Bridal wear line WED talks about its royal links, designing dresses that go beyond a wedding day and COVID-19

By Heather Cichowski

WED is a London-based bridal and eveningwear line that was established in 2019 by Amy Trinh and Evan Phillips. It came to be out of Amy's search for her own wedding dress. She didn't find anything that resonated with her and that could be worn after her big day.

Thus, WED was born, combining elements of early couture, surrealism, ready-to-wear, sustainability and versatility, resulting in pieces that can be worn before and after a bride's nuptials.

The bridal and eveningwear line also has a connection to the Royal Family, including Princess Diana and Princess Anne, thanks to a common fabric mill!

Amy spoke with HELLO! Canada about launching the brand, the plan to disrupt the industry and one-day dresses, how the coronavirus is affecting the business and WED's royal connections.

HELLO! Canada: Tell us about how WED was started in your quest to find a wedding dress. What was it about the gowns on the market that didn't resonate?

Amy Trinh: When I was looking for a wedding dress, nothing felt personal or different or had a sense of practicality that meant I could wear the dress again after the wedding day. I did not want to spend a lot of money on something that could only be worn once! It makes absolutely no sense for that sort of buying behaviour nowadays.

As a brand, we are conscious of the fact the people should begin to buy things that they absolutely love and that can be worn over and over again. We design with the intention that our clothing can be worn again, to transcend the wedding day in different occasions and scenarios.

I felt with the current bridal offering, the aesthetics were similar across the board, and that meant it excluded people like myself who did not want a fairytale wedding dress or followed traditional silhouettes.

Was your goal always to disrupt and make people question traditional bridalwear?

Yes, our intention was to disrupt this market and question what is bridalwear today. There are civil partnerships, same-sex civil partnerships, same-sex marriages, multicultural marriages etc. and we wanted to reflect this with our take on modern bridalwear.

People are beginning to see weddings and bridalwear in a completely different light. We wanted to provide people with an option that did not adhere to traditional aesthetics, and this is carried through all our imagery. What we had noticed was that the concept of marriage has changed considerably and bridalwear had not.

Although our brand name touches on the idea of wedding, through "WED," we see it more as combining two elements together – a partnership, a coming together in whatever shape or form that might mean for people. This is reflected with me and Evan, a coming together of different but complementary aesthetics and skills.

Photo: © Marlen Keller

How do you hope people view bridalwear in the future?

We definitely hope it is no longer a one-day-wear thing. But we understand that many people still want that fairytale wedding and that huge gown. We appreciate that, but hope that people may find ways to resell, donate etc. It is no use [to have a dress] in a box under the bed.

Me and Evan in our own personal lives only buy garments that we absolutely love and we normally wear the same things to death. We do not buy often, but when we do we intend to wear it forever.

If you can imagine one piece in your wardrobe that you would absolutely not give away, what would that be? That love for that garment should be the same for absolutely everything you have in your wardrobe. We design with the intention that it surpasses trends.

MORE: The special details you may have missed from these royal brides' wedding day looks

Tell us more about WED's fabric and the connections to Princess Diana and Princess Anne.

Stephen Walters primarily specialized in neckwear, and began to introduce fabrics as well as being commissioned to weave dress fabrics for couturiers and other special occasions. This included the wedding dress for Princess Anne in 1973 and wedding dress for Princess Diana in 1981.

Diana's 1981 wedding dress was nothing short of iconic. Photo: © Getty Images

The mill is known for weaving beautiful fabrics for the Royal Family. The standards are extremely high and the fabrics are so beautiful! We began to work with them as we knew and understood the quality that is achieved at the mill due to the royal links. They had given us dead stock fabrics that we used in our collection for AW20 which included a jacquard satin stripe, silk taffeta, basket weave fabric and silk faille.

(Editor's note: Please note the fabrics are not those from the royal dresses.)

How did you come about discovering the mill and using the stock?

We are currently artists in residence at the Sarabande Foundation and Trino Verkade is the founding trustee at the charitable initiative set up by the late Lee Alexander McQueen to support young artists and craftspeople.

Trino introduced us to the mill as she has worked with them previously and recommended us to work with them. It was an amazing match, the mill is incredible and the work they do is beautiful. Their history is so deep – 300 years – and it was amazing that they gave us their beautiful dead stock to use.

Photo: © Marlen Keller

How important is sustainability to you in the business as well as the bridal and fashion industries?

Sustainability is incredibly important for us, we are continuously trying to improve and source more sustainable fabrics to use in the collections. For us, spearheading this idea of the one-day dress is important for us in our sustainable practice. It is trying to shift the mindset of the people toward thinking that it is okay to buy a dress that you can wear again. It is allowing people to see the idea of bridalwear can completely be turned on its head. We hope that by offering sustainable products, we are trying to shift the mentality of buying in a sustainable way in bridalwear.

How has surrealism influenced the line?

Surrealism is a big source of inspiration for us. We are inspired by the artists Dora Maar, Man Ray, Dorothea Tanning and Claude Cahun. We are interested both in the visuals of the work, the thinking behind it but also in the surrealist method of working called "Exquisite Corpse" where each separate artist inputs their skills/ideas to create a piece of art.

Me and Evan do the same through our way of working, we are strong in separate areas of design: I normally work through draping and Evan is skilled in pattern cutting. I would do an initial drape. This gets taken in Evan's hands where he would take the drape into a technical pattern. Then we would sew it, come together and fit [it], alter [it] again and again until it's right.

Photo: © Marlen Keller

How has the coronavirus affected the business?

As we are currently on lockdown, we are not in the studio. We cannot physically work on the new collection for the time being. I have just bought a small domestic machine so I can at least do some 3D work while I am away from the studio!

All retail is currently at a standstill, which has a huge impact on their buying behaviours. Sales have been impacted. As a new brand, this is hard, as we are establishing ourselves as a brand.

Many brands we know have been directly impacted, too, even with more seasons under their belts. It is a hard time for retail and this is trickling down to the designers and to our suppliers and manufacturers.

What bridal trends do you see emerging?

We have definitely seen a rise in interest in bridalwear. It is amazing now that there are online platforms really dedicating an edit for bridalwear that is less traditional and more ready to wear. We feel there is definitely a shift happening.

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