Di Carlo Couture is an haute couture label created by Montreal-based designer Antoinette Di Carlo. Decorative, feminine and romantic, Di Carlo favors the long and lean, with a keen interest in silhouette and a passion for glamour and sophistication. Elegant and feminine without looking saccharine, luxurious materials make every single look special and unique.
Margarita Kadochnikova: How did your upbringing influence you?
Antoinette Di Carlo: I was immersed into the fashion industry at a very young age since parents were sewing contractors. This means I spent my summers tagging along at work with them. I picked up on sewing at the age of 8 years old. I learnt the production side of things, the unglamorous part therefore my expectations were realistic. It taught me resilience and solidified my work ethic.
You fell into fashion. How did that happen?
I always had a flair for fashion and luckily a gift for creativity and imagination. I decided to follow my passion, that led me to be a designer.
Why does fashion matter?
Fashion to me is self expression. We all have an individual style and the best way to show it is to wear it !
What is beauty to you? How do you see it?
Beauty to me is confidence. If a woman is confident she can make almost anything look good.
What are your hobbies besides fashion and design?
I love to spend time with my dog, I take long walks with her. I also love to spend time with my girlfriends, we are foodies therefore always out trying new restaurant hot spots. I also love games (laughs) wherever there is a game night I am sure to attend.
Is it difficult for you to combine personal life and work?
This is a challenging combination to achieve. Work is always a priority and building a business requires countless hours and determination. I have to remind myself to spend leisure time and to work towards a more balanced approach. I am working on it!
What is your favourite part of your wardrobe? Which things you could not live without?
My black skinny pants are my favourite “go to” thing! They are comfortable and can be worn with anything, can be dressed up or dressed down. Highly versatile! Can’t live without them of course and my crop leather jacket as a layering piece.
If you were on an uninhabited island and could take with you only three things what would it be?
My dog, my sketch pad and my cell phone.
What is your regular day at work look like?
I work with a seamstress so the first thing I do is set her up with working on whatever gown I’ve drafted a pattern for wether it’s a piece I am adding to my collection or a custom design that a client has ordered. I help with the cutting of the fabric and monitor details closely to ensure my vision is brought to life as accurately as possible. I go on to schedule fittings with existing clients. I work on email inquiries coming from future and existing clients. I see fabric suppliers on a regular basis always making sure I am in with the latest. Client fittings and future client consultations are scheduled almost every day, sometimes several in one day. I check in with my marketing coordinator who takes care of all my social media posts.
What was the hardest part of your job when you just started?
The most difficult part was starting out without any business experience. I had the design experience but the business side of things had to be developed. Also I did not have any gown collections developed to show as samples of my work so it was harder to get an order from a future client.
What is your philosophy?
I go by honesty and integrity every day. I love to empower women and build confidence in them so in efforts to do this I work hard in rendering them the best possible style and fabric combination.
Which advice would you give to young designers?
Be prepared to work hard and to make sure that designing is truly a passion. It is important to fully enjoy what you do since it is the best motivation to keep going and making a lucrative career out of it.