In a sleepy little Riverina town, there is an old church that is hard to see but easy to find - tucked down a side street and built behind a wall of flowers and baby willow trees. Instead of pews, a pipe organ and a pedestal, there is handfuls of chiffon, hat boxes of thread and dress patterns stacked in hap-hazardous piles. Merrin is a dressmaker with an incredible passion for her work, love for creativity and heartfuls of infectious excitement.
Merrin meets with brides throughout the wedding season, designing gowns and pouring late nights and love into personalised, once-in-a-lifetime dresses.
Her love for her craft is pouring our of her, and I love speaking to her every time I have the opportunity. I first met Merrin during a collaborative shoot with a handful of amazing local vendors, and I have worked very closely with her multiple times since.
When did you develop a love for textiles?
I developed a love for textiles in my childhood, the influences being two generations of women in my family, who were exquisite dressmakers. Being surrounded by fabrics, colour, textures and observing the transition of cloth to a garment and the subsequent decoration constantly amazed me. My involvement with theatre costuming further intensified my passion for the capabilities of textiles and what one can do with fabric.
When did you decide that weddings were for you?
My interest in wedding gowns happened by default. I was approached by an acquaintance to design and make her gown. I agreed, and discovered I enjoyed the process of making elaborate and different garments for significant events.
What do you find rewarding about bridal gowns in particular?
The challenge. The thrill of negotiating with the bride to be, and having the autonomy to make decisions about fabrics, trims and accessories. It’s very special witnessing the brides delight as the making unfolds.
How do you ensure individuality in each gown?
The process of open communication and education with the bride of the design means each gown is very different. We choose a design, style and appropriate choices in fabrics in order to enhance her silhouette and personality, and also coincide with the initial concept.
What kind of input do brides have in designing their gown?
Each bride has major input into her gown from the outset. She is required to show visuals of her concept at the initial meeting, and from there it is my responsibility to communicate an accurate interpretation of the bride’s vision, and to consistently demonstrate my understanding of her desired gown.as well as assisting with designing where necessary.
Why would you recommend bespoke gown for brides?
Making a gown that is a direct connection is extremely meaningful. Having a personal contribution throughout the entire process from start to finish is very special. With candid communication, honesty and trust, I facilitate that a bride’s own personality is reflected in her gown, and that she feels at one with it on one of the most significant days in her life.
Want a bespoke gown? Find Merrin here.