A career as a designer of wedding dresses will begin with a creative mind, practical skills and a love of fashion. It’s important to obtain work experience in all areas of expertise this career will involve, namely retailing, design, fabrics, business and dressmaking.
Prospective designers of wedding dresses should take a degree in a relevant discipline such as fashion design, art or dressmaking from a university or art school. During this period of study, it is vital that students look for internships within the bridal design industry or even learn about the skills needed for creating designer dresses. Networking is key at this stage as getting their name and work known will help them to secure a job after graduation.
Business skills should be honed, especially if a designer’s ambition is to run their own company. The ability to evolve an imaginative idea into a practical reality is wonderful. However, if there is no knowledge of accounting or how to write a business plan, the company will struggle to be a success.
A wedding dress designer
A wedding dress designer will keep a track of new trends, develop an understanding of traditional designs and learn about colour and fabric choices. He or she will then sketch a design and, depending on the company, will transfer it to a computer aided design programme to further develop the ideas for the dress.
The dress will be loosely pinned in cheap fabrics to give the designer an idea of how it will hang. The 2D, CAD and 3D design will need to be approved if it is not the designer’s own business. Creative freedom is not guaranteed in this instance, the employee is responsible for creating the vision of the head designer.
Samples of the dress will go to trade shows. If the bridal design company is big these may be worldwide so frequent travel will be required. The trade showcases are for retailers who will decide which designs to make and sell. Interpersonal and selling skills are needed in this competitive environment.
Mass market wedding dresses
Who the designer works for will have a big impact on their career. Mass market wedding dresses are designed by people who work for wholesalers and big manufacturers.
A large wedding dress label will expect the designs created to fit in with the brand name and price point. Big firms will usually have a separate team to make the dresses. Smaller businesses will expect their people to both design and make their creations.
A bridal designer who has their own business will usually earn a living making bespoke designer wedding dresses for individual clients. They will be involved in every part of the process and will enjoy full creative control within the desires of the client. The bride’s budget will determine the quality and amount of fabric and any embellishments.
The designer will discuss the needs and hopes of the bride, create sketches, take measurements, pattern cut, do the fitting and any alterations needed and finally sew the dress together themselves.
Hopefully, word of mouth and marketing will allow growth, employment of a small team and expansion from there. It is usual for a wedding dress designer to start their own label after they have developed a name for themselves as a designer working for a successful company. Fashion design graduates should not expect their own runway show of designer wedding dresses six months after graduating. Hard work, luck, patience and timing is the combination for success.