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Our latest interview is with Mette Baillie, of http://www.freja-fashion.co.uk/  2009 VOWS Award Winner for “Best Bridal Designer”.

image courtesy of www.firstlightweddings.co.uk

How and when did you start out in fashion design and bridal wear?

I have always enjoyed designing, I have no idea when I started, but the first memory I have is making cardboard dolls and paper dresses with little tabs on which would hang on the dolls. My mum has kept some of them. I don’t think I will put them into production. I started sewing when I was very young. I did very basic pattern cutting to make the dresses. I made the first clothes for myself when I was about 8 I think. I never played with my dolls, I just made them clothes.

I got a degree in Haute Couture Design in Odense, Denmark in 1998. I already made clothes for clients at this stage. I then worked as a dressmaker in Copenhagen for a while, and then got a job for a company in England, making ladies wear for Marks & Spencer. It was at this stage I decided I would make only one of each… not thousands and thousands.

I set up my business 10 years ago. I started up really small, working from home and had a part-time job. I now have premises, and 3 members of staff, and I may be recruiting for the spring.

What changes have you observed since then?

When I started, we did almost only summer weddings, and they are lovely, but I think now the whole industry has developed so much, and is all in place to make a perfect spring wedding, lovely colourful autumn wedding, a cosy wintery feel, and so on. I feel privileged to having been part of this industry for years now, and have met a lot of very nice suppliers, who is doing head over heels to give brides and grooms their perfect day.

Can you tell us more about your designs?

We do a lot of different styles of wedding dresses. What is different for us is that we work with the bride, I try to get a very good feel for what the bride wishes most of all for her day. For that reason, we have been involved in so many weddings, forest weddings and beach weddings, very formal cathedral weddings, and weddings where the bride just says: “I love to dance, the most important thing is my dress allows me to dance with my Husband all night”

How would you describe the Freja Bride?

It can be either a very confident bride, who is not willing to be told what to wear by a bridal shop. Or it can be someone who feels intimidated by the whole wedding process, and would like to have her own input and her own say on her dress for her special day, but would like professional advice to ensure the best dress for her.

image courtesy www.firstlightweddings.co.uk

What makes you different to other bridal wear designers?

I work very closely with the bride, I do all the designing and fittings, so all your dealings will be directly with me. That is quite unique.

Can you tell us the highlight of your career so far?

My work is so great, we have highlights on a very regular basis. Brides and mothers of brides sending us lovely letters thanking us for the dress and input on their day. It has been wonderful being in the final for the VOWS for now 3 years running and winning it in 2009. We have done a few celebrity weddings and that has been great, as there was a lot of other factors involved compared to other weddings.

Do you have a personal favourite style of bridal gown, and if so, why?

I have a favourite style for most body shapes. But the way I work, it does not make sense to have one over all favourite. One dress would never work for all brides. I do like clean lines, and lush materials.

Can you tell us more about your other collections (e.g. mother of the bride)?

I don’t actually have collections as such, but we do make a lot of outfits for mothers of the Brides and Grooms, and bridesmaids dresses. The same goes for those outfits, we try to make them for that person rather than what is the style for that season. Most of the times, when we make bridesmaids dresses, we make them personalised for each bridesmaid so the neckline on each is different and so on. It often makes them look much more the same, by making them look different.

image courtesy of www.firstlightweddings.co.uk

Can you provide a price guide for both your bridal wear designs, and your other designs?

Simple Wedding dresses starts at about £700, and couture wedding dresses starts at about £1400. Bridesmaids dresses starts at £250. The price includes fabrics, and all fittings. The good thing is there will be no alterations to pay for on top of that, as it is most likely to be at a shop bought dress.

 Which other designers inspire you the most, and why?

I love to look at clothes from different eras, that inspires me a lot. I really like Vivienne Westwood, for her imaginative pattern cutting, I like Chanel, Jean Muir, I love to follow new designers, I really love clothes, so I am always looking in magazine and period books.

What do you like to do when you’re not designing?

I am a very active person, I love staying active by running, and going to the gym.. riding my VTR1000, and scuba diving. Again… clothes are really important, I am fascinated by how the body moves in clothes, and how the clothes move with the body.

image courtesy of www.elementalweddings.co.uk 

Flowers by www.planetflowers.co.uk

What are your plans for the future?

I am going to attend a few bridal fairs, so hope to see some of you there. I will make a few more dresses up, so I have more to show you as inspiration. I have a lot of things on the go in the shop, and if we continue to grow as we have done the last few years, we will need new premises at some point. So lots to look out for!

What advice would you give to brides to be reading this interview?

I think it is import to remember yourself, and the groom in all this planning. Take the time initially to work out what you really really want and each time you have an issue. go back and see what was it you really wanted. It will help you not get swayed by pushy sales assistants trying to get you to buy the dress they want to shift, that may not be the one you want the most or the one that suits you the best. We will listen to you and transform your wishes into the garment you desire.

We asked Mette what style of dress she would design for Kate Middleton, if she was asked!

I think Kate Middleton will go for something with a mix of traditional and modern. The dress i have designed for her, has a traditional silhouette being quite a full skirt, and tiny waist and long train, and long veil. But the mix of luxury materials will give it the special  sharp modern look.
I have gone for sheer chineese silk organza for the bodice and skirt. The sleeves will be sheer, and so will the skirt over lay, but the bodice will be back with satin, so it becomes opaque. This matt fabric will have a shiny silk satin edge on the hem of the sleeve and on the neckline. it will have fine silk satin ruched over the waist as a detail, and it will have a wide silk satin binding on the skirt hem.
Silk satin buttons and loops over concealed corseting below.
How can our brides to be find out more about Freja Fashion?

You can have a look at my website http://www.freja-fashion.co.uk

You are also most welcome to phone up and have a chat with us, and book an appointment to come and see us.

We work on appointment system, to make sure we have the time set aside to concentrate just on you. And we will have no interferences. The first appointment is free of charge and without obligations.


Kate Middleton dress design by www.freja-fashion.co.uk

Flowers (last image) by www.planetflowers.co.uk

Images by www.elementalweddings.co.uk and www.firstlightweddings.co.uk

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