Who Really Designs Wedding Dresses?

I have been working in the bridal industry for over 8 years and I still can’t give you a definitive answer to that question! You would think that if a collection has someone’s name on it that they did indeed design it but the truth is that with many collections the name on the label is just a brand and no such person actually exists. Even when the name is a genuine designer I doubt if they are responsible for the entire collection.

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Sophia Tolli Gown

Couture Dresses

With couture brands I am sure that things are a little less muddied. Vera Wang is a real person and probably designs most of the dresses but even the top designers will have assistants in their studios who contribute to the process. When you look at the more mainstream collections things are decidedly less clear. Take Sophia Tolli as an example. Is there such a person as Sophia Tolli? Yes, but her name is actually Sophia Apostolides and despite having sold this collection for many years I am still not sure how many of the dresses she actually designs herself.

Just a Name

One of the top brands in the world is Maggie Sottero. Is there such an individual? Well there might have been once but for many years it was Sophia Apostolides who designed the dresses and now it looks like there is a team behind the label’s output. If you have visions of one creative genius sitting there with a sketch book you should know that it really isn’t like that.

Team Effort

Many labels use a brand name which sounds like a person to make you think you are buying a designer gown when you are not. That does not mean that the style and quality are not equally as spectacular but there is often no one gifted individual producing the styles. The big brands are sizeable organisations who put out two extensive collections every year and the production process is almost certainly a team effort and many of the designs could very well simply be chosen from samples produced by the factories in the
Far East.


I think it would quite an experience for brides to see what goes on behind the scenes in the bridal industry. Every six months the labels show their new collections and the stores choose the styles they wish to purchase. This is usually a surprisingly easy decision as a selection of 30 gowns may often only include a handful of stand -out dresses. It is not uncommon for some of the styles to be ignored by every single shop and we actually see some real shockers!

At the end of the day the bridal industry is selling a dream and as long as a dress looks stunning I guess it doesn’t really matter who designed but I do think there is a lot of smoke and mirrors where wedding dresses are concerned. In truth it probably isn’t any different in other sectors of the fashion world. Everything from your cocktail dress to your kids’ clothes can have a designer’s name on them but that doesn’t mean that they had any input into the styling of those pieces.


Article by Sally Stacey