A truly beautiful wedding dress has the ability to capture the whimsy and romance of starting a marriage. As I prepared for my own upcoming wedding, I stumbled upon a designer pursuing her passion and unique vision for the bridal industry. With a signature look that is all her own, Sarah Seven has introduced her own nonconformist take on modern bridal wear, perfectly capturing the heart of The Stylist.
Hi Sarah! How did you get your start as a designer?
I was attending design school in Oregon when I felt ready to start testing my ideas under my own label. I started selling dresses through Etsy and things just escalated from there. I was lucky to find a niche in the Pacific Northwest for brides and bridesmaids looking for a less traditional design style.
How did you begin designing wedding dresses? What drew you to this avenue?
I think I always had bridal in mind. I love using airy, luxurious fabrics in soft colors and I love draped silhouettes. I think it was a natural fit. There is something extremely exciting and gratifying about actually seeing a bride light up and feel beautiful in her own custom gown. In bridal you get an opportunity to give someone a once-in-a lifetime look that truly represents her.
What type of bride do you design for?
I like to think as we grow, we are providing options for an eclectic mix of brides. Whether she wants a full, tulle skirt or a beaded lace sheath, we want to have options for anyone. I think our wheelhouse is the easy-going, ethereal girl who is looking for a balance between glamour and sensibility while maintaining a classic feel.
What is the most challenging part about working in the wedding industry?
The most challenging part is designing outside of expectations. I think in the past it has been difficult to break the humdrum bridal mold with unique silhouettes and unexpected fabrics. I am lucky to be part of a new school of designers defying the taffeta ball gown and giving girls something that will be remembered!
What has thrilled you the most in growing your business as a designer?
Seeing Sarah Seven gowns on real brides, sprinkled throughout social media and in print always gives me a sense of accomplishment and success. If I am ever completely swamped, a quick Pinterest search to see what girls are responding to never ceases to bring me back to earth and be thankful we have grown the way we have!
Where do you draw your inspiration from, and how does it apply to your design process?
I think each season I draw inspiration from a number of things. Where I live, where I visit, what I am listening to, which fabrics have caught my eye. While developing Spring 2014, I visited New Orleans and absolutely fell in love. I drew inspiration from its architecture, its macabre folklore, its music and its general Southern charm. I think that rich Creole style pushed me into more sparkle and beading. And of course, no matter the season, there is some element of cultural zeitgeist that I can’t help being inspired by. I mean, Gatsby? Glorious.
What sets your designs apart from others? What makes the Sarah Seven “look”?
I like to think I have a distinct style that I have managed to adhere to from season to season. Of course we are recognized for the signature sweetheart bodice, but also for a very feminine and spirited look. Gowns are always soft and light and I try to remember we want our brides to be as comfortable dancing the night away as they are posing for photos.
What advice do you have for someone starting to pursue a career in fashion?
Be prepared! You must have the commitment to your own brand to break through the initial challenges. It is such a unique business. So much of your success is tied to your name or your ideas; it is almost inevitable that you will be powering through all-nighters and back-to-back travel. Nonetheless, the payoff is amazing and the first time you see someone wearing your label, the appeal becomes obvious all over again. It is a tangible sense of pride you can’t get any other way!
Photos via the Sarah Seven Spring 2014 Lookbook.