Dianne “Dee” Stitzel is passionate about design; specifically children’s clothing and apparel design. Dee has showcased her high-quality and detailed work globally to much acclaim. At present she is the Marketing Director for Great Pretenders, a Canadian company that is dedicated to producing top-quality costumes for children. In 2016 the franchise released a line of detailed accessories for little girls including fairy wings, headbands and matching jewelry. As manager of the Creative Team, Dee was as integral part of the design process for these captivating items. Recently, Dee spoke about her experiences working as a designer of children’s apparel:

The calling

Blasting News (BN): How did you get interested in costume design?

Dee Stitzel (DS): I've always loved designing clothing. I graduated from Seneca College with a Bachelor of Design and debuted my first eco-fashion line in Beijing, China. I lived in Italy for a year and created my own textiles and dyeing methods and completed another line of one-of-a kind women's fashion before the age of 25.

BN: How many items have you designed?

DS: Too many to list! My designs are inspired by trends, markets, customers, fashion, textiles, media and so much more.

BN: How did you come to work with Great Pretenders?

DS: I was looking for a job in my field and I met a young, inspiring woman named Kate Muddiman Frey. Kate was the daughter to theGreat Pretenders CEO Joyce Muddiman. I began working as the Executive Assistant to the Creative Director but it wasn't long before I became Creative Manager running the Graphic Design department.

The rest is history!

The career

BN: How do you think up your designs?

DS: I like to make products that are interchangeable and versatile but I do design with collections in mind. The Pom Pom Collection of dress up and accessories began with a three-tiered, full tulle, pom pom tutu and expanded to include a matching purse, necklace, headband and bracelet.

BN: What has been the most rewarding part of your job?

DS: My love of textiles, fashion, graphics and travel have been nourished and encouraged. I have traveled to China to visit factories and sourcing markets, I've also been privileged to travel and attend various trade shows all over North America.

The most rewarding part of working for Great Pretenders and Creative Education is touching the hearts of children and parents. I have a hand written crayon card pinned to the wall of my office from a little girl. It's one thing to design a beautiful dress for a runway show, it's another to design a dress that will make a little girl or boy's face light up and become a different person...a princess...a superhero...a fairy...It’s also a wonderful feeling to see something I designed in a store!

The future

BN: Where do you hope to bein ten years?

DS:I hope that I will still be designing, traveling and making a difference any way I can.

BN: What advice would you give to someone who is striving to enter the design industry?

D.S: Be confident and have a strong portfolio. I find designers and artists are very connected to their work which is important! Love what you do and handle criticism well. A professor once told me "You'll have to redo and redesign projects constantly. When you final don't think you could make it any better, that will be when your customer will be happy."

BN: Are there any upcoming events that you want to mention?

DS: I will be in NYC next week for the ENK Children's Club show.In October, we have sponsoredBoost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre annual Spooktacular event in Toronto andI will be at the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas.

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