Becoming a Wedding Dress Designer and creating beautiful wedding dresses is a wonderful ambition to have. A general love for and understanding of dressmaking is the most important foundation to have to make the dream a reality.
Some wedding dress designers will design and make the dress themselves while others will focus on the design and have a team of talented technical staff making the actual pieces. Either way, most of the steps on this career path with be similar.
You may not sew the beads onto the designer wedding dresses you create but you must have a thorough understanding of how to do it.
Hobbies inform what would suit you as a career. Dressmaking, sewing, craft and art will all help develop hand to eye co-ordination, attention to detail and appreciate of colour and shape. Read lots of magazines, blogs and websites to learn about how trends are created, develop and then spread throughout the world of fashion and design.
Useful initial work experience will help you to decide if designing wedding dresses is for you and what element of the industry you will enjoy the most.
Don’t forget too that wedding dress designers also create designer dresses for guests on the big day. Retail experience in a clothes shop, bridal boutique, haberdashery or fabric shop will reveal your existing skills.
Formal qualifications are important if you want to become a wedding dress designer. Students will take either a textiles, fashion design or art degree or diploma at a University, Fashion or Art School. The Royal College of Art and Central St Martins of Art and Design are both excellent establishments to study at. There are also plenty of fantastic quality regional Fashion Design courses to apply for.
While studying, it is crucial to start networking.
An internship/apprenticeship with a designer and/or in a shop or workroom will get your name and work known in the industry. Hopefully these efforts will lead to a job after graduating.
However, budding designers of wedding dresses shouldn’t expect to send a collection of their gowns down a runway six months after graduating. Time and experience, as with any career, is key.
Practical skills are as important as theory, exams, creativity and coursework. You will need comprehensive knowledge of pattern cutting, expert sewing machine skills and the understanding of how to produce the delicate beading and embroidery that adorns many designer wedding dresses.
Potentially your career will bypass qualifications and learn your trade with a mentor.
Business and management acumen mustn’t be undervalued. You may have hundreds of imaginative ideas for a stylish bodice or intricate lace sleeve but they won’t ever grace a dress with your label in if you struggle to create persuasive business plans.
Each designer’s career path will be different. For every hugely successful Vera Wang in the industry there are many, many others sewing pearls onto a silk skirt hem in the converted garage of their home.
You may assist in the creation of pieces to be sold off the peg or you could personally design and hand-bead one or two bespoke couture dresses a year. The choice is yours and a lot of hard work, a little luck and carefully honed talents will get you there.