A little pressure to do something we don’t like can forge a path to discover a new passion.
Dean Maitland, a dancer, teacher, choreographer, plunged himself into dance after his mom dragged him to a performance in Grenada at the age of 12.
“This company came from Trinidad and I just fell in love with the dance,” Maitland said. “It was my first time in my life that I saw live dancing and I just liked what I saw.”
But he never anticipated adding fashion designer or seamstress to his arsenal of skills. Familiar with sketching, Maitland’s mother used his designs to create his visions, but he had no interest in touching the sewing machine.
After losing his mother to cancer, Maitland decided to take up the trade.
“My mom was a designer and I always danced,” he said. “I would draw stuff that I wanted her to do for me and she would sew for me. I had absolutely no interest in sewing, but when she passed away, I realized I needed to learn because I cannot afford to pay other people to sew for me.”
He bought a machine and completed a six-week course, yet, he did not quickly activate his newly acquired skill. Faced with cost, time and an ensemble to clothe for an upcoming performance, Maitland dusted off his sewing machine to design and create.
“I needed 40 ballet skirts and I couldn’t afford to pay for 40 ballet skirts,” Maitland explained.
The multifaceted dancer now choreographs and performs with his dance company — Art In Motion — and sews all of their costumes.
Maitland’s sewing expertise does not stop at costumes. Recently, he added another creative title to his resume — fashion designer — after seeing a friend with a bag he liked, then tried to design his own.
“The bag came out nothing of what I took a picture of, however, the bag looked good and people liked it. Now, I make bags and sell them,” he said.
Maitland’s Dean Collections features a wide range of styles including totes and clutches all hand sewn by him.
While dance remains at the helm of his focus, his next venture is expanding his new fashion line and expanding his audience on Etsy and beyond.
“I want to really have my own dance studio and my own line ultimately,” he said.
Dean Collections are available on deanc