Divina Denuevo - Romantic, Rustic, Up-cycled
by YNA ANSAY
Victoria Ronco and Dave Kelly are the talented designers behind Divina Denuevo, a sustainable accessory collection. Reclaimed leather is used as much as possible and pieces are embellished with distinctive antique hardware. Passionate about history, sustainability and luxury, they hope to promote these values through line.
Ronco was born in Argentina and immigrated to Vancouver in 1989. Upon graduating high school, she was offered the opportunity to study at the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland - the oldest university in the country. She lived in what she describes as, "...a fairy tale castle complete with turrets and a tower." There were cobbled streets to walk set between stone buildings. While studying English Literature, she developed a "profound love for Shakespeare and the old world" and became a collector of "opulent oddities, like antique wax seals and thimbles." Those items eventually became the foundation for Divina Denuevo. Kelly, a hardware integration manager, grew up in Northern BC and moved to the Lower Mainland to study Psychology at Simon Fraser University. He met Victoria while working for the same company. She was in the process of preparing for a craft market and he offered to help. He has "been hooked ever since." Kelly shares, "The upcycling and attention to the environment was a big draw for me."
It all started as a creative hobby. In a society where most people sport mass produced goods, Ronco wanted to offer another option and began creating dresses and bags from used clothing. "Our clothing is an outward expression of our personality, why would we want to look the same as someone else?" Her love of antique oddities came into play when she couldn't stand of the thought of throwing away treasures that no longer served a purpose such as "skeleton keys, door knobs, cabinet handles, key plates and hinges." When she came across her first leather piece, she was instantly intrigued. "The rustic look and raw edges belonged on a bag." Combining the leather with the small treasures collected is a perfect match. "The shiny glints of hardware on the rich leather make a perfect juxtaposition." Small scraps of leftover leather are formed into cuffs and key chains. With Kelly's encouragement, this "hobby" quickly became a business.
The design process is a collaborative one where ideas flow back and forth. As a team they strive to create "...designs that we love and couldn't have come up with without the other." If there is a disagreement, the primary designer who started the piece makes the call. The unique line born from this process is sure to be a hit with customers "...drawn to the history associated with the pieces used." Each have their own personality "...due to the natural markings and edges of the hides, the reclaimed leather and the rareness of the antique and vintage hardware. The designs are classically simple, but unique and charming." With a solid line of products now in place, they are focusing on building a strong customer base and hope to soon realize their dream of making this their full-time job.
October is going to be an exciting month for Ronco and Kelly as Divino Denuevo makes its first appearance in Eco Fashion Week as accessories for Jeff Garner's show - Prophetik. For more information on Diniva Denuevo, visit their website: www.divina-denuevo.com.. Their line can also be found on Etsy at www.etsy.com/shop/divinadesigns.