Mastermind Behind the Gown – with Dean Renwick

Photography by Jared Schlechte
Photography by Jared Schlechte

On a brisk Saturday afternoon, snow is falling as gently as a hares footsteps. There is a cozy studio on Scarth Street downtown Regina.

It’s that classic scene of a young child in a candy store smitten with the smorgasbord of goodies in front of him. I find myself this young child entering Dean Renwicks Design Studio, as I am mused by the splendor and plethora of fabrics, colours, design and legacy.

Dean Renwick is much a household name in the industry for over 20 years, and 11 years in Saskatchewan alone his gowns have adorned the eager graduate, and have gone on to embellish the blushing bride year’s later. 

You were born in Regina, studied fashion in California – what is special for you about being able to build and grow the fashion industry here a pose to creating in an already established and well known industry such as NY, LA, UK etc.?

“We don’t have anything quite like what I do here, so to be able to offer these services here alone is just an amazing thing to be able to do for the people of Saskatchewan.”

You have mentored a number of young Saskatchewan designers, is there something different you feel Saskatchewan designers are bringing to the general fashion industry?

“I think we are down to earth, and have a genuine sense of reality here.”

What facet of the fashion industry has aided you the most in developing your business?

“Custom Work.”

What is your prefered facet to work?

“Doing the fashion shows. I really get to show what I do, like couture in Paris it’s all about everything, and anything you can put on a gown; then when the clients come in you pair it back for them and redesign it specifically for them. It’s fun to be able to do everything and make it really wild.

What inspires your collections? Do you always have a direction in mind, or do you just wake up with one?

“It comes to be all of a sudden! You panic and panic and then all of a sudden, idea! Then you start working from that one little idea. The hardest part after years of designing is coming up with something new.”

Writers get writers block, and as for designers? Yup. Same thing! Dean say’s as an established designer it affects him as well. Fashion magazines and media are often good outlets to spark creativity.

“The garments are fun to look at, but it’s not necessarily wearable or sellable.” (In the fashion magazines)

I believe many of us have looked at a fashion magazine, at the latest and greatest things to walk the runway by the highest regarded names and thought, “Where the hell am I ever going to wear that…” Part of what makes Dean’s garments so favorable is his intimate and realistic understanding of this train of thought. His garments are made to be wearable, complementary, and unique, all tailored for the specific individual’s needs.

 

Captured by Jared  Schlechte
Captured by Jared Schlechte

There is a lot of output from media and society as far as “trends” in fashion go; how do you stay true to your vision…

“I just do what I do best, I’m good at what I do and I like what I do. There will always be people that are better and worse than you, I stay true to myself.  The hardest thing for me was when I started my ready-to-wear line last year, I had to actually sit down and think about what I wanted to say, because for the last 10 years I was doing things for everyone else. If you come in wanting an outfit for something, I design it for you. As for the ready to wear line it was all about what I want to put out there.”

If fashion and art were sitting on a bench together could you tell them apart? Are they indistinguishable from each other or very different?

“There is an art form into sewing, tailoring and finishing of clothes. The way we do our handwork and construction is very much so an art. There is also avangard pieces that you could consider art and hang them on a wall, so yes they are distinguishable but on the other hand they are not because there is different aspects between art and reality on these clothes, and varying levels”

What stays as a tried and true for design – styles and fabrics get re used but- what stays the same to define fashion?

“Shapes. Classic shapes stay the same. Fabrication and proportions get adjusted and that’s what makes it more updated. That is tried and true, classic pieces, I like to do classic with a twist!”

In the future, how would you like to see Saskatchewan Designers represented on the world stage?

“That we are fully capable to make great clothes, that we have the talent here. It would nice to be able to have access to more manufacturing in Saskatchewan.”

Dean is involved in Power of Pink event on April 16th, and will be walking his garments down the 2015 SFW runway on Friday May, 8th.

 

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

-Alice