Fashion can be a difficult and cutthroat business – survival is dependent on surrounding yourself with outstanding people who share your vision. I’ve been very fortunate to have Leah Tuttle as my agent for the past decade, and I want to give my customers to chance to get to know this wonderful, beautiful woman.
Diane Kennedy: What inspired you to become a clothing representative?
Leah Tuttle: A manufacturer asked if I would consider representing their line and so I took a leap of faith.
DK: Did you have a mentor, and if so, what was the most valuable thing you learned from him/her?
LT: I worked my way up from dusty stockrooms and was mentored by some of the best (and worst) in the business. The most valuable thing I learned was the importance of a dependable work ethic.
DK: What is your agency’s most unique quality?
LT: We focus on Canadian designers and natural, ecological options for sizes XS to 3X. At the time I created the agency, this was seen as risky and difficult path in an industry based heavily on fast fashion and poor quality imports with high margins.
"I aspire to be mindful of compassion and gratitude.DK: What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment or contribution to the industry?
To me, this goes beyond common respect and courtesy
and brings us to common ground with higher intentions."
~ Leah Tuttle
LT: My greatest accomplishment is acquiring the flexibility and adaptability that is essential for success in this business. My greatest contributions are the lasting relationships that I’ve built, working collaboratively to produce beautiful results. Our customers receive the service they expect with a little something extra. The best compliments I receive are referrals from satisfied customers.
DK: How did your relationship with us begin?
LT: The best way possible – with an introduction by a great customer who thought that I was the right agent to represent the Diane Kennedy brand.
DK: What is the most rewarding part of your relationship with us?
LT: I’m included in the process via creative meetings, sharing the new design ideas, fabric options, and styles that keep the brand exciting each season.
DK: What do you most appreciate about our brand?
LT: I appreciate the integrity and quality. The entire creation process incorporates high expectations and a solid work ethic to deliver the best quality fashion.
DK: What pieces will you be seeking for your Spring 2019 wardrobe?
LT: The Screen Playsuit and Casting Capri are in my sights, but the Jinx Jumpsuit may win out.
I consider myself very lucky to be represented by such a remarkable and lovely woman who truly understands our market, and who is responsible for getting Diane Kennedy clothing into stores all across Canada. Thank you, Leah, for your unfailing support, unparalleled work ethic, and for being the strong, resilient, and incredibly beautiful human you are!
In this blog, our own Barb Wilkins shares the story of how she found our newest Diane Kennedy model.
Gia Holman has been teaching lyrical jazz and contemporary dance, from beginner to professional levels, for nearly forty-five years. These days, she focuses on providing classes for other "mature” dancers who are committed to continuing their training and celebrating their creative spirits for as long as possible.
When I first met Gia, she spoke to me like she knew me. I thought maybe I had forgotten our first meeting, but she was so charming and lovely and I went with it! The next time I saw Gia, she confessed that she thought I was someone else she knew. Basically, we were friends from the start.
By virtue of having similar taste in music, we started running into each other often. I found out that Gia had been a professional dancer and dance teacher her whole life. I was transfixed when she posted photos of herself as a young 20-something, just on the verge of heading to New York to study dance. I then found out Gia is still dancing and teaching adults in the semi-retired phase of her life, which was completely inspiring.
Cut to a work meeting discussing the new Diane Kennedy collection: we spoke about wanting to see the clothes worn by a confident, mature woman who could really move. Gia came to mind right away. I contacted her and asked her if she was interested, and she was excited to try modelling for the first time. The date was set.
Gia admitted to being shy, especially around cameras. I chose some music by a mutual friend of ours, and once the blues started streaming out of the stereo and the camera started clicking, Gia transformed.
She didn’t seem shy at all!
I found it fascinating to see Gia move. It was thrilling to see how well she knew her own body – how it moved and created shapes and lines.
"Lyrical dance is about line, form, and flow of movement –
I find all three elements in Diane's designs.
They are a delight to wear."
