Published Aug 08 2019 in Best fit, Canadian Designer, Canadian Made, Cherry Velvet Dresses, cotton dresses, Did you know?, Facts, Garment care, Limited Edition Fabrics, Made In Canada, Made in Vancouver, Pockets, Vancouver-designed, Washable Cotton
We love our customers and it makes us so happy when you love our dresses (and us) back! We're very proud of the way we do business and wanted to share with you a few facts that you may not know:
Diane Kennedy is the designer and owner of the brand. If you ever come by the studio, you'll most likely meet her and she'd love to meet you too.
By 'old-fashioned', we mean personal. It's very important to us that you get the help you need. In-person, by email or by phone. We are always here to help you!
We understand fit is a big concern when purchasing online. If you ever need help with sizing, please send your dress choices and measurements via e-mail so we can help you find your best fit.
If you call during regular business hours, a real person answers the phone. We are here Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, Pacific Standard Time.
Our amazing prints are hand-selected and 95% of the time are limited edition. We make almost all of our styles in small runs of 10-40 dresses. We have new styles and prints every season.
We have a very talented photographer on staff who photographs all of our local models and creates all of our official photos and videos.
We use high-quality cotton fabrics that are very easy to care for and are made to last. Our dresses are machine washable and hang to dry. We suggest smoothing out the wrinkles and the pockets when you hang your dress. Most of our customers do not iron their cotton dresses, but you can if you wish.
While some companies outsource, we design and make all our own patterns in our studio in Vancouver BC.
It can be difficult to ensure fair pay and proper treatment standards when manufacturing clothing offshore. That's why we only use local Vancouver-area factories for our manufacturing. Diane regularly visits the various factories to oversee the production of our dresses.
Definitely one the best facts...All of our dresses have POCKETS!!
XOX Cherry Velvet
Meet our #girlboss Diane at the Studio Shop this week in Vancouver:
Friday, August 9th from 2pm - 7pm
Saturday, Aug 10th from 11am - 5pm
1635 Powell Street in Vancouver, BC.
Free parking on the street (*please mind the parking signs for times) or in the parking lot beside the Flag Shop.
"This week we wanted to revisit this guest post by freelance writer Christina Myers. I would be lying if I said it didn't make a couple of us, here at the office, choke up a little. Christina is also a Cherry Velvet customer who decided to share with us her relationship with fashion and dresses. Thank you, Christina!"
Vintage fashion, self-love and the pleasure of pretty things...
I’ve always taken great pleasure in fashion – but for many years, that pleasure was reserved for browsing, only. I’d buy Vogue and Vanity Fair and spend hours relishing the designs and fabrics and accessories as they changed from year to year. Vintage anything, in particular, would catch my eye: cocktail dresses from the ‘50s, old-school silk and lace slips, war-era Victory roll hairdos. Don’t get me wrong: I loved modern things too (Tom Ford late ‘90s? Chanel all the way through the 1980s? Alexander McQueen basically any year ever? Yes, please!) But the things that always jumped out at me were the vintage touches: beaded clutches and Jackie O. pearls, glittery brooches and Mary Jane pumps, snug knee-length skirts and Cuban heeled stockings. If you think modern fashion in even its most simplistic, streamlined forms is a new-born beast each season, look again: vintage is everywhere, almost every year, though sometimes in just the tiniest details.
But, I struggled with the frivolity of fashion. I thought of myself as level-headed, smart – and strongly committed to feminist ideals, to boot. I worked in a field that required others to take me seriously. Was it fluffy-headed to like pretty things? Was I being silly and indulgent to care about this stuff?
Worse, I knew perfectly well that fashion could be a tool of oppression, a simple and effective extension of the intense scrutiny over female bodies – and a costly one at that, for an extra layer of gendered burden.
How was it possible that something that felt profoundly individualistic and pleasurable and even empowering – the fun I had in choosing a lipstick colour or a pair of shoes, the confidence I felt when indulging in certain outfits – was so laden with negative overtones? Could one be independent and intelligent and be taken seriously – and still enjoy a crinoline from time to time?
