🌿 March Meet The Maker 🌿 ✂️ #meetthemaker

Hello! I’m Anna and I’m the designer and dressmaker behind This Modern Love 💕 I work from my home studio on the seafront in sunny Worthing (near Brighton) – here I’m sharing my behind the scenes story for the March #meetthemaker challenge!

🌿 How I got started…

I fell in love with sewing in my 20s. I loved the idea of creating something simple using beautiful fabrics, rather than settling for what the rather uninspiring high street had to offer. (Back then it was all fussy, garish print viscose and too short dresses made in China 🙄). I started my dressmaking journey making pretty floral print, cotton tea dresses and selling them at Camden Lock and Portobello Road markets in London – I experimented with chiffon and lace and when a friend saw my new design she asked me to make the bridesmaid dresses for her wedding, and that’s how This Modern Love began! 💕 I was really drawn to the bridal aesthetic of soft, muted colours and delicate, exquisite laces and I loved translating my relaxed, bohemian inspired designs to bridal wear…

🌿 Do what you love & love what you do…

We spend a lot of our lives at work, and for many of us our work defines us and gives us a sense of our identity – it’s really important to do work that motivates and inspires you.

I was creative but my degree was in law and I used to work in the (often, soul destroying) world of corporate human resources … I wanted to change direction and decided to re-train. I studied Fashion & Costume Design with Central Saint Martins and womenswear pattern cutting and professional sewing techniques with London College of Fashion and gained as much work experience (London Fashion Week, Sadler’s Wells, Royal Opera House) and mentoring (Career Shifters, Prince’s Trust Youth Enterprise) as possible to get This Modern Love started.

🌿 What it means to be a maker…

I was aware of the wasteful and exploitative nature of the fashion industry – most garments we buy on the high street are produced unethically with sweat shop labour and for the most part the clothes end up in landfill. I wanted to work with textiles but I didn’t want to be part of the problem: mass production of ‘fast fashion’. Being a dressmaker means creating a gown that is exactly what the customer wants; her choice of style, colour, fit, fabrics – the materials are sourced responsibly without waste, and crucially the finished garment is worn, loved and cherished.

🌿 Favourite to make…

Has to be my HELENA ivory guipiere lace bridal kimono, designed for the bride to wear on the morning of her wedding and throughout her honeymoon… I love working with this elegant lace, it’s light, delicate and drapes beautifully 💕

🌿 Inspiration…

As a bridal designer I take inspiration from a range of different sources… sometimes watching a play or visiting a gallery can spark off an idea for a design, a project or a creative collaboration. I’m a big fan of artist Clare Elsaesser and her wonderful paintings adorn the walls of my studio; her vibrant use of colour and female subjects lost in contemplation really speaks to me. I often use colour in my bridal designs for a contemporary twist on the classic bridal look: colour is a wonderful resource to convey a message and help reflect the bride’s story and personality through her dress.

🌿 Customers…

My gorgeous real brides make This Modern Love – I love it when brides visit my studio for a consultation and blend together different elements of my designs to create their dream dress, it’s really wonderful to bring their ideas to life and create something bespoke and individual for the most special occasion with their loved ones 💕

🌿 Photography…

I usually shoot my designs here at my home studio. For my lookbook shoots I work with brilliant photographer Beth Steddon and for my Etsy store I shoot the images myself with an Olympus PEN and edit with VSCO and Colour Story. I am very low tech. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Many of the gorgeous images in this post are from creative collaborations with these wonderful photographers: Sarah Kriner, Ira Gelormino, Vicky Lamburn, Steffi Schroeder, Anja Schneemann & Chelsea Hall 💕 endless thanks to these talented women! 📷

🌿 Can’t live without…

An obvious one for a dressmaker, but my Singer sewing machine, Janome overlocker, Fiskars shears and the the most crucially important piece of kit – a seam unpicker! ✂️ I’d also be lost without Classic FM – I always listen to this when I’m working in my studio.

🌿 Helper…

If by help you mean ‘destroyer of everything and first class scamp’, then I’d have to give a shout out to my daughter Eva who is 2 and a half. She can usually be found rummaging through my fabric stash and running off with my stationary.

At the moment I manage all the design and making myself, but as the business is growing I’m looking to recruit an assistant to help with making and studio fittings… 👏🏻

🌿 Creative friends…

My creative friends have helped me enormously: Victoria JK Lamburn (an excellent fine art photographer) captures my designs beautifully in the soft natural light and really brings them to life with her relaxed styling, and Lou (a fellow designer and Etsy creative) behind the lingerie label Brighton Lace is an excellent business mentor, we regularly meet up to share ideas about our lacy projects!

🌿 Achievements…

I’m super proud of the awards I’ve won – ⭐️ Elle Magazine’s Talent Spot Award ⭐️ (here’s a few pics of my paper sculpture installation and my sketchbooks from my Saint Martins days) ⭐️ Finalist at the UK Wedding Awards ⭐️ and most recently winner of ⭐️ Best Bridal Designer & Dressmaker at the 2018 Wedding Industry Awards ⭐️ Its always such an honour when This Modern Love is featured in magazines and wedding blogs, take a peek at my press page to see details…

🌿 Goals…

I adore the fine art aesthetic and I’d love to work on my photography skills to try to capture my designs with better lighting and styling to reflect that. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to attend a workshop at the end of the summer, but for now it’s back to the making! I’m working on 5 gorgeous bridal gowns next month ✂️ #weddingseason 💕

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading a little about the story behind ThisModern Love! 💕

Anna

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This Modern Love at LABEL Fashion Show

Huge thanks to LABEL Fashion Show in St Andrews for this beautiful shoot featuring my peach tulle bridal gown in this dreamy woodlands shoot…

This Modern Love is showcasing ten looks in LABEL’s spring fashion show at the Ruffles Hotel in St Andrews where the performance is themed around fairytales 🧚🏼‍♀️ and body positivity 💪

Good luck to the amazing team at LABEL for their incredible show! X

The Wedding Crowd: ❤️ This Modern Love featured in a romantic styled shoot in Liverpool 💕💕💕

🌿 Love this romantic styled shoot by the dream team at The Wedding Crowd- huge thanks to Ro for putting together this collaboration, the cake is a masterpiece! This shoot features my new design, which is a little glimpse of what’s to come in Modern Love’s 2019 fine art collection – floral appliqué over champagne tulle, dreamy! 🌿 x

Credits:

Collective: @theweddingcrowd / @Theweddingcrowd

Photographer: @allison_stoddard / @Allison Stoddard Photography

Dress 1(traditional romantic, pleated bodice): @thebridalbarnboutique/ @The Bridal Barn Boutique

Dress 2 (Champagne tulle and floral appliqué): @this_modern_love_bridal / @This Modern Love Bridal

MUA: @jeanetteflynnmua / @Jeanette Flynn

Hair: @hairby_kathleen / @Hairby Kathleen

Stationery: @turretstationer / Dragonfly Couture Stationery

Styling: @feathersandbark / N/a

Hair pieces: @clairehilldesigns/ @Claire Hill Designs

Jeweller: @noctuajewellery/ @Noctua- Jewellery & workshops

Cake: @rothecakeartist / @Ro The Cake Artist