World-famous designer appears in PerrysburgWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
On Oct. 5, customers at the Perrysburg men’s specialty shop V Couture got the chance to meet one of the people responsible for the clothes sported on the store’s racks. World-famous menswear designer Daniel Dolce visited the store for its “Cocktails and Couture” event.
In an interview with Toledo Free Press Star, the New York-based Dolce said that he gets a lot out of attending events like the one held at V Couture.
“It gives me a chance to interface with the customer directly, as opposed to just working with a buyer or a store owner. I can actually get the consumer’s feedback on things like, ‘Oh, yes, I like that stripe,’ or ‘The fit of your shirt is phenomenal,’ or ‘The tie is ugly,’” Dolce said.
This appearance in Perrysburg was the third for Dolce in recent years, and he said that his memories of prior visits are all colored by his impressions of the area’s customers.
“The memory that I have of the past appearances is how sophisticated the customer is here. And that I love to see, because I sell many of my more fashion-forward shirts and ties and cufflink designs to a customer base here that is many ways different to stores that are similar to V Couture, but that are in other areas of the country,” Dolce said.
“Toledo is not necessarily thought of as being the fashion capital of the world, but the customer base here is phenomenal. They’re much more fashion-forward thinking than you might expect, so each of my visits here has been very, very interesting from the standpoint of what we are able to sell.”
With over 40 years experience in fashion behind him, Dolce’s work with men’s shirts, ties and cufflinks have made him among the most popular designers working today. But this wasn’t always the plan.
“I was supposed to be a doctor. And then, when I failed freshman biology in college, my mother decided I’d be a lawyer. So I actually went to law school a year and a half, and passed everything, but I hated it,” Dolce admitted.
“I always loved fashion. My mother owned a women’s apparel store, and I kinda grew up in that store. But I was never really interested in women’s wear; it was men’s that I really liked, menswear. So, I started working there part time in high school, and then part time when I was in college, and then full time after that, and then it just sort of emerged. It’s really been the passion of my life, the fashion industry, so I love it.”
Dolce noted that his attitude toward design has changed over the years, and that change has led to greater success.
“I think that the way I have changed is that my own taste level has emerged in a somewhat different way, in the sense that I’m more experimental now with colors. So, for example, now I might put brown and orange together, or purple and orange together, where a number of years ago, or many years ago, I would have never put orange and purple together,” he said.
Sophistication and a streak of nonconformity bolster Dolce’s work, he said. “That’s the reason I’m so successful. The industry has gone in the other direction. The industry has gone much more conservative, so that if a man wants something that is new and interesting and different, I am an excellent resource for that customer. And that’s one of the reasons for the growth of my company.”
Dolce also stressed how his clothes walk a line between high quality and high price. “Stores are able to see that I’m able to offer a great deal of fashion, but what I’m best known for is a price-value relationship. I use the best piece goods you can get, the best make that you can put into the garment, and the price is actually very, very fair for what the product is.
“So, I’m not the most expensive, but I’m not inexpensive. And for a price-value standpoint, store owners and buyers are able to recognize that, and also the customer — once the customer puts the shirt on, he sees it.”
For fans the world over, including the many he met at V Couture on Friday, Dolce’s work is a breath of fresh air in a somewhat staid fashion world. But he’s quick to stress that it is not his passion for the unusual alone that has made his brand so successful.
“It’s not experimentation as much as it is the taste level, a sense of style that goes beyond the expected. You know, I like to say that my fashion sings, it doesn’t shout. It’s understandably different. Anyone who wears my product is not going to be looked at and say, ‘Oh, what’s that guy wearing?’ It’s going to be, ‘Oh, that’s a really nice outfit.’ And that’s really how it has emerged.”