Fashion

Bridal fashion – A tale of two designers

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Weddings will always be in style but over the years wedding dress styles have evolved a lot. Brides dream of a perfect wedding ceremony and when planning a wedding the first task is to pick a date for the ceremony. The Zambian wedding industry has grown tremendously over the years and brides have more choices than ever when it comes to picking their outfit for their big day.

D’bour : the-up-and-comer

I chatted with Twaambo Himululi, an up and coming fashion designer and owner of D’bour, about all things bridal fashion. D’bour is a clothing line that deals in both men’s and women’s apparel.

“With my clothes, I want people to dress like the elite at an affordable price. I started the clothing line as far back as 2012 as I’ve had a passion for fashion since I was little. I loved getting old clothes and recreating them into my own designs,” she says.

“My first bridal collection, called ‘I DO, I DID’ can be described as simple and subtle. On such an auspicious occasion, all eyes and attention are on the bride, so the best thing is for every bride to be elegant and comfortable. I choose to go back to old fashion trends and make simple wedding gowns. People have different and mixed feelings about their special day and how they should look. I design dresses for the ones that choose to look simple yet elegant and the dresses are mostly one layer with simple details because the idea is for it to be light and comfortable,” she further explains.

When asked what makes her gowns different, Twaambo explains that she’s always up for a challenge and likes to think outside the box. She further explained that she loves diversity and enjoys incorporating colour into her reception gowns, while ensuring elegance.

“The process of creating something special is not a one man job. I have a team of people who help me bring my creative efforts to life. The process of it all is done with so much love and passion and our goal is to make the bride happy,” she further explained.

I asked Twaambo what advice she would give a bride-to-be. She stated that heritage is important and she believes in passing down certain prized possessions; because fashion is cyclical the gowns can be worn by generations to come.

She further advised that a bride-to-be should get her dress ready at least a month before the big day and should always try on the dress at least twice a week as most brides tend to either lose or gain weight and lastly, always have a backup dress!

Debbie Chu: the powerhouse

Owned by Deborah Chuma, a fashion designer and visual artist, Debbie Chu is a fashion powerhouse. Deborah is a self-taught designer, who takes charge of every aspect of the design process and even factors in the ambience of the wedding venue in her final design.

“Bridal wear or high end evening gowns was the least of my interest, which to be honest I never explored but was just scared.

My first wedding dress was forced on me by a client who was a regular. Her friend was getting married and gave me all the creative freedom to design her dress. I went for a black, gold and ivory pallet. The magnet was the broken rule of it not being white and feeling traditional. I’m a rule breaker I guess. The dress fitted like a glove. The bride loved it. I cried, she cried, the groom cried and social media loved it,” she says.

Debbie has been designing bridal gowns for four years now and tends to step away from the traditional white wedding dress. “Our aesthetic is unconventional and contemporary, I thrive more when given the creative freedom, of course following the creative brief given to me by the client. I aim to make a Debbie Chu bride happy,” she explains.

Debbie Chu’s bridal line and evening wear has continued to grow outside Zambia as well. Her gowns have been ordered all over Europe, Asia, the US, South Africa, Tanzania, Australia, China, Italy, France, Botswana, Kenya, Namibia and Canada.

Debbie explains the process of gown making and the importance of consultations with the bride. During these consultations she carries out a “fashion psychology examination” where she gets to know the bride, her style, taste and what she wants. Debbie adds that oftentimes brides think they know what they want based off what they saw on the internet or her past works.

These consultations help her and the bride to create something phenomenal together that is true to the bride’s taste. “I tell my brides to trust me as their designer and know that I will bring the vision to life. I want brides to leave their worry and stress with me. It’s my job to do an incredible job and deliver on time,” she says.

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