Saying I do to sustainable, British wedding dresses with designer, Nina Rose Griffiths.

Nina is the personification of her company, Nina Rose. She’s elegant, sophisticated, modest and captivating (and has an undeniable love of silk). Nina may be an anomaly in the wedding dress world (most designers are older than twenty three!) but Nina Rose is taking the bridal world by storm with her 100% silk wedding dresses. We met up over coffee to discuss dresses, dreams, draping and determination…

Getting started in the bridal dress industry can seem a little daunting. Fashion school seems the obvious first step. Not for Nina. She started off doing an art foundation course and had every intention to go on to do a degree. But she decided it would be too prescriptive and controlling. “The tutors were unnecessarily mean and would make everyone cry. I was wearing a beautiful, sheer, draw dropping dress made by a woman who had previously worked for Vivienne Westwood and Vera Wang. Yet, the tutors were so unnecessarily harsh that she just stood there crying.” So after her foundation Nina got an admin job in a small stationary and textile company. She saved her monthly pay cheque for silk and samples and spent every free evening and weekend trekking up to a little studio in Hackney to work on her dresses.   

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Nina describes her very first commission as being the best day of her life. “I think I almost passed out. In my head I don’t really think I had come to terms with someone wanting to wear one of my dresses.” After commissioning some of Nina’s dressed The Wedding Dress Club instagrammed a Nina Rose dress and within two hours a lady got in contact with Nina saying that dress was the one. But Nina, although excited, was very aware how different a photo of a dress can look. She was also worried about going up against all the other exclusive ranges in The Wedding Dress Club like Carolina Herrera, Berta Bridals and Zuhair Murad. “I worried she was going to go for her fitting and see all the other dresses with similar prices.” All Nina could do was to sit by her emails and wait. And then it came. “I was in disbelief. My brother Matt and I just started jumping up and down in the office laughing. I rang my parents and my mum had to wake my dad from his afternoon nap! (He didn’t mind, he said it was a good enough excuse.)

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Social Media played a key role in the best day of Nina’s life. However the bridal industry responds to social media with mixed emotions, particularly when it comes to Pinterest. 176 billion people on the planet have a Pinterest account. And there are 38 million boards specifically created for, you guessed it, Weddings. (It’s estimated that 27 million of these boards are made by brides-to-be before they have a partner!) Nina weighed up the pros and cons.  She sees it as being great for the design and inspiration stage because it acts as a virtual mood board. “But, I think what people don’t realise is that for brides it’s absolutely detrimental for picking your dress. People come in with an entire Pinterest board dedicated to their perfect dress. But this Pinterest dress might not actually exist and may not suit their body type.” So brides keep looking. They sometimes come back four or five times before they settle on one. Pinterest has made making a sale much more challenging for designers.

Another challenge for Nina is work-life balance. “At the moment my priorities are earning enough money to live in London, time to socialise with my friends and the business.” Nina doesn’t think running a business means she has a worse balance.  “I don’t think my life is any more stressful than anyone else’s, in many ways it’s probably less because I actually like what I am doing!” But she is also very open about the sacrifices she has to make. “Sometimes I can’t do something with my friends because I don’t have a stable income. I have to temp when I can and I have business loans to pay off so big nights out aren’t always an option! I sometimes forget I am 23 but I wouldn’t change it or do anything differently.” The reality of being a young entrepreneur is that it’s not always glamorous.  But Nina’s love for what she does makes the challenges and sacrifices well worth it.

Check out Nina’s beautiful creations on Nina Rose, The Wedding Dress Club and don’t forget her instagram page!

Stuck with what to get your special someone this christmas? Check out Nina Rose’s new line of 100% silk slips…  

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