Diane was born and raised in Winnipeg, the daughter of a commercial artist. Watching her father turn a pencil line into a three-dimensional drawing inspired her to visualize a flat piece of fabric or a strand of yarn morphing into fashion. She started sewing at 12 and knitting at 23, following trends she saw on the pages of Vogue and changing them just enough to make them her own. She learned that top quality materials were worth the investment, and to this day she appreciates the tactile beauty and colours of natural fibers – silk, woolens and cotton.
She spent most of her career working in the retail fashion industry. Management training taught her sales, merchandising, assortment and depth. Later, management of a multi-million dollar region with a national company gave her the business experience to round out her resume. In 2012, she decided to combine her love of fashion and fiber with her business and retail skills, and zed handmade was born.
I believe that the consumer’s need to connect to high quality hand-made goods with a local story is changing how business is done. My vision is to create and produce a line of hand-knit natural fiber accessories, bringing them to the marketplace in a setting that allows me to meet the very people who will wear these zed pieces.
My original designs take cues from nature ─ how the shape of a fern frond or a snail’s shell is simple yet profoundly beautiful. The finished products are distinctive and wearable with trending colours rotating through a primarily neutral palette, heavily influenced by my love of the West Coast ─ green foliage, brown cedar, grey fog, steel ocean, and beach-sand beige.
The zed brand has become a personal statement of my design belief ─ simple is powerful, simple is innovative. As I continue to design and hand-knit pieces that people love to wear, the alignment of my personal beliefs with the corporate values of zed handmade produces a lasting memory wrapped up in a soft warm package.