Spotlight on Our Graduates

Valérie Dumaine

Name: Valérie Dumaine 

Titre: Owner and designer 

Company: Valérie Dumaine

Study Program: DEC in Fashion Design

Degree obtained in: 2004



What is the story behind your brand and how would you describe it?

I always knew I was going to have my own brand. When I graduated from the International School of Fashion, Arts and Design of LaSalle College in 1997, I thought it was wise to gain as much experience as possible before going into business. So I spent about six years in the fashion industry and then took a business start-up course at SAJE Montréal.

My first collection was launched in the spring of 2004. I would describe my line as both minimalist and elegant, timeless and accessible.

What is your creative process?

Let's say that it is “spur of the moment” in the sense that I quickly move from research to experimentation when I develop my collections. I first go to my fabric suppliers to see what is available and let myself be inspired. Sometimes I have an artistic direction in mind as a result of something I've seen; it could be a film, a music video or just people in the street. I then make very quick sketches and go straight to the pattern making, because my inspirations often come from making my samples, playing with the fabrics. In many cases, “accidents” indicate how the design should evolve.

What has inspired your latest collection?

This latest collection has been made very differently from the previous ones, as it is 50% repeat business from the best-sellers of the last few years. As I was moving to Toronto, I was going to skip a season for the first time in 16 years. It was impossible for me to make a collection with the time I had. After some thought, I opted instead for an in-season collection by repeating several styles and adding new designs to make a coherent whole. So it was inspired by the favourites of the past.

What are your influences?

The colours of precious stones and minerals. I visited the Red Path Museum before I left Montreal - its rich collection of mineralogy amazed me. I've always been intrigued by geology and what I saw opened me up to another world!

What is your signature piece?

I think it's my coats and jackets. No matter the season, they're my best sellers.

Who is the VALÉRIE DUMAINE woman?

It's always a difficult question to answer. According to what I have noticed over the years, this woman is multiple and knows how to assert herself. She is radiant and tasteful.

What is your fondest fashion memory?

The fashion shows I attended when I was a teenager. I came out with sparkling eyes every time. I was energized with inspiration. So it's not surprising that my first show as a designer was a big hit for me.


Interview conducted by Andrew McNally.

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