The road to success for these Canuck designers is uniquely theirs, but one thing that remains unanimous – their love of Canada’s diverse culture.
Alfred Sung “I get a feeling of accomplishment when I design a gown that makes a woman feel as beautiful as she is,” says Alfred Sung, arguably one of Canada’s premier designers.
Mr. Sung started his trademark business, Alfred Sung, in 1979, with his two business partners, Saul and Joseph Mimran. Today, the Alfred Sung trademark has gained fame in North America for fashion, (ready-wear and bridal), fragrance and home decor.
What makes him feel Canadian? Being part of the diversity and excitement of his hometown – Toronto. “Travelling for inspiration and seeing new and exciting places is important for any designer, but there’s still no place like home,” he says.
Ines Di Santo Ines Di Santo has come a long way since 1984; as an immigrant to Canada she faced the challenges of a new language and new customs. But with her continued work and passion for couture quality, Ms. Di Santo has become an international success. Her vision now is to design for the stars.
What makes her feel Canadian? “I have a huge appreciation and admiration for different cultures and people,” she says. “In Canada, there’s so much diversity, it’s inspirational. It’s exciting to be able to design gowns that showcase the uniqueness of each bride.”
Veronica Di Santo Veronica Di Santo,following in her mother’s footsteps as a designer, continues to focus on perfectionism in couture bridal wear.
What makes her feel Canadian? As a world traveler, Veronica believes, “Canadians are the most gentle and polite bunch of people. They always say, ‘Thank you’, which is a stark contrast to many other locales I have been, where it’s rarely said.”
Adele Wechsler Adele Wechsler arrived in Canada in 1993 from Durban, Africa, not knowing anything about the Canadian fashion industry, but willing to take a chance and think out-side-the-box.
“Whatever you do, you should do it with passion, commitment and conviction,” she says. That’s what she did, and it’s why she's now an established international designer, with a vision of being a pioneer in Eco-Couture Bridal.
What makes her feel Canadian? “I see Canada as a nation that values the rights and liberties of all. This is what I hold most dear and truly makes me feel proud to be Canadian.”
Nina Duong Nina Duong started her business in 2001 and says the hardest challenge in the fashion industry is establishing a brand name.
“Being a fashion designer is my journey in life; it’s not whether I become rich or famous or just make a living, it’s who I am deep inside.”
Today, Ms. Duong is renowned internationally, with a focus to expand her product line to include shoes and accessories.
What makes her feel Canadian? “Having lived in many different countries, I know from experience that Canada is truly the land of opportunities – out there for the taking.”
Melissa Gentile Melissa Gentile, a newcomer to the bridal industry, launched her first collection in 2005 after frantically searching for a wedding dress with no luck. She started her business from her home and now, “It’s getting very crowded in my workshop,” she says. Her flagship store is scheduled to open later this year in Quebec.
What makes her feel Canadian? “The acceptance I get from people around me. This country really has a diversity of cultures that blend together and inspire me,” she says. “I can’t see myself living anywhere else in the world; even if our winters are really harsh.”
(c) Copyright 2009, The Ring Bearer Ltd., All Rights Reserved. No material within the web pages of theringbearer.ca may be duplicated in any way without express written consent by authorized management of The Ring Bearer Ltd.