PQ's Spring about to Take-Over Winter - Beth Anne Couture
photography Darin Wayne Photography
models Ella Harry, Lauren Greaves, Marci Gustafson and Megan Teering
hair Tina Monz
fashion designer Beth Anne Couture
wardrobe Beth Anne Couture
LOCATION Alberta Canada
Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from?
I was raised in central Alberta, Canada. After my first year of college I still didn’t feel like I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do with my life so my best friend and I took off to backpack Europe for 3 and a half months. It was that experience that helped me realize my passion for fashion design. I then enrolled in college and after 3 years l graduated and married my fiancé. We now have 2 crazy little boys and a bean on the way.
What's your educational background?
I have a certificate in Costume Cutting and Construction and diploma in Fashion Apparel Technology Design. The programs were intense requiring 16 hours of dedication a day but it certainly paid off.
What are your general professional and non-professional interests?
Professionally I love gowns, shopping for fabric is one of my absolute favorite things to do! Aside from fashion I love hanging out with my boys, they are at such a fun age, we love camping in the mountains and fishing over the summers.
What does fashion mean to you?
Expressing art. Every designer uses their skills to express themselves and share it with the world.
How would you define your city's fashion?
I have to laugh at this question, the city nearest to me is what we call a ‘rig city’, most peoples’ sense of fashion is tank tops, jeans and cute flats over the summer…Fall/Winter weather lasts about 8 months of the year and is generally -20 to -40 degrees Celsius so being bundled up in tucks, scarves, mitts and boots doesn’t leave much room for fashion.
When did you realize you wanted to become a fashion designer?
While I was back packing Europe, I saw so many fashion forward trends that didn’t even gain popularity in Canada until nearly a year after we got back. It blew my mind that Canada was so far behind in the fashion industry and I wanted to set my own trends in Canada and spread them to Europe.
What was the first article of clothing you ever designed?
I took a private sewing class when I was 10 and made a plaid jumper…it wasn’t even fashionable at the time but I loved it.
How does designing jewelry differ from designing clothes?
I think there is more freedom in designing jewelry, it can be used to accessorize any outfit from casual wear to couture fashions whereas clothing needs to be designed for a specific target market
How long does it usually take you to construct a piece?
It really depends on the details of the design. My ready to wear dresses and cocktail gowns I can produce 2-5 a week because the construction and finishing details aren’t as time consuming. For the couture gowns I take 2-4 weeks per design and take my time with hand stitching the finishing touches and jewels.
Who is one of your favorite local models to work with?
Alexx Whyte has been a life saver. She is one of the 15 models who came with me to New York from Canada for Fashion Week in September. She lives close by so was always on call for fittings leading up to fashion week and because she got to know my vision and the gowns so well she made the perfect assistant and really took the initiative to go above and beyond for me.
Describe the general process you go through to design and realize a piece of clothing.
I start with a general idea but normally it will change a few times as I build it. I can’t stick to the original concept for the life of me, I get ‘writers block’ if I don’t allow myself to play around with the design and add new details.
What are some of your accomplishments as a designer?
Making it to New York is definitely top of that list!! Being the featured designer in a couple magazines has been very flattering and exciting as well as making the front page of the local newspaper and being interviewed by CTV2 Alberta Primetime.
Who are some of your favorite designers?
I don’t really know any!! Skip this question LOL I know the typical names but I’ve never followed any particular designer
Where can readers buy your clothes/jewelry?
I have a shop on my website but it isn’t stocked (and I don’t design jewelry) , I normally take custom orders and that keeps me too busy to keep the shop stocked.
How long have you worked as a designer?
I’ve only actually been actively pursuing this since December 2015, I specialized in wedding and bridal alterations for 5 years and then decided I’d rather make my own gowns than alter gowns.
How do you select your models?
I put out casting calls for very specific measurements, complexions and hair color/cut. When I create a gown I have a specific image of what the models wearing it looks like and try to fulfill that vision when casting.
What are some of your favorite clothing stores/catalogs/websites?
I like to shop at Rickies for the most part, I don’t really shop for myself very often as I can whip up a dress or tops if I need one and live in tights.
Where do you buy your fabrics and other sewing materials?
I am always on the hunt for new fine fabric stores to shop at, I just recently found some favorites in New York including Moods designer fabrics and Elegance.
