Shanté Renee Roline

Date

Summer 2024

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Designing Elegance, One Creation at a Time

Shanté Renee Roline epitomizes the bold pursuit of childhood dreams, fearlessly venturing into fashion entrepreneurship. Displaying a keen eye for design since her formative years in middle school, she exhibited a talent for deconstructing and reassembling garments to infuse them with a fresh perspective. Upon relocating from Edmonton to the vibrant fashion hub of Toronto, Roline deepened her passion by enrolling in various design courses focused on garment construction and patterns.

With every stitch and seam, Roline honed her craft, proudly showcasing her creations by wearing them herself. As intrigued onlookers inquired about her distinctive ensembles, Roline recognized the opportunity to unveil Vanity Couture—a luxury essentials brand tailored for women, reflective of her unique style and vision.

Now, continuing her journey in the fashion industry, Roline embraces collaboration and innovation. Partnering with Studio Nude Toronto (www.studionude.ca), she extends her reach beyond mere apparel, emphasizing the importance of holistic beauty. This strategic alliance not only offers her customers exquisite swimwear but also provides access to beauty-enhancing treatments, aligning with Roline’s commitment to empowering women and promoting a complete approach to self-care.

Can you tell us about the early days of your journey towards establishing Vanity Couture? How did your childhood interest in fashion evolve into a full-fledged brand?

The journey of building Vanity Couture has been a dynamic blend of highs and lows, akin to many entrepreneurial endeavours. As a solopreneur, navigating this path demands a reservoir of self-motivation and resilience. It’s a journey where you must cultivate a thick skin, understanding that not everyone in your circle may share your vision or believe in your business as fervently as you do. However, amidst the challenges, the most crucial aspect remains unwavering belief in your venture. This steadfast faith fuels the drive to overcome obstacles and continue to propel forward, transforming dreams into reality.

Are there any strategic decisions or approaches you wish you had taken differently when initially launching Vanity Couture?

Reflecting on my journey, if allowed to start afresh, I would have prioritized seeking mentorship from individuals experienced in my industry, or business in general. Without the guidance of parental support or a background in post-secondary business education, I began with a clean slate, navigating the entrepreneurial landscape solo. In hindsight, this lack of mentorship resulted in costly mistakes. However, these challenges served as invaluable lessons in learning and growth, integral to understanding the intricacies of building a successful business from the ground up.

Amidst the challenges, what has been one of the most rewarding experiences in building Vanity Couture from the ground up?

One of my biggest triumphs was taking part in Miami Swim Week. I broke down and cried when I got [the invitation]. I was so overwhelmed with joy that someone thought my designs and brand would be a great addition to their show. Due to a delay in my flight to Miami, I missed casting. When I arrived hours later, I had about 25 beautiful women waiting to walk for me because they loved the brand so much. It touched my heart that I could create something resonating with women I admire.

Vanity Couture initially began as a swimwear brand but expanded its offerings. Could you elaborate on the decision-making process behind this expansion, and how it aligns with the brand’s identity?

Vanity Couture started as a swimwear brand. After the COVID-19 pandemic, they shut everything down, especially in Canada, so we had to pivot and start carrying more products that weren’t just summer essentials. We added blazers, bodycon dresses, loungewear, and so much more. We are a luxury essentials brand because we are very selective with the items we design and curate. We love to style the feminine, flirty, and fabulous woman who is confident in her skin and loves to take care of herself. When a woman feels her best, everyone notices, and we love to be a part of that.

How would you describe the essence of a Vanity Couture woman, and how does this ethos influence your design process?

A Vanity Couture woman is confident and authentic and embraces her style. She appreciates the finer things in life and takes pride in her appearance. She is comfortable in her skin and embraces her curves, natural or bought — we don’t discriminate! She feels beautiful and proud to share her beauty with the world.

Among the products in your summer line, do you have a personal favourite? What inspired the designs for this collection?

My favourite style in the line was, of course, the “Shante.” Angela Simmons named all the pieces from the swimwear line to reflect the strong women she admired. She named this swimsuit after me because it has been my absolute favourite. Anyone who knows me knows I love to be comfortable, and I love to eat. The Shante monokini is the perfect combination of a one-piece and a bikini. It gives you all the comfort of a one-piece, but does not compromise [on] the sexiness of a two-piece. You can enjoy yourself at the beach all day, and order that side of fries you want without thinking twice.

