Representing East Coast Couture

Posted by LeeAnn Dussault on

Whether I'm collaborating with photographers on photoshoots, or styling models for charity events/local runway shows, I am always on the lookout for new faces who could represent ECC. When scouting new models, I'm looking for confidence, professionalism, and personality. Many times I have seen young models with this sense of entitlement that they deserve opportunities just handed to them. Not the best impression you would want to leave on anyone when doing a professional job.

I like to observe models behaviours when backstage at events. How they present themselves when meeting designers, how they interact with other models/stylists, etc. What I dislike the most, and I do see this from time to time, is models that bad mouth the designers they're supposed to be representing on the runway/stage. Models who complain about the wardrobe that was chosen for them to wear. This is 100% unacceptable and disgusting behaviour.

I've had this happen to me ONCE in the past, and my response was 'That's fine, you don't need to walk.' I don't have time to beg and plead models to wear my designs, and no designer would ever accept such poor behaviour from anyone.
The only time I would consider changing a models outfit would be if the sizing was off. Not because they didn't like the style/color of the design. Ridiculous.


This year I applied for Atlantic Fashion Week Season 13 and was accepted! :D I was thrilled at the chance to return for a third season, and was very excited for a few designers and their debut at AFW. :D I had been working all Spring/Summer on new designs that I would possibly show if accepted. I ended up with a collection of 16 looks for the runway and it was titled Reminiscences.
My main inspiration for this collection was remembering a time before social media, and cell phones. I wanted to incorporate fun pieces that reminded me of growing up in the 90's with a mashup of colors.

Atlantic Fashion Week does have their open model call every year in September, but with my husbands job schedule, I haven't been able to attend their open call yet. And, there's always the chance of me being out of the country during that time. So I begin searching for models several months prior to fashion week. Since the Spring, I had the chance of meeting/working with new models for various projects and began my list of potential runway models. Some I label my 'senior girls'. Models who I have worked with over the years, and have developed a good working relationship with. Others are new models that I've met/worked with only a few times, but they've impressed me enough to want to have them represent my brand on the runway.
I've also been working with L Models, formally NWH Models of Saint John for the last couple years, and can always rely on that agency for models. Owner of L Models, Lorraine Peters has a reputation of producing workable models and I am never disappointed when working with her. :)

This AFW I had the wonderful opportunity of not only showing on their opening night, but also opening the show as their first designer of the evening. :D Opening night was at the Halifax Shopping Centre. A new venue for me, and with a coffee kiosk giving out FREE coffee, that made my day! lol

I had several of my 'senior models', and a couple fresh faced models. The new girls I brought with me either never walked a big show like AFW, or only did 1 runway in the past. But I wouldn't have brought these girls to fashion week if I didn't have faith and confidence in them.

My show went off without a hitch! The models looked stunning in the outfits, and I felt 100% like Atlantic Fashion Week 2019 was my best season yet! :D I couldn't stop smiling all the way back home. (3 hour drive) :P

You can watch the full video from my runway showcase here. Captured by Michelle Tuppy. <3 

It was also great seeing some familiar faces in the audience/backstage. :) I arranged for VIP tickets for 2 pageant title winners. Sherri Muir Ms Scotsburn NS International 2019, and her daughter Scotia MacDonald, Miss Teen Scotsburn NS International 2019. Sherri msg'd me one day saying she would like to come see my showcase, and show her support. How could I not get her VIP tickets?! :) 

Last year while in Japan, I made gift bags filled with Japanese makeup products as a thank you for representing East Coast Couture at AFW. This year I decided to try something a little different. :) I got a name and contact info for a business in Saint John that does custom printing. Three Ladies Crafting creates unique gift ideas, and we decided to do a collab where they would make custom t shirts for my models. 

One of my favorite quotes is by Yves Saint Laurent - 'Fashions Fade, Style Is Eternal'. That particular quote has a lot of personal meaning to me, and I knew it was just too perfect for the front of the shirt. Then, we added the ECC logo on the back and after we got sizes from each model, I ordered about 18 shirts. :D 

I also kept one for myself. :P

Now, I will say this - I had some concerned messages about these shirts with the YSL quote, and I did my homework before I even contacted Three Ladies Crafting. :) As long as I am NOT selling these shirts (GIFTS ONLY), then there is absolutely zero worry about copyright issues. :) And my models LOVED their shirts. :D 

Not only did I sport this sweet shirt at AFW, I even wore it when I went back to Japan this year. :) It's just super comfortable and perfect to pair with jeans. 

I have to say a huge shoutout to Angela Campagnoni for welcoming back East Coast Couture once again to AFW. :) And to event photographer Stephanie Lane for capturing my collection on the runway. :D

The massive teams of stylists from Redken did an outstanding job on all models! I was SHOCKED at how amazing everyone looked prior to the show. :D 

I may apply for Atlantic Fashion Week again in 2020, and hopefully get to stay the entire length of the weekend. It would be great to see all designers on each night. The last few years I was unable to stay longer than my showing night due to having several planes to catch. lol

But who knows what 2020 will bring! :D


Now this final part of blog is directed towards a certain young lady who is not only beautiful on the outside, but the inside as well. I have worked with this young woman several times over this year, and she had her debut at Fashion Week. 

Kills it! 

I get a message from her mother after I returned from Japan saying how she was being bullied not only from classmates, but from their parents as well. How having the full runway experience at Fashion Week lifted her spirits and took her out of the funk she was in. This both saddened me, and warmed my heart at being able to help this young lady out.

Bullying is NEVER acceptable. Period! 

There is more to this story, but I will not get into heavy details. All I will say is NEVER let anyone make you feel less than you are. Do not let others steal your self confidence.

And in the words of Rihanna - 'Shine Bright Like A Diamond!' 

Leave those haters in the dust! 



That's all for this blog. :P It's 4:30am, and I'm EXHAUSTED! lol


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