Designer's bamboo-based fabrics pay homage to her Metis heritage
Pieces of Andreanne Dandeneau's VOILA fashion line are adorned with authentic Indigenous-inspired prints that are works of art created by her father.
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Buy less, buy better.
That’s Andreanne Dandeneau’s motto when it comes to designing her French Metis fashion label VOILA.
“I am all about making women’s clothing that fits right, is comfortable, breathable, and sustainable while still being very chic,” she said when describing her creations made from bamboo-based fabrics that are certified organic and fair trade.
“It is very important to me that my customers get 100 per cent what they are paying for,” she said. “Our goal is to make them feel good inside and out knowing our clothes are timeless, of high quality and good for the planet.”
The material she uses is made in Toronto under “strict environmental standards” before being shipped to her Winnipeg location at the edge of Osborne Village where her designs come to life with the help of eight employees.
The former member of the Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers launched VOILA in 2005 after graduating from Montreal’s LaSalle College, one of Canada’s top design programs, in 2004. She also has a yoga-inspired active clothing line called Hug Me.
The Winnipeg Fringe Festival served as her initial test market.
“My first experience at the Fringe, I made about 250 pieces. I returned the following year with 400 pieces and sold 90 per cent of what I made.”
As a finishing touch, many of her pieces are adorned with authentic Indigenous-inspired prints that not only pay homage to her Metis heritage, but are works of art designed by her father David Albert.
“My parents have always been so supportive of my dreams and helped me when I was starting out,” said Dandeneau. “Before moving my retail space to where the factory is, I ran my boutique out of their home in St. Boniface, so they put up with a lot of people coming and going.”
Dandeneau spoke to Metro from Toronto, one of her stops as part of a five-city tour of her clothing collection.
When asked why she returned to Winnipeg after her studies and set up shop here, Dandeneau said it wasn’t a difficult decision to make.
“This is my home and it’s a community that helped me become who I am,” she said. “It makes me feel good to give back and be a part of the local economy.”
Dandeneau chose “Small Business Saturday” on November 25 to showcase her Fall line at her Mulvey Avenue boutique and factory from 10 am to 4 pm.