In honor of Women’s History Month, which celebrates the strength and contributions of women on both large and small scales, we are spotlighting five innovative female bridal designers you should know about. Featured in our Winter 2021 issue, these wedding dress designers strive to not only transform her industry, but also to uplift every bride on her wedding day with a gown that is uniquely her. If you are looking for a wedding dress, read about these designers, whose powerful mission statements and stunning designs are bound to enchant and inspire you.
Cynthia Grafton-Holt Couture
“I serve brides who don’t want a typical bridal gown but who aspire to look elegant and feel confident on their big day.”
She remembers, “[They were] always a copy of some designer dress they had seen in a James Bond movie, or worn by Princess Margaret or Dame Shirley Bassey.”
The English wedding dress designer has always colored outside the box and creates unique wedding gowns that highlight each bride’s assets. When studying fashion at the London College of Fashion, Cynthia would inject color, softer sheer silks with draping and architectural details into her work. It was her passion to fuse the craft of tailoring with soft notes of femininity.
“Culturally, to this day,” Cynthia notes, “dressmakers within Black communities are highly prized, in high demand, and never out of work.”
Cynthia, a Black bridal designer, values this cultural tradition and works tirelessly for her clients, exploring textures, materials, trims, and patterns that provide a fresh take on classic wedding gowns. Her pieces must “sing to her heart.” From a striking piece of cloth emerges a breathtaking new story, a few melodic notes woven together into a resplendent symphony.
Clients choose Cynthia Grafton-Holt Couture because they are not looking for a typical market experience, saturated in fast fashion and conveyor-belt experiences. A Cynthia Grafton-Holt bride thrives off individuality, personality, and style. Guided entirely by the needs and wants of her client, Cynthia provides a personal, customized experience fit for every bride and ceremony.
Amanda Ergen Jennings
Love Lives Here
“Our mission at Love Lives Here is to bring bridal luxury to EVERY body.”
Amanda proudly comes from a long line of Midwestern artisans. She learned the craft of sewing from her grandmother at a very young age, along with the importance of putting her heart into everything she creates. Her heirloom-quality bridal gowns are designed for the effortless, modern bride looking to feel as good as she looks on her wedding day.
The Love Lives Here team was built near Amanda’s childhood home in Milwaukee. Offering a logical, artisan-focused business model to the talent coming from nearby schools, Love Lives Here breathes new life into Milwaukee’s manufacturing industry.
Amanda and her husband Steve, both entrepreneurs, strive to build a home that supports, encourages, and inspires their daughter Betty to embrace her dreams and to believe she can be successful in whichever field her passions lie.
“Follow your passion and never give up!”
“From my early years, I was passionate about fashion, and I knew that my life would be connected to this industry. WONÁ is our family business. Everything started from a small private atelier inside our guest room and turned into the full company by 2009,” she recalls.
In November 2020, Ilona celebrated WONÁ Concept’s first anniversary of its WONÁ NYC showroom. To demonstrate their ongoing commitment to female strength and COVID-19 relief efforts, WONÁ Concept extended 50% off of their merchandise for all healthcare workers through 2020.
“We work with like minds who strive for the betterment of our environment.”
Grace Loves Lace
“For the women of style, substance, and passion.”
Megan’s passion for music, poetry, and nature is what sparked her inspiration for her Elysian collection, an ethereal and romantic collection that embraces moments of silence and stillness. The current year has not been easy for anyone, which is why she wanted to create a collection that would speak to the strong and passionate brides of 2020 and 2021.
You can find Grace Loves Lace exclusively on their website and in their soon-to-be thirteen international showrooms. Their incredible 24/7 online stylist team communicates with brides online, by phone, or through a scheduled virtual appointment that walks you through each gown’s unique design and fit.
Displaying the wide range of fashions available to every bride on her wedding day, these five emerging and innovative female bridal designers demonstrate how personal your wedding dress shopping experience can be. Especially during Women’s History Month, consider supporting women-owned businesses who are equally passionate about uplifting other women as they are their designs. Imagine how dazzling you’ll look and feel in a wedding dress crafted with a mission that reinforces the love you’re celebrating.
Images provided by | Cynthia Grafton-Holt (headshot): Gyan Gurung Photography | Cynthia Grafton-Holt (designs): Courtesy of Cynthia Grafton-Holt| Love Lives Here (headshot): Dana Dufek | Love Lives Here (designs): L Aliza Baran | WONÁ Concept: Courtesy of WONÁ Concept | Kynah Designs: Mia Bokhari | Grace Loves Lace: Pierre Toussant
I am bowled over by this article…Thank you so much for using your voice to raise awareness and promote fresh talent.
What a breath of fresh air!!!
Thankyou so much for sharing this. It is so wonderful and inspirational to see new talent that deserves to be shown off. Truly breathtaking work!
I am so proud to see my school friend Cynthia, recognised for her achievements. She has strived for so long to reach this point and deserves every acknowledgment, she is so creative and talented. She is able to work with the brides and take the vision in their heads to becoming a fairytale dress to wear on their special day, being key to every part of the process.
I am so proud of you Cynthia.
Growing up in Smethwick as my senior, I always felt that you were specifically gifted in your area of expertise. Your determination never wavered. Your personality shines through to your creativity. Your beautiful inside and out.
I would be honoured to wear a design of yours created just for me on my wedding day.
You continue to be sweetly amazing.
What a fantastic article in honour of Women’s History Month! There are so many talented and creative women out there, each with an amazing story to tell and it is extremely inspiring to others to know that dreams can come true and to pursue your aspirations! I am just beaming with excitement that I am on a magical journey in becoming a bride of Cynthia Grafton-Holt!
Thank you so much to our beautiful bride for finding us and inviting us to design a breathtaking & timeless gown brimming with her personality and style.
Bespoke wedding designer
Cynthia attended an all girls school in Smethwick.
Her early creative design pieces she produced at school were highly prized and sort after by her peers.
I have followed Cynthia’s journey.
She is one of the best in her industry and always strives for perfection to please her clients.
She never disappoints.
I am so proud of you Cynthia on your accomplishments.