What it’s like to be a 22-year-old wedding dress designer

‘A bride should never have to compromise’

The pressure is on when you’re designing the biggest component of someone’s biggest day. As a bride walks down the aisle, all eyes are on the style, fit and embellishment of Nina’s work.

Nina Rose, 22, from South West London launched her own business as a wedding dress designer after turning her back on university to build up her vision from scratch. Now the colour, sizing and choice of silk is all down to her.

We spoke to Nina about her work, her first collection, how she got into bridal design and why she doesn’t watch Don’t Tell the Bride.

She said: “I knew I was going to be a designer in some shape or form. I live and breathe silk and am totally obsessed with it, its look and what you can do with it.

“I like the idea of designing a gown for one of the most important day of someone’s life. A bride should never have to compromise.”

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Rose did an Art Foundation at 18, but decided university wasn’t for her. She worked as a PA for a graphic design company, putting everything into funding her business plan.

From there she got a start-up loan and taught herself all about wedding dress design and production, and started designing her own collection at just 19.

Rose admitted: “I don’t think I’ll design my own wedding dress though. I want to experience it from the other side for once, but that will not be for years.

“If a bride were to order one today it’d take a couple of weeks to make the dress – although there are a few with lots of hand sewn lace which take me about five weeks just to do that.

“Then you have to allow for about three fitting sessions and alterations to be made after each. So upon ordering I’d allow around three months from start to absolute finish.

“I prepare absolutely everything for each dress and then a machinist will put it together. Then I do all of the hand sewing and embellishment.”

Nina (left) on set

Nina (left) on set

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Nina said: “The Delphyne Dress is my favourite in the collection for sure. I think it’s beautiful because it almost has too much going on with the lace, the fishtail silhouette, the peplum and then also the 3D hand sewn flowers but somehow it just works for me.

“I think quality is absolutely huge right now. People have a better knowledge of clothing in general and want a sustainable quality dress. Which generally means silk and top quality – and people are prepared to pay for it.

“People also either want something traditional or something different and it’s amazing to see the demand for something new and different rise. For example designers like Vera Wang doing her pink and black collections, as well as Temperley becoming the epitome of the bohemian bride.”

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For those who are considering dropping everything to start their own company to try something creative, Nina would suggest just going for it.

She said: “Love what you do. I’d recommend funding as much of your business yourself. Owing people money that you don’t have sucks. However a loan at the right time has been a real turning point for me. Also make sure your friends and family are supportive – you will most definitely need them.”

Follow Nina on Instagram and on Facebook.

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