Daniel Gonzalez is the newly minted owner of Daniel Gonzalez Designs. His is one more name on the list of fearless Charlotte entrepreneurs who possessed the unwavering dedication necessary to open a new business in the midst of a pandemic.
Daniel Gonzalez crafts custom and made-to-wear, handcrafted fashion pieces that are sleek, artistic, and rich with subtle details. He releases two major collections annually—spring/summer and fall/winter—but took a break from the studio to share his story with us.
Daniel, where are you from originally?
I am originally from Colombia, South America. My parents moved to the United States in 2001 with the hope of creating opportunities for my brother and me that didn’t exist in Colombia.
When did you become interested in design and fashion?
In 2010, I was dancing professionally and my partner needed new ballroom costumes for our international competitions. We were pouring all of our financial resources into training and competition travel. I decided that I could figure out how to make beautiful costumes for her. What started out of necessity quickly became a passion of mine, leading to designing and creating wedding gowns and evening dresses commercially.
Is this your first self-owned business?
Leading up to the recent launch of my brand, my primary business was teaching ballroom dancing and running a ballroom dance school for kids. As my passion for fashion and design have continued to grow, I have focused more exclusively on my brand.
How did DGD go from an idea to a business?
When Covid hit I took the time to pivot and launch my ready-to-wear business, taking advantage of the slower pace to truly understand the business, our product, and all of the steps involved to get from first inspiration to the DGD Woman wearing her piece.
Who are some of your early style inspirations?
Cristobal Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel have been my greatest inspirations. I’m attracted to sublime, timeless styles that communicate a culture and style while also pushing the norm in their time.
How would you describe your client?
My client is the powerful, chic, artistic woman. Her closet spans from timeless, elegant, and luxurious pieces she wears in a business setting to colorful fashion forward pieces she wears in her time of leisure. Our client also appreciates the importance of supporting slow fashion, her local economy, and artists. She’s a woman many look to for answers and inspiration.
What is the inspiration behind your collections?
Clarity, color, and culture. I gravitate towards timeless shapes and structures, clothing that could be worn through the ages, not just a single three-month season. I want the colors we use to speak for themselves. For our debut collection, I was inspired by the current women’s empowerment movement. Our clothes are a celebration of the powerful women in our lives, and I named each piece after an important woman in my family. Pulling inspiration from vintage army jackets, I took traditionally masculine components of the army jackets and added them to traditionally feminine silhouettes.
Tell us about how you see Charlotte’s style sense and where you fit within that.
The Charlotte fashion scene, while small, is quite exciting. I do believe we are the only fashion atelier in town that creates luxury custom gowns as well as ready-to-wear collections. I also pride myself on offering a more cosmopolitan style. Many of the stores currently tend to be drawn to beautiful florals and ruffles, while our style is defined by solid colors and sleek lines.
Do you source from or use any local vendors?
The only aspects of the brand that are not local are our fabrics and packaging. Everything else including design, production, and marketing are all done locally.
What are your hopes for the future of the business?
I aim to one day become a global brand with retailers all over the world. Daniel Gonzalez Designs plans to begin with a strong local presence and contribute to an exciting fashion scene in Charlotte.