Becoming an expert fashion designer requires a lot including learning from others. Every fashion designer goes through a process to bring out stunning designs for their clients. In this column, we explore these processes.
Over the past few weeks, we have spoken with various fashion designers on the process of making outfits like the customer fave one-strap bridal gown, the corset and tulle ensemble, the Peach Perfect bridal dress, and the grey wedding dress. This week, we spoke with Oyinkansola Ileyemi on the process of making her Shakiro 2-in-1 wedding gown.
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SHAKIRO. Which is your favorite of the 2looks?👇🏽👇🏽 Ball or straight . 2pcs A-like dress, with draped on bodice, fit for a queen. Beautiful lace fabric @bumzy_fabrics2 🌸 . For enquiries, please send a dm or WhatsApp 07069293014. #ninolastyles #niniclothing #ninolawoman #ninolabride
A post shared by Nini Clothing (@ninolastyles) on Oct 25, 2020 at 4:43am PDT
What was the Process of Creating the Shakiro Wedding Dress like?
The Shakiro dress, just like all our other bridal dresses, started with a consultation. In consultations, we talk about the silhouette, colours, design, fit, and all other things about the dress. This is to know what the bride has in mind for her dress.
During the consultation, I come up with a rough sketch to further visualise the dress to make sure the bride and I are on the same page. Often, just speaking about the design verbally does not convey the message properly so we have to sketch.
After the consultation, I sent the bride a photo of my sketches. Since it is a 2-in-1 dress, I had to let her know what both will look like and she fell in love with it. After this, we discussed on the fabric to use.
The sleeves on the Shakiro dress were puff sleeves. When I am styling a modest bride, which comprises about 70 per cent of my clientele, I love using exaggerated sleeves.
Since we cannot show skin, what better way to make her shine than to put in some extra details into the sleeves. Initially, I wanted to make it a regular puff sleeve, but during the design process, I switched it up and told her about it. She was fine with it after she saw it on the dress form.
Throughout the production process of this dress, all our interactions with the client were done virtually because she is in the UK. Usually, we communicate with our clients virtually till it is time for fitting.
“I can not overemphasise on the need for fittings. Fitting is key. Fitting is life.”
Even though our outfits usually fit our clients perfectly, as far as the measurements they sent in are right, we advocate for fittings.
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RACHEAL ———— Here’s how happy our brides are, wearing ninola! __________ Bride @rachelokoji Mua @reyhstouchmakeover Dress @ninolastyles Henna @hennaby_jumai Hairstylist @stylensmilenation Hair @hairbyjalak Accessories @accessories_by_nini Decor @omgdecor1 Bouquet @ninolastyles Photog @jdfrankweddings @JDFrankstudios #red #redhair #bridal #bridaldress #bridalhair #bridalmakeup #shortdress #bridalparty #bellanaijaweddings #bnb
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What Inspired The 2-in-1 Wedding Gown Design?
Once I get a client, I make inquiries at the point of consultation. For Shakiro, I realised she is not an over-the-top person, but a calm and reserved one.
At my brand, we take care of all the styling needs of the bride from her headpiece to her purse, bouquet, jewellery, and shoes. It was at this point that I realised she is not one that likes to be too blinged up or shiny.
For the dress, we decided to go for masked sequins and we found the perfect fabric for it.
“The fabric we used was decided based on the type of person she is. Once we can understand what our brides like, we can settle on the fabric to use. So, is she a ‘bling Lagosian’ or is she a calm person? Shakiro is calm and does not like attention so that informed our decision.”
For the style, since she has told me she wanted a 2-in-1 dress because she was not going to do any engagement or extra ceremony, I knew she would want to change to a reception dress. The 2-in-1 dress was meant to save time for changing.
I looked at the dress and decided not to go the normal way of having the ball gown just pulled off. I wanted it to look like another dress entirely and that is where the nude inspiration came from.
“I always ask my brides questions about their faith so I know what kind of dress to make for them.”
Since she is a modest bride we, at Ninolastyles, explained to her that the dress cannot be overly nude so the officiating authorities would not go against it. Since she is a hijab-wearing bride, it meant she needed full coverage, including in the sleeves, because showing skin while wearing a hijab does not go well.