These were not idle thoughts but genuine debates I had with myself as I considered my responsibility not just to myself, but as a member of a larger “womanhood.”
On top of that, like many women, I struggled with my body – the food I ate, the shape of it, the way it changed through puberty and adulthood and motherhood. From my early teens forward, the message I heard was clear: unless you’re perfect, you need to cover up.
The result of all this body image/self-perception/internal philosophy was a wardrobe of black, with high necklines and long sleeves – and a lot of not-quite-being-myself-in-my-own-body. I’d treat myself to a pair of pretty tights or a satin purse or dramatic earrings – then tuck them away for “someday.”
It’s impossible to do that forever, without being unhappy. For me, a series of seismic life shifts, starting in my mid-20s, slowly – glacially slow at times – allowed me to come into myself in ways that were colourful, individual and most importantly, unapologetic.
It turns out that the unexpected result of indulging in the fashion that I loved – regardless of current trends or the disapproval of others or even my precise body shape at any given time – had the precise opposite effect I had feared when I was younger.
I don’t feel silly or self-indulgent, childish or fluffy – I feel like a woman in charge of herself.
It is a work in progress, and like most women, I’d be lying if I said I walk out of the house feeling divine every single day. I often pile on dramatic accessories, then take them back off. I try to tame my hair and lament when it’s bigger than it should be. I second-guess a polka-dot dress or a particularly bright pair of knee socks and wonder if I should go back upstairs and change. And it ain’t all silks and satins: many days, what makes me happiest is a pair of black leggings, an oversized sweatshirt, a ponytail and a pair of flip flops.
The point, though, is this: I dress for myself and I take intense pleasure in doing so – whether it’s dressing up or dressing way down – and if onlookers enjoy it, or don’t, is entirely secondary.
Discovering Cherry Velvet several years ago now, at the tail end of a lot of personal change, was (at the risk of sounding overly dramatic) a revelation.
The dresses were gorgeous, for sure: vintage shapes, big skirts, figure-hugging in the best ways even for curvy bodies.
But it was the spirit of the dresses that I fell in love with.
They’re meant to stand out. They are totally unapologetic. The fabrics are quirky at times, irreverent and fun. Squirrels and birds. Bicycles. Flamingos. Sushi rolls, anyone? Some are elegant, in classic colours and muted tones or bright primaries. They’re fun, and intentionally so. They’re pretty, elegant or cute, depending on the fabric and design. And let’s not mince words: they are ALL sexy as hell. (And, the cherry on top: the company is owned by a woman, the dresses are designed by that same woman, and the manufacturing happens locally – not to mention ethically, which can’t be said for most overseas clothing production.)
(Christina with her sister, both loving the same dress :)
But here’s the most important thing, in my opinion: these dresses are made to be worn. They’re comfortable and sturdy (yes, sturdy, and how often can you say that about a dress), practical (I’m talking pockets) and a breeze to take care of. They’re easy to get in and out of, with long zippers, or shapes that you can simply pull over the head.
In other words, they are made FIRST AND FOREMOST for the person wearing them. Think about that for a moment. They’re made with the woman who will wear them as the primary focus. Shouldn’t be so revolutionary, but it is.
A majority of fashion is made to look good to an observer but doesn’t feel so good to the person wearing it. Outfits are designed and made like props, objects one is required to “put up with” for the benefit of the world. The phrase “suffering for fashion” comes to mind.
But if I am truly dressing for myself, it can’t be just about the way a thing looks, it’s also fundamentally about how I feel while wearing it. And Cherry Velvet nails it.
I recently went out for a long-awaited celebration dinner with a group of women friends. All of us are CV fans and we each wore one of our CV dresses.
Not one of us wears the same size or even has the same shape. Between us we have given birth to nine children. We all have body image “junk,” parts of our bodies we like more or less. And we all enjoy very different things when it comes to colour and design.
The result? We were proud as peacocks in our dresses; from my solid cherry-red to my friend’s bluebird print, we were wearing every colour of the rainbow. We added cute-as-pie shoes, cardigans for our shoulders (hey, it’s still dang cold out), sparkly bead necklaces or pearls or no accessories at all, and off we went.
