Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ruby Ellen Designs

After starting Ruby Ellen Designs three years ago, Ruby Johnson is now busier than ever. "I'm making 40 dresses right now," said Johnson.

In a tiny room above Eleven:Eleven boutique in Kensington, packed from floor to ceiling with fabric is where all the magic happens.

"I never wanted to, never had a dream, to be a business owner," said Johnson.  "That was for people who knew how to run a business, I just knew how to sew."

After exhausting herself handing out resumés while working on a wedding, she thought that she might as well just give it a try, and do her own thing.

"They (clients) can't find something their looking for, can't find something that fits, can't find the right style, whatever."

That's when they come to Ruby.

The creation process starts with an idea from the client and then moves onto talk of fabrics.

The first meeting usually takes the most time, followed by three to six fittings. And in the end is a beautiful one of a kind dress.

"My dream is to help women feel beautiful for their special occasion."

Stepping out of her comfort zone a few seasons ago, she decided to create for the runway.

"I struggled producing my own line," said Johnson.

"I was so used to taking someone else's ideas and making it happen."

"But I would still be hemming jeans in my basement if it hadn't been for Alberta Fashion Week."

"It came with the confidence of doing it," said Johnson. "Listening to people, what they liked about a given collection, and what their comments were."

Now into her fourth season, the struggle has lessened, and everything is generally well planned out before she gets started.

Recently Ruby Ellen Designs ventured to Brooklyn, to show in front of a packed audience of 500.

"Nothing I showed in Calgary, ever prepared me for an experience in New York."

"It was absolutely amazing, totally different," said Johnson. "It was huge, a huge venue, extremely organized and well ran."

Coming up next on her schedule is a fundraiser for Sonshine Community Services 'Walking in Sunshine', presented by Ruby Ellen Designs.

It will be on International Women's Day, March 8, at the Lougheed House.

Along with fashion shows there will be an afternoon tea, a chance to interact with the designers, followed by another show and a supper.

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