“We see WED as being somewhere in between jeans and a ball gown.”
By Juno Kelly.
WED exists as the antithesis of what bridal wear has long represented; tradition, conventionality, purity, and something you only wear once. Their designs are abstract and striking, often created using deadstock materials, while retaining the classic drape of couture. In lieu of another (more dance-friendly) white gown that has become custom for modern brides come the evening, WED reimagines your wedding dress in the form of an LBD.
Below, we speak to Amy Trinh and Evan Phillip, the minds behind WED, about why bridal wear is stuck in its ways, how they came up with their name, and what a modern wedding looks like to them.
What does a modern wedding look like to you?
For us, a modern ‘wedding’ is any occasion that celebrates a union. I think nowadays it’s less about what tradition tells you your wedding should be or look like and more about what feels right for you – having special people around you, wearing something that makes you feel great, and in a place that allows you to create an amazing memory. It’s about brides choosing a garment that transcends the wedding day, a garment they can imagine fitting quite easily into their wardrobe but styled differently for another occasion or situation, it’s this type of thinking we find modern.
Clothing around the world has changed with the times, however bridal wear, even some of the most innovative out there, has retained its defining aspects. Why do you think that is?
Aside from the fact that conventional bridal silhouettes are generally very flattering on many people, I think a lot of it has to do with how we market the idea of a ‘wedding’ in the western world. The majority of the time, weddings are reflected to audiences in the most conventional, traditional way and dresses are part of that. People have been told for such a long time – man/woman, church, big white dress etc. But I think we’re beginning to see a change. In the U.K., you can have a civil union in jeans and t-shirt! For us it’s about someone wearing something that feels right. We see WED as being somewhere in between jeans and a ball gown.
In an age of consciousness surrounding sustainability, re-wearing our clothes has become the new frontier. This has not seemed to catch on in bridal wear. How are you working to challenge that?
I think we appreciate that there will always be a market for traditional bridal wear, it’s amazing in its own way, especially the craft involved. For us it’s about thinking about the fabrics we source – we work with deadstock and we cut to reduce our impact. We also think about what we can do with traditional dresses once they have been used. During SS21, we developed a series of dresses crafted entirely from unwanted wedding dresses, veils, and bits of lace. We are consciously designing garments that feel special for an occasion but can be worn again. This involves dissecting a wedding dress into separates, for example, making it easier for a customer to wear their wedding top or skirt on another occasion.
If you could design a wedding dress for anyone in the world, living or dead, who would it be?
We always talk about who we would love to dress in custom WED so we have a list, but really just people with personality and something to say. We would love to dress Michaela Coel and Natasha Lyonne in custom. We also think designing a wedding dress for a member of the Royal family would be kind of insane, purely because it would be breaking so many boundaries in terms of aesthetics, and knowing that millions of people would see it. I think that would completely overturn how people think they should dress for a wedding.
What made you decide to create black versions of your white wedding day garments?
It was about showing how ‘wedding’ styles could be translated into a more everyday context, because we design everything to be special but from a more ready-to-wear perspective. Also, it created a nice contrast between the traditional ‘white wedding dress’ and a reimagining of the ‘little black dress’ for evening wear.
With many weddings postponed due to COVID-19, what are you doing to stay creative during this time?
We are continuing to develop ideas in our studio and looking towards special projects for the upcoming season and new year. We just finished a project with Fashion Open Studio, exploring our recent use of repurposed bridal wear. We are lucky in that what we do crosses over several areas – as a modern occasion wear brand, we are not pigeon-holed into just doing bridal wear, which means we’re able to explore different avenues.
How did you settle on the name ‘WED’?
We wanted something that referenced the idea of marriage but that wasn’t the typical script looking ‘bridal’ brand name. We also wanted something that looked graphic and modern but had an old-world feel. Evan thought of ‘WED’ and we discussed it over drinks in the pub one night and knew it was what we had been looking for. Also, our psychic told us she could see the letter W in our future!