Hamilton designer hoping to expand her clothing line to include custom tights
Five years ago, Amber Wynne was admiring a tutu that her mom made for her newborn niece, when an idea struck: she would wear a floorlength tutu to an upcoming New Year’s EveDeadmau5 show in Niagara Falls.
All she had to do was learn how to make one. So she asked her mom, a former seamstress who had made all of Wynne’s competitive figure skating outfits back in the day, to teach her.
Soon a floor-length tutu in pink, black and white was born. And not long after, a new career path for Wynne, who also works as an OHIP specialist for pt Health physiotherapy clinics.
“Everybody kind of made fun of me. That is what I wanted to wear and I went to the event, wore it, and people started asking me where I got it,” recalls Wynne, 31, who now owns a thriving custom tutu business called Tutus by Amber, which includes headpieces, wine glasses outfitted with tiny tutus, and soon, tights. “And I said, well, I made it.”
Photos from the Deadmau5 show were posted to social media and she was inundated with requests for custom tutus for kids, adults, pets.
“People were like, ‘I’m going to a football game. Can you make me a Patriots tutu?’” says Wynne, a house music fanatic who is her own walking advertisement at raves and music events. “And then it was, ‘Can you make my daughter a tutu?’ Oh, OK. And then I started making more for myself when I was going to different events and then it spiralled.”
Bridal and bachelorette parties are big right now, says Wynne, who will frequently outfit an entire wedding party in tiers of tulle. And despite the fact that she will assemble any combination of colours, pink remains the most popular. And pets? “Dog tutus are huge here,” says Wynne, who counts many fashion forward pets in the United Kingdom as clients. “Dog tutus are more popular than cat tutus.”
Wynne describes her own style as colourful, outgoing, bright and will often wear her own tulle designs when out and about with friends. In fact, she wore the Princess Peach tutu she has paired here with a floral tank, nude bike shorts and vintage mint green pumps, to her Super Mario-themed birthday party last year. She boasts between 30 and 40 pairs of tights and is hoping to expand her line to include custom tights.
“The main focus right now is to get a tights line out there,” she says. “Get those different materials, something that you’re not going to find in store, something that is custom made and be able to put a tutu with it, too. But the goal is to get tights out there and to continue to expand in different ways with the tutus.” Most eye-catching piece: I have three: the peacock tights my mother and I made together, neon tie-dye tights … and I have a neon summer dress that is a standout. It’s just spaghetti straps, it’s straight cut along the chest. It’s short and flares out. And it’s just neon pink. Quirkiest wardrobe item: Either my unicorn onesie that is
three times too big on me but I had to have it because I love unicorns, or my bright pink snowsuit. (The unicorn onesie is) plush, it’s got the unicorn hood on it; it has a big unicorn tail on it. It’s like fleece pyjamas but it’s three times too big and has the big zipper down the front. I love sitting in it in the winter.
My pink snowsuit that I just got last winter is a matching jacket and snow pants that are pink and floral. Wardrobe must-have: Tights … I do have my black standard pair, I have my burgundy, I have my grey, but they have to be my flashy tights. If they’re not ones that I’ve made, they’re likely Lululemon. Because they always have really neat prints in the Lululemon tights, too. And I can also wear kids (sizes) in Lululemon. Best purchase: My leather jacket … I was wearing my peacock tights, wearing my True Hamiltonian, Hamilton is Home shirt. I was going to the (True Hamiltonian) spring launch party and I needed something to complete that outfit. I had an hour, went out, bought a leather jacket and I am obsessed with it.
I bought it at a store in Jackson Square and it’s just a black leather jacket … it’s got a couple of zippers on the arms in the front. It’s perfect … I like jackets but I don’t wear them all that often. I prefer wearing sweaters. So when I found this jacket and wore it out that night, I felt so positive and bad-ass, almost. And you can’t get me out of it now. Regrets buying: I don’t regret buying anything. I don’t buy something unless I absolutely love it and I have to have it. Loves to shop at: Everywhere … because I do bus everywhere I get to walk everywhere … so I love window shopping and if something catches my eye I will go into that store. So for me it’s not anywhere specific, unless I’m making my stuff. I love to shop at Ann’s Fabric Shop (on Upper James). Ridding her closet of: Shoes and clothes that I just don’t wear. Because I own probably over 100 pairs of shoes. And I don’t need them all. Splurges on: Shoes, clutches and sunglasses. Everybody gets the shoes thing. Clutches for me, I love my Coach and my Guess clutches because when I’m going out to these events, I don’t want a big purse on me. I want a small purse on me. And I love the ones that can catch my eye and I always love to be able to match a bag with my outfit … same as my sunglasses. I love matching my sunglasses to outfits. When I was designing my rave outfits consistently, it included having a matching pair of sunglasses.
Beauty product she can’t live without:
Lipstick. No particular brand. The brighter, the better. I love red lipstick and it’s only been the past few years that I’ve gotten into wearing the red lipstick or a bright pink.
“There’s always typically one thing that’s the focus of my outfit,” tutu designer Amber Wynne says of how she likes to put together an outfit. In this case, her Princess Peach tutu stands out against a floral tank from Ardene and a pair of mint green vintage pumps.
When she started her design business, kids’ tutus were more in demand than those for adults, says Amber Wynne. “It definitely took a turn for more the adult side — bachelorette parties and bridal parties, stag and does or all the bridesmaids in the stag and doe.”
“It gives me a creative outlet, it gives me somewhere to go after a rough day at work or a rough day in the office or just to escape,” says Wynne, who also designs headpieces and flower hair pins like the one she wears here.
Shoes are a weakness for Wynne, who found these mint green pumps at a vintage garage sale downtown.