And every single one of us felt incredible. How often does that happen with a group of women? We were comfortable. Sexy. Smart. Fun.
We had a waitress take our photo and I sent it to Cherry Velvet that same night with a note about which designs we were each wearing. We are grinning like mad fools.
And though it was left unsaid, that photo for me was really a thank you – a way to say “look at us, all so different and so imperfect and so very, very beautiful being ourselves.”
Because what I’ve figured out, at long last, is that being different and imperfect – in body, in thought, in fashion - is not an impediment to being me.
Being different and imperfect – and feeling good about this – is, in fact, the very basis of being exactly who I am, as it is for all of us.
Christina Myers for Cherry Velvet
Christina Myers is a former journalist turned freelancer and creative writer. Her work appears in local magazines and she has been published in a number of anthologies. She is a fan of dresses with pockets, long socks and nerdy things. Find her online at christinaplus.wordpress.com, or on Twitter @ChristinaMyersA.
With our pattern maker away on maternity leave - our designer, Diane, found herself back in the sewing room - For the first time in years!
Diane has always been very hands-on when it comes to all facets of our dresses' production. As a seasoned fashion designer, she closely manages the pattern making and fittings, as well as monitoring production at our local factories.
Diane's background in sewing started at very early age. Fun fact - She made all her own clothes during her high school years and often sewed for other people. In grade 9, her sewing teacher actually paid her to sew for her! With style constantly on her mind and proven "clientele" at such a young age, she knew she found her calling and has been designing ever since.
And so, years later, with our Doris dress going into production once more, Diane wanted to make an adjustment to the pattern to improve fit. After all, even a classic can use an edit once and awhile.
The shoulder straps, while designed to go over a bra, were fitting too wide on somebody with a narrower shoulder. Diane administered a fit correction to the pattern and took the opportunity to sew herself a new dress in our Spinderella print, so she could test out the correction.
After this most recent session at the sewing machine, Diane was so delighted to remember how much she loved to sew - even after so many years! It's true; you never forget your first love ❤️
"It's such a wonderfully satisfying feeling to be able to design, make the pattern and complete a dress from start to finish". - Diane Kennedy
Diane's style of designing dresses has always been this kind of old-fashioned, "use all the best ingredients" approach. From the 100% cotton prints she carefully chooses to the YYK zippers that are a well-known industry standard, Diane's passion can be seen in her commitment to her designs.
Cherry Velvet's mission statement has always been to create a line of classic garments with exceptional fit and we hope this behind-the-scenes peek at our designer's process has helped illustrate her devotion for design!
XOX Cherry Velvet
As a proudly Canadian company, we love working with local brands and businesses that exemplify the level of care & quality that we maintain ourselves.
...So...that being said...
...have you met Pam? ♥️
She's the lovely face & talented hands of Mirror Mirror Bijoux, a well-known local jewellery designer here in Vancouver, BC and an overall entrepreneurial force.
She also loves our dresses 😘 (She's Team Chrissy!)
Under MMB, she designs and handmakes vintage-inspired jewellery that echoes old Hollywood glamour. Primarily working in crystal and glass, she adds elegant detail like ethereal finishes that sparkle like the night's sky.
She’ll often also incorporate real vintage beads or brooches into her pieces, giving that legit Vintage vibe.
CV Aficionados will be quite familiar with her & MMB, we not only carry her jewellery, including exclusive pieces, but she sometimes drops by our events...
...and often pops in to collaborate with our designer, on the next beautiful baubles to go with our dresses.
Whenever they meet, they pour over a multitude of beads and pendants, to create complementary pieces that add versatility and flair to our clients' wardrobe.
Recently, she's branched out to save us all from the worst thing imaginable...A bad hair day!
Have you tried a Great Hair Day Turband? We have!
They're easy-to-wear, insta-wow accessories for those days when a ponytail or plain ol' hat simply won't do.
Want to try one? Pam will be on hand at our next studio shop weekend @ 1635 Powell Street with a variety to try!
Friday :: July 5th :: 2pm-7pm
Saturday :: July 6th :: 11am-5pm
We hope you enjoyed this little spotlight on one of our favourite local entrepreneurs.
