You may not find names like Nixxi, Echo Verde, Pure Blankz, Allison Wonderland and Birds of North America in major clothing stores.
But that’s a big part of their appeal.
These Canadian-designed brands are a handful of the labels that will be found at muse, when the downtown Red Deer store opens on March 15.
“There’s a whole underground market of Canadian designers,” said Danica Madsen, who will operate muse with her business partner Michelle Bell.
When the stay-at-home moms decided to start their own clothing store, they resolved to focus on styles that originated in this country.
They also wanted to emphasize products that are ethically made.
That means shunning clothes from sweat shops and choosing products that contain natural materials and eco-friendly dyes.
“I think people are starting to become aware that there’s a clear difference in organic cottons versus regular cotton,” said Madsen, pointing out that even the shelves at muse are made from engineered recycled paper.
“There’s also some clothing that’s completely recycled.
“We’re trying to stay environmentally sustainable.”
Located at 4909D 48th St. — the former site of Private Label, another women’s clothing store — muse’s target market will be professional women between the ages of about 25 to 50. The shop will carry trendy fashions from work wear to evening wear, added Madsen.
Designs will come from across Canada, she said, with some even originating locally.
“We have some shoes and handbags that are made right in town here.”
In fact, Madsen estimates that 85 per cent of the stock at muse will be Canadian-designed. One of the exceptions will be plus-size clothing, which will come from the United States.
“There’s nobody in Canada right now that’s set up for wholesale of plus sizes.”
Madsen added that customers are unlikely to see identical fashions worn by someone else in Red Deer.
“We do limited size runs of things, so there’s a really good chance there’s a small, medium and large in one dress.”
She believes a store like muse will succeed locally, because it will fill a void here.
“Red Deer’s a big enough city that you should be able to get unique clothing and feel good about yourself without having to go spend a day in Edmonton or Calgary.”
Additional information about muse can be found online at www.bethemuse.ca. The store will be open Tuesdays to Saturdays.