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How Style Guides Life

New Hope Omnific Designer Shares Ideas About Achieving Timeless Elegance While Boosting Self-Esteem

Style these days is more about one’s lifestyle, asserts Dominique Daniela Pino, a New Hope resident and passionate, enterprising designer of customized clothing, home decor and upcycled furniture.

"The desire for both feeling good and looking good has become equal. Busy lifestyles dictate the need for comfort and ease, so function and style need to go hand-in-hand for everyday life. FashionActive goals have definitely taken over all brands," she adds.  

Fashion Activewear refers to an industry movement, enabled by improved textile materials that allow casual-style clothes and sportswear to be more versatile. It's also commonly called athleisure apparel, however, the style's certainly not just for athletes anymore.

Stemming from a bachelor's degree in professional studies within Fashion Design at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, Dominique also studied at London College of Fashion and Instituto Marangoni in Milan, Italy. Because colors, textures and patterns affect one's moods, or "fashion psychology," she says she tries to use classic palettes for projects and to inject color through accent pieces that can be interchangeable.

"I've always defined my style throughout my career as timeless elegance. I've wanted the style of the individual or home to be true to the individual. I believe that's the real definition of style, being true to what you feel good in," says Dominique. 

She knows firsthand how clothes, or the right wardrobe, can actually change lives by building self-esteem.

"It wasn’t until I worked with patients with special fashion needs that I truly saw how clothing effects confidence. With breast cancer patients, I've seen many clients just not happy in their own skin," she explains. "I've had the pleasure to help them find comfortable apparel that helps with compression or prosthetics."  

She says she's also made gowns that hide stoma bags. "The simple pleasure of putting on everyday clothing is truly something many take for granted."

Dominique's signature creative concept is referred to as “refound design,” whether through clothing or interior. She is exceptionally skilled at transforming old items into new gems on behalf of clients' objectives. For example, she's turned sentimental ties into pillows and old trunks into side tables. She also freshened and refashioned family wedding dresses or gowns for current occasions.

"I grew up at the foot of my grandmother's sewing machine. I remember tracing my hand on old lace fabric and having her make gloves for me, like Madonna. I've always been drawn to fabric first, then creating what I thought it would best shape into. After she passed, I had many of her scarfs from her lifetime. I started making tunics out of them and it evolved in a cover-up and dresses that I became known for," Dominique recalls. 

Because that old sewing machine was too hard to part with, she used the base and made it into her desk by using an old marble hearth from a job for which she'd kept the remnant. "Grandma's footprint is still on the peddle, so I get to see it every day," she gratefully sighs. 

Recently, Dominique says she also converted an old piano into a bar. "The piano was a gift from a former boss, and I just couldn’t part with it. Keeping these old pieces is so important to me," she says. "Many clients don’t know what to do with old pieces and have a hard time getting rid of nostalgic pieces. I love finding new purpose, so the story can carry on to the next generation."

Refinishing of old pieces and making them new definitely helps limit waste for the overall ecosystem, Dominique reminds. "I try to donate to charitable groups that need furniture. Upcycling definitely is best for our environment."

She believes overall style is trending more natural aesthetics, due to an overall return to senses based in organic roots and reality.

"I feel the overall mindset of 'less is more' has transformed many people throughout the [COVID-19] pandemic. People having to live and work within their own homes created this mindset of cleaner, simpler spaces to maintain. Formal dining and living rooms that were hardly used became offices. Neutral palettes created calming atmospheres. Knickknacks are being replaced with more greenery and plants, bringing the outside into indoor spaces," she says. 

People can better pinpoint their own personal home decor styles, Dominique suggests, by analyzing online what designers are doing with spaces all over the world. "Seeing how designers transform spaces is at everyone’s fingertips and finding one's style is kind of like walking around a candy shop," she says. "When you see what you like, you just gravitate toward it. I've told customers they'll realize what they like by being able to quickly eliminate what they don’t like."

Dominique also serves as the lead designer for the Newtown Borough condominiums at State and Court street in Newtown. She works one-on-one with buyers in all their selections from flooring to built-ins, as well kitchen and bathroom designs. "Rock Construction has done a great job of giving their customers this individual treatment while also keeping the integrity of the Newtown design. We've also redesigned floorplans to fit the function and flow for households. It's truly a custom experience for these homeowners," she says. 

DominiqueDaniela.com

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