After everything, we went for a not-so-nude lining under the dress, it was nude enough to make the dress pop without looking like her skin. In the beginning, she was sceptical about it but because her sister referred her to us she decided to trust us.
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ANNIVERSARY . See who’s our anniversary bride today! Its @yaoki_ oyinkan our amazing April bride. Oh the memories we shared from consultation to fittings! It was AMAZING. We still cherish it like we did when we made her dress. ❤️❤️❤️❤️ Happy anniversary oyinkan! We love you.❤️ Her bouquet was the most beautiful ever💕💕💕 . #ninolastyles #niniclothing #ninolabride #muslimbride #nikkahoutfit #bridaldress
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What Factors do You Consider when Making a Wedding Dress?
Before making a wedding dress, I have to know what silhouette the bride wants for her big day. The silhouette determines almost every other thing about the dress.
The bride’s personality determines the style and design of her wedding dress. When I know what kind of person she is, we can decide on what style of dress will best suit her.
You need to know what modesty means in each person’s faith and what level of modesty they stand on. Some faiths do not allow fitted dresses so you have to know what her faith level is.
For Islamic brides, there is a difference between the bride that uses a hijab and the one that uses a turban. The turban-wearing brides can be flexible and show some skin but the hijab-wearing brides have to be fully covered.
For Christian brides, it is pretty much the same. You have to know what their church rules say about dressing and work with it.
“The budget tells us what fabric we can buy, what silhouette we will do and so many other things about what her dress and fit will look like.”
This is a very important factor because her budget is key. Her budget lets me know what I can do with her dress and what to limit.
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KOKO First photo of koko @deb_damsel in her court wedding look! She absolutely trusted me with her entire look, and I made sure she looked amazing. What other way to speak court wedding without a birdcage veil! So we made her a matching one 💕 May god bless your union koko ❤️❤️❤️ Cage veil @ninolastyles Makeup @bucchii_signature #ninolastyles #niniclothing #weddingdigestnaija #courtwedding #nigeriandesigner #lagosdesigner #fashiondesignerinlagos #birdcageveil #bridalstyling
A post shared by Nini Clothing (@ninolastyles) on May 24, 2019 at 6:21am PDT
What Skillset does Bridal Fashion Entail?
To be a successful bridal dressmaker, the most important thing to have is an eye for it. Bridal requires attention, zeal, time, patience, and so much more. It goes beyond knowing how to make a dress.
“In doing bridal fashion, you need to know how to sit and listen to the bride’s requests because brides take it very seriously seeing as it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them.”
You need to learn to not let your opinion overshadow hers and let her explain what she wants. This is an important personality trait every bridal fashion designer needs to have.
How do You Come up With Styles for Each Dress?
The styles for my dresses usually generate from each bride. I tend to build on what she wants. Even if she does not know exactly what she wants, she will have an idea of what she wants to look like.
“Every woman has to be unique in her space and every dress has to be unique to the woman. There is no such thing as a regular dress, the dress might be simple but it unique in itself.”
I help her get a more in-depth look into what she wants and the styles will come. Even if we want to sketch a design, we have to first have a silhouette so we know what we are working with.
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How do You Achieve Great Fit with Your Corsets?
Corsetry is an art on its own and one that requires practice and knowing what exactly you what to use a particular corset for. I love the way it emphasises a woman’s figure and I just play around with it.
“Just like when you are chiselling a stone, corsets help me chisel people’s bodies”
Depending on what the woman wants to use a corset for, I play around with it. Does she want to use it as an outfit of its own? Does she want it as a second piece on the main dress? Am I making it as underwear?
We often use corsets for our bridal and occasional wears.
In closing, she said, “Invest in yourself and use your money to buy knowledge. Do not go around poking into designer’s businesses and asking them for quick fixes, it would not get you anywhere. Save up and invest in knowledge.
Even if you spend money on something and realise you already knew what they told you, you have to remember that no knowledge is wasted. Do not ever look for shortcuts to work.
There is no such thing as a self-taught designer, if you want to go far in fashion designing, you need to take courses. They help a lot.”