It seems veganism is quickly making it’s way into the fashionsphere. People not only want to ingest healthy items, we also want our outside to look as amazing as our inside feels. Dalia MacPhee, Canadian designer to the Hollywood Elite, creates vegan designs so beautiful and red carpet worthy, they’ve been spotted on Heidi Klum, Olivia Munn, Serena Williams, Scarlett Johansson, Khloe Kardashian and dozens more. Her Spring 2013 collection has launched and we were lucky enough to talk to her about everything from why she turned down a reality TV spot to what she did before fashion (you’ll never believe it) to what’s next for Dalia MacPhee as a whole.
How did you get started in fashion?
It’s a funny story… I was actually pursuing law as I had a passion for public speaking (I ranked # 1 in Canada for a time period). As I delved more into the legal field however, I realized my creative side was not being expressed. I always had a passion for fashion and specifically dresses, (I grew up in a family that was in the apparel retail business) and decided to design a small collection and take it to the trade shows. A few pieces really hit and the rest developed from there.
Did you start out with your own line, or did you work with other houses to learn hone your skills?
I jumped in full speed and created my own collection. In retrospect I probably should have worked under some of the main houses to hone my skills but I was hungry and impatient and decided to take the plunge.
Do you have to be in the zone to start creating designs or is it something that comes naturally?
Designs pop in my head all day, but I do have to set aside quiet time (usually late at night) when I am focused 100% on just the design aspect. I am very involved in the day to day business of my brand, and while that cuts in to creative time, it also allows me to design from a realistic business perspective. Learning how to switch quickly between left brain right brain is still something I am honing.
You make ‘Vegan’ dresses… what exactly does that mean and how is that set apart from natural fibers?
Vegan means no living creatures harmed. Just celebrities. Vegan doesn’t just mean no fur or leather, it also means no silk, because silk is actually made by killing the silk worm. We have created some amazing, luxurious fabrics that are silk free, yet smoother and less prone to tearing or marking.
A lot of designers copy each other’s ideas and styles today, how do you set yourself apart from the rest?
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem so sincere when all the blood sweat and tears you put into a new design gets copied by a major fashion house a few weeks later. I remember the first time this happened to me I was so upset. I expressed my frustration to a good friend and here is how she replied: “They can duplicate your designs, they can duplicate your ideas, but they can never duplicate you.”
I think that’s really true. The magic of what we do in anything in life comes from US. There is only one YOU. As a result, I try to put as much of ME in my brand as possible.
Will we be seeing a more extensive line from you or will you be sticking to evening wear?
This year I am expanding in to Sportswear. After that will be accessories and perfume.
There are lots of reality shows allowing for people to gain press and the proper funding to achieve what many work decades to accomplish… How do you feel about that?
Generally speaking I am not a fan of reality. A year ago a large network actually offered me my own show and I turned it down based on an ethical conflict. That being said, reality is the “reality “ of our times, and I can’t blame anyone in our industry for taking an opportunity to grow and promote their brand. Don’t forget that what may seem like an overnight success may actually be someone who for decades has been sweating trying to make it on their own. But you know what I would really love to see? I’d love to see a classy, well-made production that shows the true inner guts of apparel. No dating drama, no drunken episodes, no fluff. Just the real fashion world that most people will never get to see. I think the public is starting to crave more substance in this whole reality era and I think this is the next wave.
For someone whose dresses are seen on the red carpet so often, what are some of the biggest red carpet fashion faux pas you see on celebs that bother you?
The biggest Fashion Faux pass on the red carpet I see is when a celebrity is wearing a gown that is NOT a DALIA MACPHEE. I think anything unflattering to the body can be considered a fashion faux pas, and as far as I am concerned a good stylist’s job is to outfit their client in a way that is going to make them look and photograph their absolute best. So in answer to your question, I think the biggest fashion faux pas a celebrity can make is teaming up with the wrong stylist.