Dale McCarthy talks Fashion with Chia

Durban fashion designer Dale McCarthy, is making waves in the world of fashion with his use of feminine fabrics and corsetry. I paid Dale a visit to find out more…

So who is Dale McCarthy?

I’m just a regular, down to earth guy who enjoys meeting new people. I’m pretty easy-going and I don’t really let tense situations get to me-life’s too short for unnecessary stress.

Do you have a mantra or life philosophy?

You are responsible for your own success in life. That’s pretty much what it all boils down to, for me personally. If a worthwhile opportunity comes my way I grab it with both hands.
Also, treat others as you would like to be treated – a notion instilled in me by my mother from a very young age, it’s something that I live by. I firmly believe in karma.

How and why did you become involved in fashion design?

It started when I was a little guy, making miniature replicas of costumes from films. A very strange hobby I’ll admit, but it fuelled my passion for fashion design. I became interested to learn about the construction of garments and how, technically, a flat piece of fabric can be sculpted into something magnificent. After enrolling at the DUT, my love for fashion was really unleashed. It was something that developed naturally; I just knew that I wanted to dress women in stunning gowns and dresses to make them feel special and beautiful.

What influences your designs?

I’m influenced by life – people, nature, colours. I don’t draw inspiration from one exclusive source. I try and make my designs feminine and whimsical, without being too sickly-sweet either. I enjoy making light-hearted, fun clothes. And I love making corsets too. Corsetry is another influence of mine when it comes to designing ladies wear.

Career highlights?

Winning both Best Range and Best Technical Range at the annual DUT fashion show last year was a huge honour for me. It was incredibly humbling as a student to be acknowledged for all of my efforts after many weeks of hard work.

Your latest project?

I’m currently in the process of dyeing and pleating a sculptured collar piece for a beautiful bias evening gown, for a function next week. This is what I love, working one on one with a client, tailoring a gorgeous dress for her from the ground up! I will also be putting together another range of ladies garments including eveningwear, party and cocktail dresses and corsets too.

Where will we find you on weekends?

When I’m not holed up at home furiously working away on my BTech (which I’m basing on period corsetry-surprise!) I’m usually doing a bit of retail therapy at Gateway. You’ll probably find me in one of the clothing stores- just head to the skinny jeans section. Or you could probably find me in a bookshop – I can get absolutely lost in books, time means nothing when I’ve found a good book to sink my teeth into.

Your music collection consists of?

Oh I have a very eclectic taste in music. Right now I’m going through a Tina Turner phase, but the Black Eyed Peas, Toto, Blondie, Adam Lambert, Muse, Queen and the Killers are just a teeny sampling of my favourite artists. But it changes and grows constantly as with everything.

Favourite Durban hotspots?

Beanbag Bohemia, where I spent the best New Year’s ever last year. I love the ambience – very chilled and laid back. On the flipside I enjoy Burn as well – especially the dress up parties as any chance to wear a fancy dress costume and I’m there!

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