“There’s a bit of us that goes into every dress we make and it’s actually quite sad to see them go!”
Imagine yourself in a cosy room in an old chapel with high ceilings, sash windows, ceiling roses, an original fireplace and a wall bursting with beautiful plants. At E&W Couture, this is where you try your wedding dress on for the first time. This is where your dress is designed and made.
Led by Creative Director Sophie Creed, E&W Couture design and produce contemporary wedding dresses from this charming studio in a former Methodist chapel in Cardiff, Wales.
But if you’re imagining yourself in a big, flouncy meringue, think again. E&W has been breaking bridal stereotypes since they opened in 2014. They are part of the bridal revolution. They pioneer individual brides choosing unusual, figure flattering and above all comfortable dresses that won’t be kept in a box.
Sophie strongly believes that consumers should care about where the origins of their clothes. She explains that “the fashion industry is not only the second most polluting industry in the world but the majority of people who make our clothes live in poverty due to unfair wages and working conditions. This is still very hidden in a lot of companies and the supply chain needs to become more transparent. Without people caring where they’re from, this will never change. People will always exploit others, and our environment will continue to worsen. It’s a huge issue and the impacts are astronomical. Hopefully, people are becoming more aware of the effects it is having on our planet and society.”
This belief is at the core of everything E&W does. Their wedding dresses are truly made in Wales. Every single part of the dressmaking process is conducted in-house, a skill Sophie describes as a lost art.
“Wales is such a creative country, we have everything here and so much talent… not everyone needs to be in London to succeed in a fashion based industry.”
Initial designs involve pattern construction and fabric sourcing, but the work doesn’t end there. The E&W team don’t stop until their dresses are perfect. Each dress requires multiple design iterations, with each iteration demanding a mock-up of the dress in inexpensive fabrics. Only when the mockup is perfect do the team finalise the pattern and make the dress using expensive fabrics. Sarah explains: “There’s a bit of us that goes into every dress we make and it’s actually quite sad to see them go!”.
E&W is not alone in Cardiff; there are more and more creative locals setting up businesses in the city. This proves that not everyone needs to be in London to succeed in fashion. So before you head out to the high street, look to local businesses with exceptional customer service who bring something a little different.
Weddings are an incredibly personal, intimate experience. It seems fitting that with E&W Couture, a bride knows and trusts the team who put so much care into her dress.
Our Unstitched series looks behind the scenes at the companies making clothes here in the UK.
Spokesperson: Sophie Creed, Creative Director
All Images: E&W Couture