Fashioning her own future

With a passion for fashion, Olinda Manzano runs her own sewing design and alterations shop on Hamilton’s James Street North. / MICHELLE BOTH

By Natalie Timperio

Strolling down James Street North, Olinda’s Fashion Studio’s bright pink storefront and stylish mannequins are not easily missed. Upon entry, however, one takes notice not of the studio itself but rather the woman whose name is read so eloquently from the street – it is Olinda Manzano herself.

The seamstress adopted a love for fashion and sewing at an early age. “I’ve enjoyed creating and constructing ever since I can remember,” Manzano says. In fact, it was after she completed her first garment in a tenth grade sewing class that she knew her passion would become a career.

What unfolded in the following years became what we now know today as Olinda’s Fashion Studio.

“Today I work on every imaginable clothing item. From vintage pieces to Spiderman costumes to formal army uniforms [and more],” Manzano explains. Specializing in bridal and evening wear, however, is what Manzano loves the most about her profession and business: “I find myself dreaming and working towards having my own bridal couture collection,” she says.

Beyond her business, however, Manzano values the opportunities James Street North has provided in both past years as well as in the present. “Everyone knows each other here. I love how it’s become a destination spot for shopping, dining and entertainment,” Manzano says. She also looks forward to being a part of what is to come for James Street North. “I hope that the diversity of the city will inspire the community to grow and encourage others.”

With Manzano’s untiring love of Hamilton, it’s no surprise that she jumped on the opportunity to open the Studio on James Street North back in 2009. Since this pivotal year, Manzano has been helping clientele “dress for success.”

With her success in business, she offers other entrepreneurs encouragement: “If you strongly believe in your business idea and have a passion for it, you will succeed.”

Natalie Timperio is a freelance writer in Hamilton. Follow her on Twitter: @NatalieTimperio.