zed handmade

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. Spending the past seven years in the company of the other talented artists at Shiny Fuzzy Muddy has strengthened her resolve and belief in the power of handmade.

I don’t have to be a big producer to have a big impact. When I started zed handmade in 2011, big circular scarves were fairly new to retail fashion, and quite honestly, most of them were horrible - machine made using cheap fibers with no quality or connection to natural. I knew there was a need for exquisite hand-made goods with a local story.

My vision was to create and produce a line of hand-knit natural fiber accessories, bringing them to the marketplace in a setting that allowed me to meet the people who would wear these zed pieces. Every year for the past seven years, my customers have walked away with a sense of place (Vancouver style), a sense of integrity (quality and attention to detail) and design (from my heart). And more importantly, the experience of connecting with the maker; the human behind the product.

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. 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.