~ Gia Holman
P.S. Come see Gia's outfits in person at our Studio Shop this weekend:
- Friday, January 25, 2pm-7 pm
- Saturday, January 26, 11am-5pm
- 1635 Powell Street, Vancouver, BC
Free parking is available right out front or in the parking lot beside The Flag Shop.
Despite frost and low temperatures, spring is just around the corner – honest! Every new season brings fresh perspectives, and designers assemble their tools to create trends. One of my most useful tools is a storyboard – it helps me plan a season in terms of styles, colours, and prints. Here’s a glimpse at the first half of our Spring 2019 collection for our beautiful range of regular and plus size customers.
The Terrific Tunics
Our City Tunic is an exciting new cut with striking graphic details.
Returning favourites like the Illustrate Tunic feature a sophisticated take on tie dye, and the Evidence Tunic is both whimsical and classic with a juxtaposition of polka dots and stripes.
The Jazzy Jacket
Smart stripes make our Paradox jacket extra-sharp, without sacrificing the softness and comfort that are Diane Kennedy trademarks. Especially when paired with our flowing, dramatic Pacific Pant, this piece creates a striking silhouette.
The Versatile Vest
Our Recharge Vest continues to show its versatility as part of the Spring 2019 collection. Add it to one of our Perfect Tops for effortless style. And yes, it has pockets!
The Jaunty Jumpsuits
Nothing beats a one-piece when it comes to comfort and ease. Our new Jinx Jumpsuit comes in a brilliant Moroccan blue or solid black and the Screen Playsuit returns in both stripes and a solid black.
What I anticipate most about a new season is seeing how our customers take these pieces and make them their own. Let me know which piece you’re most excited to add to your wardrobe!
Can you believe that this is the twelfth year that Diane Kennedy has been a brand? It hasn't always been an easy road, simultaneously choosing three niche markets: sizes for all women, sustainable products, and domestic manufacturing. These ideals have become trendy in recent years, but they have been at the core of my creative process since the very beginning.
It's All Happening...
Fabrics are arriving and we're producing fresh spring separates as we speak. This season, we’ll be adding more exciting, fashion-forward items to complete your look, like scarves and jumpsuits. It's a very busy time of year, with production in full swing at the factories while we’re already producing designs and samples for next fall. More stylish pieces are in the works!
The clothing industry has undergone enormous change – there’s been a move towards huge, online retailers that really don’t care not about people or quality, but only about making money. As a result, it's been a difficult year for many smaller retailers and many are disappearing altogether. I'm pleased to say that we work with many steadfast, female-targeted retailers who care about where and how clothes are made, and who demand quality. These stores are doing very well with our brand, and we were so pleased to welcome many wonderful new retailers this year.
I am very grateful for all of you, my loyal customers. Some of you have been with me for many, many years, and I so appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you for continuing to support my brand, and here’s to an outstanding 2019!
The end of the year is often a time for reflection. As 2018 draws to a close, I wanted to share some thoughts about what the Diane Kennedy brand means to me, personally and professionally.
When you put your own name on a company, it’s a commitment. It means that you are staking your personal reputation on what you’re going to produce. I always knew I wanted to be a fashion designer, and when I founded Diane Kennedy, I wanted my brand to be something special.
My goal was to make clothing that would fit women of all shapes, sizes, and curves. I set out to create pieces that would flatter women's bodies and be comfortable at the same time. Using sustainable, eco-friendly fabrics to create my separates was a logical step – we only have one planet, and using its resources responsibly just makes sense. I also chose to have DK produced in BC, and to support our local businesses and community.
I’m very proud of what I’ve built over the last decade. My loyal and lovely customers, who continue to buy and wear and live in my clothing, motivate me to keep creating. Of course, no woman is an island! I'm so pleased to have built a great team who helps me make, promote, and deliver DK separates to you every day.
Whichever holiday you celebrate, I hope this season brings you happiness and peace. May your December days be filled with friends, family, and fun – and I wish you health and good times in 2019!