We think it's so important to support our fellow #womeninbusiness ♥️
XOX Cherry Velvet
Published Jun 14 2019 in
A couple blogs ago, we introduced you to a family that's been a regular fixture at our studio since our first in Gastown so many moons ago!
Brandi Snow recently took home her 47th dress and we had a chance to gather some of her thoughts about our dresses and how they fit into her lifestyle and allow her to express herself.
When/Where do you wear our dresses?
I mainly switched to dresses as my primary clothing option because it was convenient in the morning. The idea of getting my clothes ready the night before was not an appealing option for me. Rather than turning the lights on in the morning and disturbing my husband just to find matching pants & tops, I can just grab a dress and dark leggings (if the weather was colder) – After a while, I ended up wearing dresses most weekends as well because they were comfortable!
We love that you find dresses more convenient than having to pair separates - we totally agree! The last thing we need is fussy fashion, right?
Your dresses are super comfortable, they're fun, and have pockets – which means I can throw my phone in a pocket and go. They are appropriate for work, can be worn casually on weekends, and dressed up for fancier occasions. I’ve ended up loving Cherry Velvet and having them take over my closet!
How did you discover us?
We found Cherry Velvet quite by chance at The 2014 Taboo Naughty but Nice Trade Show in Vancouver. At the time, I was in my late thirties, post-kid. Finding clothing that I liked at that time was not always an easy task – I no longer wanted something I would have worn as a teenager or in my twenties and I certainly did not want to shop anywhere that had clothing for people my mother’s age (no offense to my mom or people in her generation intended!) There didn’t seem to be a lot in between until I found CV. We weren't looking for dresses at the show, but was pleasantly surprised; the dresses were fun and cute, but also classic.
So what made you keep coming back to us? ;)
Five years after finding Cherry Velvet, you probably account for 95% of what’s in my closet. I love the diversity in your dresses - loud/bright/bold or reserved/understated – whatever your personality, mood, or the occasion, there is a Cherry Velvet dress to match! The consistent styles make future purchases easier as I know what size to purchase and how the dress will fit.
Not a week goes by that I don’t get complimented on one of your dresses. While some of the dresses are more geared towards one season, most of the dresses can be worn year round, often with the help of a cardigan, which means I get more wear out of them and don’t have to bother storing away clothing, to be reorganized into my closet every winter or summer depending upon the season.
We love to keep you practical & pretty, year 'round! ♥️
Here's a delicate one and we appreciate your honesty...We receive some feedback regarding our prices once and awhile - Has our price range ever deterred you?
Not sure if it was age, having a kid, or just becoming more knowledgeable as a whole, but when I discovered your dresses, I was at a time in my life where I started wanting to be more aware of what I was spending money on and actually using my dollars to support things that I believe in.
Purchasing from Cherry Velvet allows me to spend money on values that are important to me – You are a local small business; your dresses are well made and they have a huge focus on employee sustainability, diversity, and living wages. All the while, because the dresses are retro I can wear them for years without adding cheap, poorly made clothes to the land fill.
Why wouldn’t I purchase a dress that I love that I can wear for five+ years?
We're positively blushing at everything Brandi shared with us and are absolutely humbled by her devotion! We love that our customers appreciate the detail & care that goes into every one of our garments.
How do our dresses make YOU feel? Let us know in the comments or drop us a line!
XOX Cherry Velvet
...We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog post for an ANNOUNCEMENT!
Ever since we started holding regular open studio shop weekends, we've wanted to make sure ya'll can Save-The-Dates on our events as soon as you can. We understand how busy life can get and want to ensure everyone has a chance to get some retail therapy in. #selfcare is a thing, after all 😉
Have a peek at this month below & bookmark our new Events Page!
Can't make it out? Can't wait? :: Book a Personal Shopping Appointment with us! ::
We can't wait to see y'all! ♥️
XOX Cherry Velvet
BLOGGIN' NEXT WEEK :: PART 2 of our customer spotlight on The Snow Family.
