand printed gala gowns. Afterwards, the one-of-a-kind pieces become duplicated, and made easier to wear so that they may be showcased in-store.

Coming out with a new collection does not stop at dresses. Blackbird also focuses on adding new accessories like wallets and bags, which also reflect the pastel colors and floral patterns popular for spring 2017.

As the Blackbird business expands their production, Bebee notes that the frightening part is still planning future designs while managing other aspects of their store and label. However, with these two designers at the forefront of Blackbird Studios, inspiration, as Bebee states, can come from anywhere.

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