Dace Moore’s studio is tucked away around the corner from Main and Broadway, just far enough from the busy intersection that she has the small luxury of working without the white noise of traffic. Bolts of pillowy fabric are neatly stacked at one end of the room and a rack of samples—a preview of the Spring/Summer 2011 collection—stretch across the other. Between them lies Trout, Moore’s redbone hound, who springs up from his mattress to greet visitors at the door. It is exactly how one would picture the creative environment for this 10-year-old Vancouver clothing line: soft, subtle and sophisticated, like the collection it houses.
When launched in Spring/Summer 2001, Moore’s eponymous line, Dace, was a small one, with just seven styles sold to three stores. At the time, she was still working behind the scenes at United Snow and Skate, cranking the cogs of design: manufacturing and production. It was her first job in the industry, one she credits for instilling in her the confidence needed to take the leap and make it on her own.
In 2002, Moore managed to secure a small business loan, so she quit her day job and embarked on a cross-Canada tour to find new retailers. By year three, she began what would prove to be very successful forays across the border. Moore was making 60 per cent of her sales in the U.S. before the economy tanked in 2008, sinking half of the stores she was selling to. “We got stuck with a lot of merchandise,” she says. “Thank God we’d been working on our online store at the time—that’s really what saved us.”
The line’s online presence adds another lively dimension to Moore’s work. Her team was among the first in Vancouver to create narratives for the collection on video. They depict stunning young women who sip cappuccinos, ride motorcycles and write in diaries, and effortlessly capture the romanticism that has become synonymous with Moore’s clothing line. Unsurprisingly, the videos have gone viral, drawing customers to their online store.
The elegance of the Dace’s collection is in its simplicity—each piece finds its own expression through subtle, defining details. The gorgeous French lace she sourced for her 2010 collections comes to mind, which she used along the upper chest and neckline of her blouses to create a soft, feminine and almost pastoral look. Moore is careful in her choice of materials. Preferring natural fibres like silk, cotton and wool, there is a groundedness that Moore has gleaned from over a decade’s worth of experience. “I used to design the whole collection, then look for fabrics,” Moore says. “And it was always disappointing because I could never find what I envisioned. So now, I still have styles in mind, but I pick the fabric first.”
As she enlarges her technical skills, her repertoire swells accordingly—as does the size of her collection, which has grown to 40 pieces a season. Recently, she has also started working in small batches with local craftspeople to create a few limited edition pieces for her collections; Fall/Winter 2010 featured a hand-knit wool sweater and shawl made by artisans on Vancouver Island. The oversized sweater was personalized by Moore with double-breasted fastening and custom colour-blocking. Coming up in the latter part of Spring/Summer 2011 is a crocheted bikini sweetly made by Moore’s mother.
Moore’s acute attention to sensory details—the way clothes look and feel—evokes a maturity and sophistication that has evolved in the collection over Dace’s 10 successful years. And there will surely be another 10 to follow. Discerning shoppers expect so much more from their wardrobes today. They will find in Dace all the trademarks that define this new sense of quality: versatility, tactility, variety and fit—ultimately, a timeless collection that will spend more time out of the closet, than in one.
Photos: André Pinces.
UPDATE, July 10, 2017: Dace is no longer in business.