How Bridal Trends Work

Oct 13, 2021

Shout out to my favourite fashion decade, the 1830s

We’re all really comfortable and familiar with trends. Those of us born in the last millenia have lived to see our most shameful Y2K fashions come back around, personally I’m glad to be parting my hair in the middle again but dear lord save us from low cut jeans. In fashion these trends are fast, and they’re getting faster. You can see yellow trousers in New York Fashion week, and two weeks later they’re available in Zara in time for London Fashion Week (I won’t scar you with pictures of these particular trousers but please know this example comes from personal experience). Bridal fashion works a little differently for a handful of reasons, so I thought today I’d chat about how I keep my designs feeling fresh despite being mostly inspired by the 19th century and costume dramas, and how we move through different shapes. In fact, bridal trends are much more like 19th century fashion, with new silhouettes appearing every decade or so and a focus on quality, beautiful fabric, and subtle detailing.

My mum in her Diana sleeves. She assures me that this was the design AFTER she removed all the bows.

A part of why fashion trends are so much slower in bridal is that we are all trying so hard to be timeless. A lot of us look at wedding dresses from the last century and can make fairly accurate guesses at what decade they’re from. For a lot of us getting married now, our parents got married in the 80s in the Princess Diana mutton sleeves, and have listened to them laughing about it our entire childhoods. They have dated, I won’t deny it, but what seems to get lost quite often when we joke about it is that they all really loved those dresses when they were getting married in them. It’s given our generation a real fear of fashions and trends, which means a lot of bridal fashion is very samey- we’ve been seeing the strapless sweetheart neckline princess cut since the 90s. The sad irony of brides wanting to be timeless and therefore choosing this cut is that it is finally going out of style, so in the near future it’s going to feel as dated as those mutton sleeves feel now.

And the second part of why trends move so slowly in bridal fashion is that we simply buy and wear wedding dresses really differently to how we buy and wear our regular clothes. For example, I adore a poet sleeve (if you follow me on Instagram or Pinterest you know this already) and so as a designer I made a sample dress featuring some in mid 2016. It was photographed in November 2016, and the photos were published by blog Rock My Wedding in April 2017. Brides looking for wedding dresses that summer ordered them and so we started to see real brides wearing my poet sleeves by summer 2018. This is just an example, but it is starkly different to my 2 week yellow trousers from Zara. Another way it differs is that while yellow trousers went out of fashion as quickly as they came in, my lovely organza poet sleeves are still going strong and I’m making them year after year.

I hope this makes some sense of what we see in bridal fashion, next week on the blog I’ll talk about trends I’m seeing appear in the bridal industry and how I might incorporate them into some sample dresses in 2022!

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