For aspiring fashion entrepreneurs, what key principles should they keep in mind when establishing their brand identity?

My advice would be to always stick to your persona. I went through a very short period where I had a partner, and they ultimately tried to change everything about my designs and branding to duller. Not only did it leave me concerned, but it took the passion out of what I was doing, and I wasn’t receiving as great of a response anymore. If you enter the fashion industry, stay true to your authentic self. People will love and appreciate you for it.

What sources of inspiration or role models have played a significant role in shaping your journey as a woman at the helm of a flourishing luxury fashion brand?

I would say that one woman I look up to is Olesya Malinskaya. She is a very talented Russian designer, and I am obsessed with anything she does — it’s so over the top. I would say I also love Kim [Kardashian]. She’s just so glamorous, and I love how, no matter what difficult situation she faced, she overcame it to be one of the most powerful women in the world.

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Can you share some insights into the creative process behind designing a new collection for Vanity Couture?

A diverse range of inspirations fuels my creative process. Whether it’s the evocative lyrics of a song that conjures vibrant mental imagery or the narrative arc of a music video that sparks sartorial storytelling, I find inspiration in unexpected places. As I immerse myself in these creative realms, a thematic thread begins to emerge, guiding the development of complementary styles with a seamless flow. Each collection is a fusion of imagination and innovation, crafted to captivate and inspire the Vanity Couture audience.

How has your style evolved since the inception of Vanity Couture, and how has it influenced the brand’s offerings?

Since the inception of Vanity Couture, our style has embarked on a journey of refinement. Our style has undergone several transformations since the early days when we exclusively offered swimwear. We’ve evolved into a lifestyle fashion brand, encompassing everything from vibrant ombré workout sets to crystal-studded dresses. Diversifying our collections has broadened our appeal, making us more recognizable as a brand. This evolution has allowed us to express our creative vision in myriad forms, and resonated profoundly with our discerning clientele.

What sets Vanity Couture apart from other luxury fashion brands today?

At Vanity Couture, our distinctive hallmark lies in our unabashed love for vibrant colours. While many fashion brands gravitate towards neutral and minimalist aesthetics, we wholeheartedly embrace the allure of bold and vivid hues, injecting our collections with an infectious sense of fun and excitement. Each garment we create is a canvas for a spectrum of colours, from the deepest sapphire shades to the brightest fuchsia hues, allowing us to paint a vivid tapestry of style and expression.

Our affinity for vibrant colours is not merely a stylistic choice but a reflection of our brand’s ethos. We believe that fashion should celebrate individuality and joy, and what better way to convey this than through the vibrant language of colour?

Do you have a memorable anecdote or experience highlighting your brand’s impact on a customer?

Absolutely! One standout moment that vividly illustrates our brand’s impact occurred when a model wore one of our latest dresses to a high-profile event in Las Vegas. Following the occasion, she shared her overwhelming experience of receiving unprecedented compliments. She felt like the show’s absolute star, attributing her newfound confidence and sense of celebrity to the dress she wore from Vanity Couture. This anecdote perfectly encapsulates our brand’s mission to empower individuals to embrace their unique style and stand out boldly, reinforcing our commitment to creating fashion that leaves a lasting impression and fosters self-expression.

As an entrepreneur, what challenges do you foresee in the ever-evolving fashion world, and how do you plan to tackle them?

In the evolving fashion industry, standing out amidst fierce competition is a significant challenge. To tackle this, we’re taking a unique approach by introducing collections unconventionally, drawing inspiration from unexpected sources. Innovation and creativity are at the core of our strategy as we seek to captivate our audience with fresh and unexpected concepts.

How do you see the role of artificial intelligence (AI) shaping the future of the fashion industry, and do you envision integrating AI technologies into Vanity Couture’s operations?

Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing various sectors, including fashion, by offering personalized recommendations, streamlining production processes, and enhancing customer experiences. While we haven’t implemented AI technologies yet, we’re actively exploring possibilities to leverage AI for tasks like trend analysis, customer insights, and inventory management to further elevate Vanity Couture’s offerings and services.

Looking ahead, what exciting developments can we expect from Vanity Couture shortly?

Vanity Couture is gearing up for thrilling developments, including a highly-anticipated expansion into Miami. While there are some exciting surprises we can’t divulge just yet, we’re excited to announce that soon, customers will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the Vanity Couture experience both online and in person at our Miami location. Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to elevate the fashion journey.

Jennifer M. Williams | Editor-in-Chief

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