The significant and unforeseen effect of coronavirus on the world shuddered millions. Paramount and thriving businesses were forced to close due to stay-at-home orders, social distancing and quarantine recommendations. Meanwhile, thousands of brides prepared to marry their significant others at dreamy spring weddings. Now, during wedding season and while a pandemic is occurring, many brides are left with the deafening question of when their nuptials will materialize. Similarly, wedding designer’s productions have significantly decreased and many are now offering virtual services. Here, three Denver wedding designers shed light on how they are choosing to overcome this pandemic and continue to design beautiful wedding gowns.
Allison Nicole Designs
303 Magazine: As a contributor to Denver Fashion Week, British Vogue and a recent participant at Paris Fashion Week, do you fear this pandemic will halt business within the fashion and wedding industries?
Allison Nicole Designs: I do fear that this pandemic will somewhat halt business within the fashion and wedding industries, but I do think that people will still be ordering online. Also, almost every bride is canceling or postponing their wedding.
303: With the recent pandemic, how have the stay-at-home orders and quarantines affected your design and production of being a seamstress and artist?
AND: It has not affected my design, but it has affected the production because we are not working in the studio at the moment. We are working separately on things that we can work on at home studios.
303: A large portion of your designs are geared toward the wedding industry. During this time, what are you offering brides in terms of services?
AND: We are still offering remote services. When a client wants a custom dress, we have them take their measurements and send them to us, and then we ship the sample to them so that they can try it on and Skype us.
303: Are brides still sending you inspiration and design ideas for their dresses? If so, what design aesthetics are you seeing a lot of?
AND: Yes, brides are still sending us inspiration and design ideas, but only a few. I am seeing a lot of simple designs with not a lot of detail.
303: How can brides keep their spirits up during this unprecedented time?
AND: Brides can keep their spirits up by knowing that they will eventually be able to have their wedding. Although brides are postponing their wedding ceremony, some are still getting married at the courthouse now. The number one priority needs to be the health and safety of everyone during this time. Spend time with your family, and help the elders and the vulnerable.
Marie – Margot Couture
303 Magazine: Can you tell us a little about your business and designs?
Marie – Margot Couture: I design bridal and social occasion gowns for women who want to express their individual sense of style and personality. I’m located in Denver and will celebrate my 10 year anniversary in October 2020. I love my brides! My designs can be considered classically elegant with the highest quality fabrics and laces.
303: How has this pandemic affected your business?
MMC: Obviously, it has impacted my income, but it has also given me time to take a breath and look at ways to make my business more efficient, to tighten up some processes and to create a new collection. I’m also taking this time to help make masks and gowns for the medical community.
303: As a prominent gown designer with wedding season approaching, can you describe how you’re feeling in the midst of coronavirus?
MMC: Like everyone, my heart goes out to those afflicted and to society in general because we’ve been thrust into a situation none of us could ever imagine would happen in real life. It’s testing us as a nation. Those engaged couples are especially impacted because of the emotion involved with the uncertainty. Planning a wedding is stressful in the best of times with all the details needing attention, but to have everything postponed indefinitely is a real whammy! It’s stressful for the vendors involved as well because of the uncertainty and cancelled/postponed events. Most of us are small businesses that depend on the seasonal business for our livelihood, so these cancellations are much more impactful on our lives than when the Big Box Stores have a cancellation. I hope when this is over people will support their local small business to help bring life back to normal.
303: Although brick and mortar businesses have largely been closed due to the virus, many Denver creatives are offering virtual services. Are you offering virtual services as well?
MMC: Yes, the magic of technology is a real plus as I’ve been able to connect with some of my clients for design and measuring for their projects. I can get a head start so when the city opens up again, I’m a step ahead.
303: What is your advice to brides that are feeling anxious and frustrated with the current worldwide crisis?
MMC: I would tell them that this too shall pass and to keep in mind that this is just a deferment, not a cancellation. The ones they love will still be there to share in the happiness of the day. As difficult as it is to wait, it will be worth it and there may be some unexpected surprises that make it even better than it would have been. To have faith and appreciate their loved ones for every day we have with them.
Rachel Marie Hurst
303 Magazine: As a Denver original fashion designer, how has the current pandemic crisis affected your business — in particular during the wedding season?
Rachel Marie Hurst: There is a lot of uncertainty right now in the world and it is scary. I never thought that I would see something like this in my lifetime. Particularly for the fashion industry, we were already struggling as fast fashion has been such a huge force to reckon with that many small businesses are unable to make a living or compete and as such we have become more creative in our approach to business and what we can do for our clients. With the new pandemic, I feel a lot of things — scared for humanity, worried about people on the front of the line helping to fight this as well, and I would be lying if I didn’t say I was worried about my business. But the best chance that we have is to work as a team so that we can overcome this and get our lives back. Weddings are being postponed and/or cancelled and brides are not looking right now for dresses as they have bigger things to deal with. As my Atelier is closed for now, I am not able to meet with clients and custom pieces and bridal gowns depend on fittings so that is worrisome for the next season. I truly hope that people will stay home so that we can get through this.
303: With limited resources, does this situation give your brand a new approach to creation and design?
RMH: Right now, I am going to experiment with taking older fabrics and trying to make them fresh, I have the ability to dye fabrics and can try to create some of my own textiles. I have never been a trendy designer and so I only source what I like so luckily my brand doesn’t thrive off of trends. But my brand doesn’t like gimmicks either so this will definitely push me creatively and artistically, which honestly is exciting. Sometimes when you get lost in custom, you feel like you can lose your artistic eye because you are combining visions for one outcome.
303: With the closure of many businesses, has it been a challenge to source fabric for your designs?
RMH: Right now yes! That is another limitation of custom designs. I do not buy in bulk as most of my clients desire one of a kind pieces and with that comes one of a kind fabrics that are sourced each time. Custom takes so much longer and now with not only having Colorado Fabrics shut down, fabric stores are closed and so that puts a lot of business on hold. I have a small inventory of fabric but not for a lot of my custom clients so it has been pretty stressful.
303: Your pieces are extremely distinctive, unique and beautifully feminine. In your opinion, what are the most common design aesthetics brides search for?
RMH: Brides all want the same thing, in essence, they want to feel and look beautiful on their special day. Since the ideal of beauty is so different, this is where each bride has a unique twist. A lot of our clients come to us because they cannot find the perfect wedding dress or special event piece. Either it’s not offered in their size, it doesn’t have everything they were hoping it did, or they are non-traditional and have unique tastes that are not offered to them. Either way, they see the value of having an amazing piece that is designed for them, with them in mind. A lot of our brides want modern and feminine pieces that are elegant yet flirty. They are always daring to be fierce and are 50/50 on our voluminous tulle dresses or our sexy slip style/mermaid style gowns.