Dominique Ansari made her first debut couture showcase with “Enchanted” at March 2016’s Vancouver Fashion Week. The designer also specializes in ready-to-wear, bridal, swimwear, prom, and pageant gowns, but “Enchanted” shows off her most luxurious side with intricate beading, lace, and prints.
The story behind the collection is “a love triangle between a mistress, a king, and his future bride…The King must decide who will be the bride at the end of the show”.
Below is Ansari’s exclusive Vancouver Fashion Week interview with Metro Living Zine.
How, and When did you get started in fashion?
I was always interested in art, and creative ventures as a young child, so fashion was just another art form of expression that I dived head first into. I really started off by sketching garments for my peers in high school; I used to sketch their prom dresses, and they would get a seamstress to have them made. Even one of my high school teachers had me sketch her wedding gown so she could have it made. I got into modelling when I was 16, was signed by an agency, and modelled for awhile, even during my time in design school. I never really learned how to sew until I went to design school, but I learned it quickly as it came naturally to me.
Do you have a muse?
I guess it just depends on the collection I’m doing. I’m usually inspired by genres/themes/movies/art rather than a person. Once I was inspired by Frida Kahlo, and still use a lot of her influence for my RTW collections. I also really love Georgia O’Keeffe’s art work. My RTW collections are often brightly coloured, and Spanish influenced with lots of fluid movements in the fabric. My Couture Collections are usually 16th/17th Century, and French/English inspired.
What type of music are you listening to right now?
I’m really into Halsey, Ruelle, that type of sound right now.
What part of of the job as a designer do you love? What part do you dislike?
I love the creative process. From choosing the fabrics, doing the detailed work, even though it may take forever, it’s my favourite part. The thing that I hate the most about being a designer is the long hours, and the time away from my family. I have a 2 and a half year old son that I stay at home with during the day. Once my husband is home from work, he is on daddy duty, and then I work from that time until 5 or 6am when I’m working on a couture collection. So definitely the long hours, but sometimes you just gotta keep going until it is finished.
Which three designers inspire you, and why?
I love Alexander McQueen because he was such an innovator in fashion. He raised the bar for other designers, and although there are some really amazing designers out there, I’m not sure anyone will ever be as close to his creative genius. I also really love Elie Saab, and Zuhair Murad. I aspire to make gowns like those one day. The detail is superb in their designs.
What do you love about Vancouver, and what do you dislike about Vancouver?
I love the city of Vancouver. I actually miss it now that I’m gone! There’s so much going on, so much life, and the people are super friendly, and kind. The one thing that bothers me about Vancouver is the amount of homeless people, there is a lot, more than I would think for such a thriving, and rich city.
What words of advice would you give to someone starting off in business that you wish you had been given when you were starting out?
Less is more when it comes to designing a collection, and network as much as you can. My husband, and I moved a lot, so I could never really get settled when I first started my business. This made it hard to keep the networking going because I had to basically start over everywhere I went.
If your house was burning down which three things would you make sure you took out with you?
Of course first making sure my husband, my son, and little dog are safe. I’d probably grab my two external hard drives, one basically has my whole life on it, and the other one is just a copy in case that breaks. Probably my folder of all my important documents, like passports, birth certificates, etc. Just practical stuff, all my fashion stuff would be too heavy, and not nearly as important as the other stuff.
Do your parents approve of you being a designer?
Most definitely. They have never tried to persuade me out of my career choices. They knew pretty much when I was very young that I would enter into a creative field.
If you were not a fashion designer, what other job would you like to be doing?
I’d probably want to do photography full time. I shoot most of my own look books now. I learned a bit about photography from school, and just working with photographers throughout my years as a designer, so it would have been my other career choice. I enjoy doing it as a hobby, and as a way to present my look books to clients. I definitely would choose fashion over photography right now, but I have a love for both.
What is the one fashion trend you wish had never happened?
I’m not really into Harem pants, a.k.a. M.C. Hammer Pants, lol. I think only a certain kind of person can get away with wearing those.
Dominique Ansari Runway Video
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