Damzels in this Dress - spring/summer 2002


Kelly Freeman and Rory Lindo hit the pavement for the ‘Corruption of Cute’

Is it better to grab the spotlight or to fashion something that tirelessly shimmers in the glare? Preferring the role of fashion deejays, Kelly Freeman and Rory Lindo get their stamp of notoriety by spinning thread of a different colour for their label Damzels in this Dress. This energetic (dare we say bubbly) Toronto design team is on a dizzying pace, six years after breaking onto the scene with a guerrilla street vending campaign. As if appealing to the discriminating tastes of Kirsten Dunst and Neve Campbell isn’t enough, Damzels in this Dress makes regular appearances on Dawson’s Creek. The sweet n’ tarty dresses are indeed raw testaments to rock goddesses everywhere who have attitude and want to flaunt it. It comes as a welcome alternative to the Miss Spears propriety that has swept through wardrobes like a cultural vacuum cleaner. “Canadian women really get our clothes,” says Freeman. “They’re not overdone.”

Damzels

We caught up with the damsels themselves at their Toronto Fashion Week fashion environment. Lindo is proud of their national zeitgeist. “We cover all major Canadian cities…and some smaller ones, too. Our willingness to ship overnight for special consumer requests helps to foster great relationships with the stores that carry our line.” The label is proficient in keeping its ear to the ground. What appears to be intrinsic knowledge for Damzels is the fact that original use of style is born on the street. Being twice voted Toronto’s best designers by “Eye” weekly reader surveys is the result of a dedicated campaign to keep customers informed, much of it online. The music scene is another germination point that Damzels is fully immersed in. “The Donna’s just turned twenty-one, so we made them ‘Beer’ touring T-shirts,” explains Freeman.

Although it may be all fun and games for Damzels in this Dress, they’re fully aware of the industry forces propping them up - many of their own design. Freeman and Lindo have built a solid consumer-level company, which has sometimes meant foregoing fashion shows. “We have a forty-piece collection of only dresses. It’s easy to market but we’re selective about where we sell,” says Freeman. While connecting with the right costume people in North Carolina has been auspicious for the duo, Lindo reaffirms their commitment to the loyal fan base that has gathered around them.

“Girls want us to be their little secret.” And decked out as their own best customers, their mantra rings true. “We’re the girls!”

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Marek Wlazlo, Photographer