Industry Interview: TH&TH on the changing face of bridesmaids’ fashion

Industry Interview: TH&TH on the changing face of bridesmaids’ fashion

In the first of a series of interviews with industry experts and super suppliers, I chat to Louie from To Have & To Hold on affordable luxury, modernising tradition and how she grew her passion project into a fully-fledged successful business. 

Tell us a bit more about TH&TH – how and why did you start the business?

When I was planning my wedding back in 2014, I couldn’t find any bridesmaid dresses that I liked or that fit my very specific vision for the day. I had found my dress and knew my husband would be in black tie, but couldn’t find any bridesmaid dresses to complete the look. So, I decided to make my own! I have a background in fashion and knew I wanted a high-end couture vibe to the day. Ping, one of my current business partners, helped to design different dresses for each of my maids; Amy O’Boyle photographed them and when I shared the photos people just went crazy for the dresses. Along with the other business partners Kitty and Susan, we then started making them just for our friends’ weddings; Wedding Ideas saw the photos and the rest – as they say – is history! 

Who is your customer?

Our customer is the bride who wants her girls to look incredible. Bridesmaids should be able to feel as good as the bride without ‘outshining’ her. We really feel that there aren’t many people who design with that in mind which I think is reflected by how hugely disproportionate the cost of bridesmaids’ gowns are compared to the bride’s. Bridesmaids have such a special role on the day and we want that to be reflected in how they feel when they wear our dresses. 

What sets you apart from other brands in the industry?

I think the fact that we want bridesmaids to feel premium; in our dresses they wont ever feel like an after-thought. Our look is very specific – it’s affordable luxury and we’re all about elegance and sophistication. We made a conscious decision to only design full-length dresses with that in mind; our dresses definitely have a ‘formal’ look to them rather than, say, a boho vibe. Our tagline is ‘a modern take on tradition’ which I think captures what we’re trying to achieve perfectly. Weddings are still formal events even though they are more diverse and relaxed nowadays – we wanted to promote that side of things through our dresses, whilst still bringing them into this century. What’s more we believe that through our products and services we can modernise the whole shopping experience – no more dragging bridesmaids kicking and screaming into busy shops to squeeze them into dresses they hate!

What’s your biggest piece of advice when it comes to brides shopping for their maids? 

Think about your bridesmaids within the story of your own dress. Whether that is budget, colour, fabric or whatever. The two elements must compliment each other. Your dress needs to be the starting point and your bridesmaid dresses should amplify, rather than detract from it. 

Where do you stand on everyone wearing the same style / colour vs mixing things up?

I think it’s whatever works in the context of that ‘story’ that I mentioned before. Both can work – both can be modern, both can be fresh. Matching can look really chic; mix and match can also look so stylish if it’s done well. But they key thing is to keep all of the dresses within the story.

What do you see as the next big trend in the industry – bridal fashion or otherwise?

Individualism. For the last 5-10 years the ‘Pinterest look’ wedding has dominated proceedings – much of which has been driven by us suppliers – but I think people are moving away from that kind of look and wanting something totally individual now. The digital age we live in also has a lot to do with it; whereas before the photos would stay in the album at home, now all the images from your day are accessible on multiple different platforms meaning the wedding needs to stand the test of time.  So I think we’re going to keep seeing many more individual statements in the near future – whether it’s the dress, the venue, or the little touches that make up the day.

What does the future hold for TH&TH?

More beautiful gowns! We are working hard on creating new fabrics and new categories. We continue to be part of The Wedding Gallery – a totally immersive shopping experience that has to be seen to be believed and is definitely worth a visit if you are wedding planning. There are also more collaborations coming up – we’ve got something very exciting planned with Studio Seed based around bridesmaid gifting boxes in the New Year. There may also be plans in the pipeline with veils and flower girls…just watch this space!

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