This past weekend I was in a fashion show modeling FIRMA Energywear – an athletic and lifestyle clothing line. I had a lot of fun on the cat walk wearing some of their clothing. The fashion show was held at the Vancouver Wellness Show and I had the opportunity to do a Q and A interview with Yvonne Hogenes, fashion designer and owner of Malary’s Fashion Network in B.C.

Q: When did you launch your FIRMA Energy line?  
A: I launched our FIRMA Energywear collection in the spring of 2012, so it has been 3 years already!

Q: Who is your clothing for and how is it different? 
A: Our FIRMA Energywear apparel is really for all ages and all lifestyles! Our collection has many body layering pieces like leggings, capris, bra, sports tank tops and shape wear but also expands into compression bands and compression socks. All of our pieces are made from our Smart technology fabric that has active bio-crystals embedded in the fibers that cannot be washed or worn out – it is part of the DNA of the fabric! This unique fabric offers all of our customers Far Infrared therapy just by wearing the garments! The body heat is absorbed by the active bio-crystals in the fabric and then is re emitted back to the wearer as Far Infrared rays which offers many health benefits, such as increased circulation, reduced muscle fatigue and joint pain, reduced appearance of cellulite and increased thermoregulation! It is also so breathable, holds no moisture or bacteria so it is very dry and odor free!
Q: Tell us about this weekend’s fashion show. 
A: We were able to feature our FIRMA Energywear fashions on the Fitness Demo Stage at the Vancouver Wellness Show this past weekend! It was an educational fashion feature, so we had our models move among the audience as I spoke about the pieces they were wearing and the unique qualities and functions of each one. Then we moved into our second segment of the fashion show were we demonstrated how to wear our FIRMA Energywear as fashion for travel, work, play and more. Our tag line is: FIRMA Energywear is Where Health Meets Fashion – Fashionable Healing!
Q: What inspired you to be a fashion designer? 
A: I have loved fabrics and colors since I was very young! I was also taught to sew as a child by my mother who was a very fine tailor. I loved to create my own wardrobe for each new year in high school and always dreamed of helping to dress others by educating them about local designers, new fabrics and the style most suited to them. Guess what, my dream has come true and I am so happy and enjoying every moment along the way!
Q: What other projects are you involved in?
A: There are two community and global projects I am involved with that give me great joy and satisfaction. I serve on the Board of Servants Anonymous Society of Surrey – . We provide homes and schools for young women that are working each day to escape addiction and human trafficking in our community. Our homes are offered to the girls for as long as 7 years, which makes us very unique to other programs. We truly work to restore and reintegrate these young women into society as women with great value!

This past December I opened and launched a second-hand chic boutique called Inn for Women just across the street from my boutique in Cloverdale, BC. The store is run by volunteers and all the clothing is donated so all of our proceeds go to support our homes and school and we can also help to mentor the young women when they are ready to start to work. I love this social enterprise and all the amazing women volunteers and donors we have met already!

The other project I have been involved with for the past 5 years is called Cancer de Mama Days in LaPenita, MX. We donate many of our bras to them each year to help over 500 Mexican women who are breast cancer survivors come for a weekend in Feb to be treated like a princess and so we fit them in bras, give them prosthetics, wigs, makeup , hats, clothing, food, and education about their health. They leave with the biggest smiles on their faces and so do we! I am now able to donate bras to a group of women in Cuba each year as well. These projects are what truly “fuel my tank”!

Christine Blanchette is an avid runner, lifestyle writer and host of her own television show – Run With It and YouTube – runwithitcb1 Photography for this piece is by Kuna Lu |

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