In the many years that we have been in operations here in beautiful Vancouver, BC, we've watched our customers come and grow into an enthusiastic, body positive community.
Feeling so blessed to have such wonderful people supporting us, we wanted to take a moment or two to recognize one such family, who have been delighting us at our studio with their excitement and charm since 2014.
May we present to you, The Snow Family.
You might recognize Jon, the provocative patriarch, as our erstwhile model for our Men's line of shirts...
But the real Belle of the Ball is the buxom and beautiful, Brandi Snow.
...And of course, we cannot forget our "Littlest Velvet", Miss Isobel!
Even though we don't offer Girls' sizes, we love that Isobel can't get enough of our styles.
It warms our heart to see how much she loves to match with her mum & dad.
But it touches us even more than she's always the first to our door, so eager to help out the team. We love our little Hanger-wrangler! With fashion on her mind, we may have a young designer in our midst...
We love that each member actually has their own favourite look -
Of course Jon loves all our Mens' shirts, but as a lover of all things V, the Chrissy & Marie are Jon's fave dresses (who doesn't love adjustable cleavage?) Both Isobel and Brandi are currently Team Brigitte, with our Pandamonium Print on point.
But Brandi admits that she will always have a fond place her in heart for one of her first styles (and one of our earlier designs), a little number named, "Melody".
We think it's so neat that Jon was able to send us this old snap from a past Studio Shop way back at our old Gastown location.
...Could this have been the very moment she decided to say "Yes" to the Dress? ;)
Stay tuned! In next week's blog, Brandi shares her thoughts on aging gracefully and why 95% of her wardrobe is Cherry Velvet dresses! <3
XOX Cherry Velvet
There is a buzz of excitement here at Cherry Velvet headquarters. The rumours are true, Ms. Tracy Po has returned to the Cherry Velvet fold and we couldn't be happier. Tracy is fulfilling her new role here as the Social Media Manager for Cherry Velvet so stay tuned for some very fun, and creative content on our social media pages.
Tracy brings an intimate knowledge of our brand and buckets of positivity and enthusiasm. Diane, our designer describes her as a (t)whirling dervish of energy. Tracy comes in like a wrecking ball of sunshine and has been quoted as saying "In all honesty, I'm the kind of person that turns lemons into lemon vodka and would rather look forward with my eye on the horizon than look down behind me."
With a passion for all things Disney. (Guys, she REALLY loves Disney!) and a unique and amazing sense of style and upbeat personality, it's kind of like having Mary Poppins join the team.
When she was asked why she was excited to work for Cherry Velvet, Tracy said "I love seeing the delight on our clients' faces when they see how wonderfully our dresses fit them. You wouldn't know it by looking at me, but I have struggled and continue to struggle with my weight. I know how depressing and disheartening it feels to have to settle for a less than perfect dress. I love that Cherry Velvet takes care of confidence-boosting style for our clients. It is incredibly inspiring to work for a brand that promotes the idea of being #StunningAtAnySize!"
Always whistling while she works, she has a passion for customer service. She'll be working at our Studio Shop this weekend. Come say "Hi"!
Friday, May 17 from 2pm-7pm + Saturday, May 18 from 11am-5pm
Welcome back to Cherry Velvet, Tracy! We're all so happy to have you as part of the team.
XOX Cherry Velvet
There’s a part of me that never outgrew the dress-up stage of childhood. Back then it was pretending to be an empress or witch-queen – anything that was equal parts regal, mysterious, and magical.
These days, give me a halfway good reason, and I’ll still spend the better part of an afternoon getting all dolled up for an evening out. It’s a lengthy process that starts, of course, with deciding which dress suits the occasion and my mood. After that, a host of secondary decisions: does it need a crinoline? Which shoes will match? How should I do my hair and makeup? Then there’s jewelry, accessories, a purse, hosiery, and various underthings. It’s dress-up, but for adults: less “witch-queen” and more “grown-up glamour” – but still full of whimsy and pleasure. Admittedly, getting “dressed up” like this can take a lot of time, and most of us wait for special occasions when the extra effort seems worth it. In the meantime, our dresses end up relegated to the back of the closet, on hold until a special dinner, wedding, or some other equally fancy event crops up. But wearing a dress is not always the same as getting “dressed up.” Believe it or not, wearing a dress can be just about the simplest wardrobe decision to make, and the most comfortable and efficient way to get dressed and out the door in the morning.
