Shanté Renee Roline was bold enough to follow through on her childhood dream of having her own fashion brand. In middle school, she would take apart and sew back together her clothes to impart them with a new look. After moving from Edmonton to the fashion hub of Toronto, she took courses on garment construction and pattern design, and flaunted her creations on herself. When people started asking about her outfits, she knew it was the time to launch Vanity Couture — a luxury essentials brand for women — to share her personal style with the world at large.
Elixuer had the chance to learn more about Roline’s journey, her triumphs, and what defines Vanity Couture, the brand, and its target woman.
How has the road to building Vanity Couture been for you so far?
The gradual road to success with Vanity Couture, much like many entrepreneurial journeys, has been filled with many highs and lows. Being a solopreneur, you need to have a lot of self-motivation and develop a thick skin. Not everyone in your life is going to believe in your business, but the most important factor is that you need to believe in it.
If you could do it all over again, what do you wish you could have done differently when starting out?
I think if I were to do it all over again, I would have sought out a mentor in my industry or one in business, in general. I didn’t have parental guidance or help with any aspect of my business and didn’t have a post-secondary business background, so I really started from scratch. A lot of mistakes were made — expensive ones, too — but that’s all part of the process of figuring everything out.
What is one of your biggest triumphs?
One of my biggest triumphs was taking part in Miami Swim Week. I actually 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. My flights to Miami were delayed, and I actually 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 really touched my heart that I was able to create something that would resonate with women I adored.
What makes Vanity Couture a luxury essentials brand?
Vanity Couture started out as a swimwear brand and after COVID-19 had shut everything down, especially in Canada, 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. I would say we are a luxury essentials brand because we are very selective with the items we design and curate. We love to style the woman who is feminine, flirty, and fabulous, confident in her skin and loves to take care of herself. When a woman feels her best, everyone around her notices, and we love to be a part of that.
Why did you partner with Angela Simmons to showcase the latest line of Vanity Couture swimwear?
I’ve always adored Angela Simmons since her Run’s House days. Growing up in a community where I was a very distinct minority, it was so wonderful to see someone on TV who looked like me, doing the things I would love to do. When we were [contacted] by Angela’s team because she loved the brand, we were super excited! I love the fact that she is all about loving your natural self and embracing your curves. She is a great role model for women and always shares her authentic self. We love authenticity! With Angela, I channelled both her style and mine to create a stunning line of swimwear that women of all shapes and sizes could wear and feel sexy in.
What makes a Vanity Couture woman?
A Vanity Couture woman is confident, authentic, and embraces her own personal 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 she shares her beauty with the world.
Do you have a favourite product in the summer line? What was the inspiration for your newest line?
My favourite style in the line was, of course, the “Shante.” Angela Simmons named all the pieces from the swimwear line to reflect strong women she admired. The reason why she named this swimsuit after me was because it has been my absolute favourite so far. 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 wanted without thinking twice.
For anyone wanting to create a name for themselves in fashion, what would your advice be?
My advice would be to always stick to your own persona. I went through a very short period where I had a partner, and they completely tried to change everything about my designs and my branding to be duller. Not only did it leave me frazzled, 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, always stay true to your authentic self. People will love and appreciate you for it.
As a woman with a successful luxury fashion brand, who would you say are your icons or influences?
I would say that one woman I look up to is Olesya Malinskaya. She is a very talented Russian designer, and I am just obsessed with anything she does — it’s so over the top. I would say I also love me some Kim [Kardashian]. She’s just so glamorous, and I love how no matter what difficult situation she was faced with, she overcame it to be one of the most powerful women in the world.
What’s in store for Vanity Couture in the near future?
Vanity Couture has a lot of exciting things coming in the near future, some of which we can’t talk about. One thing that I will share with you is there will soon be a location in Miami to allow our customers to not only shop online but come in and get the Vanity Couture experience in person.
Arslan Ahmed | Contributing Writer