“She’s fashionable but not a slave to fashion. She’s independent, although she has a great family because I am all about that. Your marriage isn’t an end, it’s a beginning, so my girls, I think they’re optimistic,” says British bridal designer, Stephanie Allin, of her brides.
Stephanie Allin has been producing works of art for over 20 years, but says now it’s time to acquire a new market, the United States.
“It’s tough in America,” says Allin. “There’s so much American merchandise around but I think that what I’ve got is unique. It’s not like the American designers.”
Allin started designing bridal gowns decades ago in South Wales, where she owns a small shop and does all of the manufacturing. Allin kept things the same since she got started, she does minimal outsourcing and acts as the designer and producer of each collection.
Two years ago, Allin took a major step and expanded, she opened her own store in central London. The expansion proved so successful, she now feels it’s the perfect time to cross the pond and offer her creations to a whole new slew of shoppers.
“It’s going really well, so now I am trying to break the American market,” says Allin. “Partly because I love coming to America and also, I think I’ve got something to offer.”
Breaking the heavily saturated American bridal market may be tough for Allin, who noted that it seems to be both celebrity driven and price driven, something she says is “not me.” But Allin believes the combination of her gowns’ uniqueness and American shoppers’ curiosity will garner a good following.
The bridal designer got a taste of American curiosity this past month when she shared her gowns at the New York Bridal Show in Manhattan.
“America is much more open, more open to come and look,” says Allin.
Allin says her creations go against the trend, against diminishing of quality, and that’s something brides will appreciate.
“I’m very concerned about doing things of the best possible quality, I always say, what I do has a little bit of my heart and soul in each dress,” says Allin. And another thing Allin brides will appreciate, her clients are just as special.
“We don’t treat out clients as numbers. If we’re making a dress for Miss Smith, we all know who Miss Smith is,” says Allin. “It’s a huge purchase buying a wedding dress and it should be special.”
“I never discontinue a dress,” says Allin. Her London store alone has 50 gowns available. “I like to think I can make a dress for every girl.”
This year, she’s introduced her latest collection, the Jazz Age. She explained that each collection, is an evolution and her latest collection, she says, was inspired in part, by silent movies of the 1930s.
“I was watching a film at home, an old Betty Davis film,” says Allin.”She had this dress in the film that had sequins down it. I bought the sequins fabric but the dress looks nothing like her dress. It’s that glamour, it’s the immaculate hair, and that’s what started me off.”
As Allin is inspired to create her pieces, her pieces in turn, work as an inspiration too.
“The reality is, regardless of how great a dress is, it’s all about what it does for you and there’s that little bit of fantasy in it,” she says.