Everyday Easy Dresses
Without fail, when I wear a dress someplace casual – like picking up the kids after school or having a quick coffee with a friend – I get a compliment for taking the time and energy to get “dressed up.”
But pulling that dress over my head and popping on a pair of shoes was likely much more simple - and more comfortable – than any other outfit I might have chosen. More often than not, the dress was the easy solution. Pants and tops have to be coordinated. Waistbands pinch and pull. Shorts ride up uncomfortably. Trousers rarely fit properly in length or inseam without tailoring. Blouses come untucked, skirts twist around. To be honest, it feels like I’ve cheated my way into this compliment when I get it - and I almost always confess this sentiment to the person offering it. People see a dress and assume it’s taken a lot more effort because we’ve married the idea of dresses to the notion of being dressed up. Or, even worse, we’ve concluded that dresses themselves are uncomfortable and unwieldy – usually because we’ve worn styles that didn’t suit our bodies, made out of unpleasant or cheap material, or were constricting and uncomfortable in some way.
Keep It Simple
Obviously not all dresses will do for everyday wear. Leave the satin and sequins for evening glamour and fancy events. Instead, go for less structured shapes (I like an empire waist because it feels so comfortable for my body type) and try a cotton dress, in a simple colour or with a fun, lighthearted print. Skip the fancy hair and makeup. Pop on a cardigan and wear it with a pair of white Keds, simple sandals, or even flip-flops. Pull on a pair of matching capri or full-length leggings underneath, if the weather is cooler; in warm weather, don’t worry about hose or tights at all. Finish with a ponytail or messy bun. No doubt, dresses won’t work for everything. You’ll still need the right kind of clothing to hit the gym or weed the garden (although I’ve been known to mow the lawn in a simple t-shirt dress). But for almost all other settings and activities, don’t overlook the ease of a dress. It really can be as simple, or as complicated, as you want it to be.
Fancy is Still Fun
Wearing a dress doesn’t need to be a major production – it can be as easy as pulling on a pair of pajamas, but just a lot more fashionable. The notion that a dress is complicated, fussy, or time-consuming is largely a reflection of how we perceive fashion, and the abundance of ill-fitting, constrictive, overly stuffy or too-formal dresses many of us have in our closets. But if you find the right dress, the simplicity will surprise you … and you won’t want to keep it tucked away in the closet for a special occasion anymore. And if even the easiest of easy dresses still leaves you feeling a little bit fancy? Take a deep breath and just go for it anyway: you’re never too old for dress-up, even if you’re only going to the grocery store.
Over 200 Rock Star Makies brought their beautiful handmade goodies to the PNE Forum and we were there! It was our first time having a booth and it was so much fun!
Thank you so much to all those that came out to see us and brought such good vibes. We LOVE the reaction of new customers when they discover our fun printed dresses with pockets for the very first time. We managed to fit a small fitting room in our booth and the patrons took full advantage! One of the best parts was having new Cherry Velvet devotees step out of the dressing room in one of our dresses and having passersby commenting on how amazing they looked. Unsolicited compliments are always welcome!
Most of all we just love meeting our customers old and new. It means the world to us to be able to show you our new wonderful prints and get invaluable feedback. Our customers are the best!
What a great group of people that put on the show and participated. We're grateful to be part of such a badass group of Makies who are so positive, upbeat, and FUN. This show is well organized and so well run.
There were SO many incredible Makies, who also had amazing booths! Everything from art, jewelry, food, pottery, distilleries, nature photography, chocolate, clothing and so much more. It's such a special experience to meet like-minded entrepreneurs who share our passion and enthusiasm for doing the work they love and made locally.
We love being part of The Handmade Revolution and are so proud to make all our dresses right here in Vancouver as well as supporting other businesses that do the same. Hope to see you for the Christmas Market in December!
XOX Cherry Velvet