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A LITTLE SOMETHING
ABOUT THE FOUNDER OF RENAISSANCE DANCEWEAR
STACEY LEIGH

 

Creativity. Artistry. They are the "stuff" of life. They give flavor to the purpose, sweetness to the journey. They keep us here, in our bodies, dedicated to the worthwhile work of this world. There can be artistry in anything we do, whether it be running a business, diagnosing an illness, designing a costume, comforting the heartbroken, answering phones, sweeping walkways, taking tickets at the turnstile. When we call up the creative artist within us to assist us in our work, we put the best of who we are into what we do, and the product of that marvelous brew becomes greater than ourselves, and does so in ways we could not have imagined.

 

When I started this business in 1990, my goal was to fill the void left by the big dancewear companies which had abandoned the smaller theatrical market in favor of the high volume ready-to-wear market. Designers could no longer obtain high quality, durable dancewear. And no dancewear was available of any quality that would fit a performer larger than what the fashion industry determined was a medium sized woman. We all had to purchase dozens of pairs of cheap, thin tights to last the run of a show and pray that non of them would develop a hole or a run in the middle of a performance. We had to cut and sew tights together and cobble up all sorts of leg coverings for our larger performers for whom we could not find appropriately sized tights. And as for color choice! We had to settle for what was in stock, or what wasn't backordered, which wasn't much. If we wanted to dye dancewear ourselves, we prayed we could get ahold of enough white cotton dancewear in the sizes and styles we needed. If the local store was out of stock, or the catalogue company we ordered from backordered us, we were out of luck!

This situation was nearly impossible for artists to work with and I was determined to change that. I saw that what the big companies lacked was an understanding of the needs of artists. In fact, they lacked an artistic approach to their products altogether. To make a product that a majority of people will accept, and deliver it on a seasonal time schedule takes a "well-oiled system". To deliver exactly what each customer needs, on time, and right the first time, is an art. And the larger the customer base, the more creativity it takes to deliver that same combination of products and services.

I do all the designing and custom dying for Renaissance Dancewear. I have, over the years, created many beautiful costumes, (and some very bizarre and artistically challenging items), for many prominent theatrical productions throughout the United States. But I have come to believe that my greatest artistic achievement has been the creation of Renaissance Dancewear. I believe this not just because the design and operation of this company requires the artist in me to assist me every single day, but because I realize that this company has become more then an artist and a dancewear company.

Renaissance Dancewear has assisted artists all over the United States to bring their visions to fruition. Many of our customers have an important story to be told through costume or apparel, a story they feel MUST be told. Designers send us renderings of their ideas for costumes and say, "All I need is this custom dancewear to make it complete. Can you help me?"

It is my joy, the sweetness in the journey, to say "Yes."

Signature of Stacey Leigh

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