Today we’re interviewing the ridiculously talented Portland, Oregon based wedding dress designer Elizabeth Dye. Elizabeth is known for her feminine, period-inspired, modern designs. She also creates some of the most gorgeous boleros around. Here is a little glimpse into her world!
How did you start your business?
I have been a clothing designer since 2000, but bridal design really chose me - my first dresses were for friends desperate to find a non-poofy alternative to the traditional cookie-cutter gown. Since then, I’ve designed hundreds of one of a kind dresses - more every year. It just keeps growing. And I still love doing it!
How would you describe your work/style/aesthetic?
My dresses are made by hand, and they often feature antique trims and fabrics and take inspiration from vintage style. I love quiet details and one of a kind touches - they are really what set a handmade dress apart from something you can buy off the rack.
What information can brides and grooms provide to best help you as a vendor?
I love a bride who is confident about her taste and appearance and wants a dress that expresses her personal style. I love brainstormers, brides who come to me with sheaves of magazine tear-outs, fabric swatches and web links. I love laying out all the inspiration and discovering a common thread that develops into a unique design. Communication is so important to my process -a great dress is always a creative collaboration between the bride and the designer.
What are some common mistakes you see brides and grooms make?
Mistakes a bride makes: trying to please everyone else instead of herself or expecting perfection to the point that the process is not a pleasure. Having something made for you is such a luxurious experience, and wedding anxiety should never cloud it.
How has your blog affected your business?
I love my blog! So many of my dresses go to their clients as soon as they’re done, so I really need a place to document custom projects as they happen. A blog is the perfect format -it’s a visual diary of my process that gives my future brides a sense of how I work and what I can do. It also allows me to reach out to and work with brides across the country.
Who would be your dream team of wedding vendors?
Dream team: photographer Lisa Warninger, accessories designer Twigs & Honey, stylist Chelsea Fuss, floral designer Ink & Peat. It’s such a pleasure to work with all of them - lovely people as well as talented professionals.
What is your typical day like?
The light in my studio is best in the morning, so I am an early riser! I sew almost every morning. If it’s a day when I’m in my shop, I’m there by 11 meeting with clients and attending to business-y details. If not, I design and construct dresses most of the day, taking breaks to run to the fabric store, correspond with clients, photograph new pieces, and hopefully eat lunch. My busy season is, well, busy, so it’s not unusual to work 10-12 hours a day in the spring and summer. But I try to keep evenings free, and Mondays off.
What are the most difficult parts of your job?
The most difficult thing is…this can be a demanding job with a certain amount of drama. Weddings put extraordinary demands on people, and sometimes emotions run high. I try to keep everything as relaxed, organized and fun as possible, both for my clients’ sanity and for mine.
What are some of your hobbies and interests?
Hobbies, interests: gardening, cooking, hiking and camping in Oregon’s beautiful landscape…
What are 5 random things about you?
1) I attended law school for one year.
2) I’m left handed.
3) I am a big nerd for BBC dramatizations of Charles Dickens’ novels.
4) I love anything apricot flavored.
5) I’ll wear anything yellow.
Thanks so much for sharing your world with us Elizabeth! If you have any questions for the lovely Elizabeth, please feel free to comment below.