Regina designer has found her niche

REGINA — Danine Schlosser loves to design. Fashions. Jewelry. Fascinators. She makes them all.

Schlosser is the creative force behind Regina-based C’est Danine Designs. Over the past eight years, her home-based business has increased significantly as a result of the booming local economy.

“The demand is definitely here,� said the 36-year-old designer. “It’s very exciting.�

“You’ve got to love what you do,� Schlosser insisted. “Or at the end of the day, it’s just becomes a job. It shows, I think, in what I do.�

Schlosser is forever trying something new. When she found herself with bridal gowns and bridesmaids dresses that needed jewelry, she recalled thinking: “How hard could it be to learn how to do it?�

“So, voila, now we do jewelry!� she said. “It’s kind of nice, because sometimes you can’t find co-ordinating things. And it’s kind of fun.�

Her introduction to creating fascinators — a headpiece designed to be attached to the hair in lieu of a hat — happened much the same way.

A certain royal wedding was her inspiration. When Schlosser and her aunt decided to attend a tea at the Hotel Saskatchewan to celebrate the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton, they decided fascinators were a fashion must-have for the event. So they made their own.

Others liked them so much that Schlosser decided to market a line of fascinators. They’re available at several Regina boutiques. And a catalogue showcasing fascinators by C’est Danine Designs — which include everything from small flowers to elaborate feather creations — was recently produced to attract orders from retailers nationally. Prices range from $30 to $150.

“We’ve had lots of good response,� Schlosser said.

“I just love them,� she said. “For me, the bigger the better.�

Schlosser has made a habit of wearing fascinators to church. And when she doesn’t, other parishoners notice, she said. “I have quite a following.�

These days, Schlosser is busy working on designs for her May 10th runway show at Saskatchewan Fashion Week (SFW).

“I’ll have 22 pieces,� she said. “I would have liked to have 25, but they cut me off … I figure if I’m going to be there, I might as well give them bang for their buck.�

“I’m excited!� the bubbly designer exclaimed. “It’s kind of fun when you get to be creative like that.�

Of her 22 SFW designs, five will be wedding gowns. That’s because bridal fashions have become Schlosser’s forte.

Her wedding gowns average $800 to $900. But if there’s extensive bead work, the price could be in the thousands.

Schlosser pulled a photo from her basement design studio bulletin board featuring a wedding gown with an elaborately beaded bodice.

“I did 282 hours of beading on this one,� she said.

How much did she charge? Definitely not enough, Schlosser insisted with a laugh. While the bride was only asked to pay a couple of thousand dollars, the gown was actually worth about $10,000, she said.

“But that’s OK. At the end of the day, you do it for your love (of it),� she said.

Clients generally have very definite ideas of what they want when they commission Schlosser. For example, one woman wanted a wedding dress like one worn by Julia Roberts in the movie Runaway Bride. Another wanted a vibrant red wedding gown. Schlosser’s grad dress designs have included everything from a Wonder Woman dress to a Cinderella-style gown.

“They push the limit. And I love that. Because it makes you create,� she said.

Custom designs provide an opportunity for clients to get exactly what they want, and to watch the process. “To see it start from nothing, to seeing me have the pattern here, to see it in the fitting; you realize what’s involved.�

“It’s all about what they want,� Schlosser said. “It’s their dream, not mine.�

The bond that develops with clients often blossoms, Schlosser said. “They become a friend. It’s great.�

She has designed wedding gowns, then had the client return down the road for a christening gown

Turnaround time for a custom design is about a month — three to four fittings, she estimated. But she’s done them as quickly as one night. “But I don’t like to do that,� Schlosser stressed. “It’s quite a challenge.�

Schlosser is the designer for C’est Danine Designs. She got her fashion training in Montreal, taking a two-year course at the International Academy of Fashion Design and Merchandising.

Schlosser’s mother does the sewing for the label.

“She’s always done that. We’re a pretty good team,� Schlosser said. “She’s self-taught. She’s just always loved to sew.�

Schlosser said she loves working side-by-side with her mom.

“We do everything together. We buy fabric together. We work together,�she said.

Other members of her family also contibute to C’est Danine Designs. For example, Schlosser’s father goes along on fabric-buying trips, often negotiating deals. And her brother provides his graphic design expertise.

For Schlosser, inspiration comes from within. Instead of starting with a design and then finding a suitable fabric, she searches for interesting fabrics that speak to her, then creates.

“For me, it’s all about the fabric … I just like to play with the fabric and let it tell me what it wants to do,� she explained. “I guess I do things differently than most. But it works for me.�

“I like to let the design sort of speak for itself,� Schlosser said. “To me, it’s classic. It’s not necessarily trendy.�

“I love my job,� she repeated. “And now, being part of Saskatchewan Fashion Week is just the icing on the cake for being creative.�

For more information about Schlosser’s designs, visit www.cestdaninedesigns.com or call 352-6430.

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Follow Irene Seiberling on Twitter at @ISeiberling

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