What do you believe makes a quality article of clothing?
Proper fabric is important, and couture seam finishes. There are several ways to sew a single garment together some are quick and efficient but far from couture. Couture finishes take more time and skill and require hand stitching often.
Do you consider yourself an artist?
Yes. I have always been an artist and explored several outlets. I used to paint and draw but was always left wanting or feeling unsatisfied. When I finally started designing I realized it was bringing something to life that I had been missing. Not just copy an image out of my head onto paper, but making it a wearable with movement and being able to manipulate it with photography has been amazing.
What matters to you most as a fashion designer?
Quality workmanship. I hate when I feel rushed or have a short timeline to produce something. I like to make sure every detail has been seen to before letting a garment leave my studio.
What's your favorite part about conceptualizing a design?
The freedom of it. There are no rules to designing something fantastic, I can create whatever I feel like and bring it to life.
How do you prepare for a fashion shoot or show?
Fashion shows are chaotic, it doesn’t matter how well organized it is, backstage is always mayhem. That being said it is always best to go in knowing the chaos is ok and I can rely on my team to execute their roles efficiently. For shoots it is a lot more relaxed, I enjoy being on set shoots and watching the magic happen when a photographer brings my vision to life. When you’ve got a good team there isn’t much prep, everyone knows their roles and brings their A game.
Do you prefer sketching designs or actually constructing them?
I skip the sketching when I can help it, I use that more as a tool to get the gist of the design down and as I build it I adapt it to the fabric and mood I am in.
Tell me about the process of sketching a design. What kind of paper and pencil/pen do you use?
I have a few sketch books lying around my studio and if I think of something randomly I’ll sketch it out quick. I typically use a fine point pen when sketching a planned collection.
What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
Try new things! Don’t get stuck working with the exact same colors or fabrics or even designs and always push yourself to try something new.
What do you like best about designing clothes?
I love surprising myself with new designs. Often I will start a gown and end up changing it several times before I finish, on those designs it is fun to see how it turns out.
What do you dislike about designing clothes?
I don’t like having to finish the garments, once I see it put together and my vision brought to life I get bored of it and want to start a new one. Having to sit and finish all the hand stitching is almost torture... but worth it at the end.
How would you define your personal style?
Hahaha does ‘Mom style’ make sense?? I mean I love dressing up in boot heels and a nice dress but in real life its tights, flats, my lulu hoodie and a flat brim hat.
How would you define the style your line exemplifies?
My style could definitely be called scandalous! It isn’t a trashy over the top scandalous though it is sleek, whimsical and sexy all rolled up in one.
What are some of your favorite fashion websites, magazines, or books?
Honestly its embarrassing but I don’t remember the last time I bought a magazine and browsed a website. Between designing and my little ones I have very little down time and the time I do get I spend with my hubby.
What are some of your fashion goals?
I want to create a fashion industry in Alberta. We really don’t have anything that comes close to comparing to Toronto or New York and I am working to change that. That’s why I bring models, hair and makeup stylists and photographers with me every time I go to New York. The more Albertan’s I can help gain experience in a real fashion industry the better chance we have at starting something that will last here in Alberta.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Music inspires me, If I am feeling stuck or uninspired Ill put one of my favorite songs on and go to work.
What other experience do you have in the fashion industry?
Not much actually, I worked at a dry cleaners over the summers between schooling to learn about fabrics, how to care for them properly and tricks to stain removal. Other than that I worked at a wedding boutique for a couple months before taking over their alterations department.
What are your favorite colors to work with and why?
I am constantly drawn to both pastel colors and luscious fall colors. When I design I am expressing my emotions and I find I relate to those colors best.
What are your favorite fabrics to work with and why?
Lace, chiffon and silk are my favorite fabrics. They can be made into very simple designs or quite detailed designs and the outcome is always elegant, sexy and classy.
What are your favorite patterns to work with and why?
I love floral prints! Flowers are always gorgeous and can set the ‘feel’ of the gowns. One gown we shot is a brown fall coloured floral print which produces a woodsy forest nymph ambience on the right model. Another is teal and pink lending it a whimsical spring feel that you can’t quite get without a nice print.
Where can readers find out more about you and your work?