Tag Archives: fashion designer

Ramblings of a Rebel with a Cause!

Ramblings of a Rebel with a Cause!

Ramblings of a Rebel with a Cause! — Linda Knight Seccaspina

In 1967 I was very excited to go to the London School of Fashion Design in London, England. Sadly my mentor, my grandfather, died that August so all was shot to hell as they say. My Dad was very busy with his business, being a town councilman and a man of the community. I was barely 16 and one thing that had gotten his attention was that I was very different and he didn’t care for it. I dressed in the latest fashion styles that I made and I stuck out like a big sore thumb. In a small town where your father is a prominent fixture word travels around like a brush fire that someone is out of the box somewhere.

I was labeled “the daughter that Arthur Knight had so much trouble with”. Yes, I was probably and admitedly a rebel teeenager, there is no argument to that. But, fashion was my first love, and I knew I would never work in a bank or become a home economics teacher. 

So after heated arguments with my father I left home and headed to Montreal. I attended fashion design school where I instantly became bored. Instead of the great 60’s fashion and styles that I was expecting, my teacher made me make patterns of 1950’s styles. After classes I would go into store after store, just absorbing the culture and the “joie de vivre”  of Montreal fashion.

Graduation couldn’t come fast enough for me. After completing my course, I had to find a job. Twiggy, Mary Quant and all the Carnaby Street styles were everywhere and guess who was wearing them? My Dad was getting remarried and gave me 75 dollars to buy something for his wedding. Being the drama queen I purchased a black velvet Twiggy mini dress and a black floor length Dr. Zhivago style coat. It was a real floor duster with black faux fur trim. Omar Shariff would have been proud– or maybe not!

When I went for job interviews I had to wear that outfit as my personal fashion budget was bankrupt.  Most clothing manufactures were not yet into the Carnaby look in 1967 and I was told time after time:

 “Kid, get yourself another coat– or you will never get a job!”

Defiant, of course I had to be me and soon got a job at Le Chateau on St. Catherine Street hemming pants. It was the very first Le Chateau store and when I left 6 months later they were opening their second store on St. Hubert. 

With a year long fashion design course under my belt I finally found a job at THE FINE TOGS CLOTHING CO. It was a children’s manufacturer run by Blossom and Hy Hyman. Actually Blossom ran the company and Hy smiled a lot and played golf. They thought I was a spunky kid and if I had stayed there would have probably been retiring from the company about five years ago. I was raised by my British Grandmother, but there is definitely Jewish blood flowing through my veins and now now I was working for a Jewish firm and I was getting an education, in more ways than one.

If my grandmother Mary was my foundation for my hard working ethics then Saul Cohen was the drywall. He expected me to arrive at 7:30 am  every morning and the man worked me to the bone. I worked in the cutting department, did sewing, swept floors, did book work and worked in the show room.There was not one stone that he did not make me turn over. He was relentless and when he found out about my long lost heritage he made sure I knew about it. When I complained about maybe leaving at 6 pm he would turn around and say to me:

“Do you know how our people suffered?”

Enough said!

One day he decided that I was ready to represent the company selling their clothing line at Place Bonaventure clothing mart. He told me I had to wear something conservative. So I did what every other girl my age did. I went to SEARS and bought THE SUIT. It was a navy blue  matching box jacket, and knee length pleated skirt. I had red shoes and red earrings to match– and I wore it exactly 4 times.

I applaud Saul for everything he taught me and how someone actually got me to wear something that wasn’t black. But, word got around the clothing mart about me and I was soon hired by a competitive children’s wear company which was just one more step on the way to becoming a designer. To this day I never lost control of my fashion life and bought sweatpants. Give a girl the right shoes and the right outfit and she can conquer the world.

Linda Knight Seccaspina 1968 and Saul Cohen

Picture Perfect- Olena from The Dress Shop — By Christine Armstrong


Thanks Christine Armstrong for this piece-



Meet Olena, the creative force behind The Dress Shop located at 141 Bridge Street in Carleton Place. This Fashion Design Studio is a one stop location for stunning custom fashion made to fit you!

Born in a small rural village in the Ukraine, she went on to gain her degree in fashion design and technology from Kalynivka University. She then spent time working in England for designers Tomas Stadjefski, Matthew Williamson and Bruce Oldfield. Afterwards she came to Canada and worked for designers Richard Robinson and Muriel Dombret.

Olena then took a courageous leap and opened her own studio. The in house design line “Dominica Maazur” is Olena’s personal creations. The line named after her grandmother is founded on quality workmanship, and is crafted locally using 100% Canadian materials.


What Olena loves most about what she does is when she sees that sparkle in a womans’ eyes when she tries on her new outfit or dress. For Olena the most fulfilling part of the process is when they try on an outfit that makes them look and feel special and fits their body shape to perfection.

Her creativity is always flowing and she is inspired by everyday life and street fashion and even current events. Her best ideas always seem to come to her when she is alone in her car and driving. Once she has the inspiration for a new design she then embarks on the long process of transferring these ideas to a garment. She must then decide on the shape of the garment, and which fabric will give her the structure she desires. After long hours of cutting, sewing, and adjusting the piece until she is 110% satisfied, a new piece is born and is the most awesome and rewarding part of the design process for her.

What little spare time Olena has you can find her in her vegetable garden where she lives on a hobby farm. She finds the process of gardening relaxing as well as rewarding. When the weather turns colder and gardening season is over she turns to knitting for relaxation.


Olena has dedicated countless hours to come up with her own trusted classic patterns that are specifically designed to fit real women. She can create a stunning one of a kind outfit for any occasion. The process begins by selecting the shape of the garment form one of her patterns, from there a sample is tried on and your measurements are taken. Then comes the fun part of selecting the perfect fabric, making any adjustments such as adding or removing sleeves, and adding all the fine details.

If she had a magic wand she would love to see Carleton Place become a fashion hub full of trendy and unique boutiques,eateries and creative festivals to encourage daytrippers to make our town a destination to be.

Also on her wish list would be an all encompassing beautification plan that would begin on Highway 7 and continue along the main arteries to our historic downtown.

The Dress Shop

141 Bridge Street
Carleton Place, Ontario
(613) 253-8080