Los Angeles-based fashion designer Love Collins has been designing stylish pieces for the discerning woman for nearly a decade. “I began designing under my own label professionally, full-time in 2005,” the newlywed explains. Collins studied at Howard University and the Fashion Institute of Technology and her first major break designing under the Love Collins Custom Clothier umbrella was actually a bridal job for Kimberly Chandler, wife of NBA player Tyson Chandler, currently a center for the Dallas Mavericks. “I designed the wedding gown for Kimberly and every item the bridal party wore — over 20 people!” recalls Collins. From that point on, Collins was bitten by the love bug and her career in bridal fashion began to flourish.
While Collins has created small collections in the past, what she enjoys most is working with individual clients for custom wedding gowns, evening gowns and cocktail dresses. “Each bride is different. I don’t necessarily design with “bridal” in mind, I just think beautiful dresses,” she explains. “I always try to incorporate what the spouse’s expectation is as well,” she adds. Her fabrication of choice? “Silk! Give me silk and I’m a happy girl,” she shares with a giggle. In addition, enjoys working with brocade and adding unexpected details to her designs.
Collins’ target customer is simply a bride. The designer works with women of all shapes and sizes nationwide. “I just did my first plus-size bride this past season and she was the perfect template. When I say girlfriend was stacked, she was stacked and about 6’1!” Collins exclaims. The California native also designs dresses for the mother of the bride, mother of the groom and bridesmaids. “I try to make sure other women in the bridal party are an accessory to the bride; they should complement her. Yet, I always ensure those dresses are also special and not like anything someone can just purchase off the rack.”
Collins, who personally sketches her ideas (brides get to keep a sketch of their gown), then designs and sews each garment, generally likes to have at least a three month lead time when creating wedding gowns and her price points begin at $1,500 for a basic dress. She also gives each gown a name based on her creative process with the bride.
So what does a veteran bridal designer wear on her own wedding day? Collins responds with a chuckle, “I did wear a dress that I made but it wasn’t the wedding gown I’d always envisioned myself wearing. It was so casual, and happened to be hanging in my closet. I was pregnant at the time. It was just me (the baby in the oven), the officiant and my husband in a garden.”
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