I am so flattered to have a featured spread in the latest issue of KC Weddings (Summer / Fall 2015). In every issue, KC Weddings spotlights a local designer in the industry for their Runway Report. Turn to page 60 to read the Q&A with my musings on design, weddings and why I love living and working in Kansas City.
Special thanks to Samantha Levi Photography for contributing all the images in this feature and Lindsey Corey for her writing.
Above: the cover of the Summer / Fall 2015 issue. Above: the Runway Report. Below is the article content.
A New Twist on Timeless
Sarah Nelsen designs meticulously crafted clothing with old-fashioned glamour and modern styling
BY CONTRIBUTING WRITER LINDSEY COREY CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER SAMANTHA LEVI
KC Weddings: How did you get into fashion design?
Sarah Nelsen: I’ve always been immersed in the world of design to express ideas through multiple mediums. I discovered fashion as my creative outlet of choice while working as a graphic designer in the advertising world. I enrolled in pattern-making courses in the evenings so I could understand the fundamentals of garment design and get back to my love of hands-on making.
In the summer of 2013, I was fortunate to study draping at the London College of Fashion, fulfilling my fascination with travel and education. Soon after, I opened my online shop with the goal of bringing beautiful pieces to my friends and customers.
KCW: Do you personally make the gowns?
Nelsen: Yes, everything you’ve seen of mine has been designed and constructed by me. I am a one-woman show and strongly believe in staying connected to the design and production of all the work.
I believe one cannot fully know how to design without knowing how a piece is put together and the proper techniques for construction. Oftentimes, a sketch is just a preliminary step in expressing an idea—the real design work comes with draping, drafting and sampling iterations of a piece to see where that idea can go. Fabric selection goes hand-in-hand with the draping process. Then comes the fittings and adjusting the pattern for a perfect fit. Process makes perfect. It is indeed time-consuming, but I believe that the end result makes it all worthwhile.
KCW: How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Nelsen: My approach is refined and holistic, bringing together the disciplines that keep me fascinated. As a graphic designer, I’ve always loved creating and working with interesting prints, but I think my focus has matured and evolved to the silhouette and drape utilizing solids in unexpected shapes. I strive to make each piece unique but also to possess a timeless longevity.
My pieces make for great bridesmaids’ ensembles as well as the unconventional wedding dress. I love the idea of varying each bridesmaid’s look while keeping in the same design palette or color scheme.It allows freedom for individuality and flattering silhouettes on different body types.
KCW: What advice would you give brides-to-be when selecting their wedding gown?
Nelsen: Follow your heart—not the trends—and choose a dress that makes you feel great. After all, this day is all about love!
KCW: Tell us about your latest collection, which debuted at the 2015 Fashion for a Cause.
Nelsen: It consists of relaxed, understated silhouettes with an approachable yet luxurious bohemian vibe. The collection is soft, fluid and feminine but also references some of the more tailored bodices and structured layering I’ve been known to design in the past. I’m calling it the Strata Collection because of its elegant, earthy aesthetic and color palette. I see brides and bridesmaids wearing these pieces at bachelorette parties, and they’d be absolutely perfect to pack for honeymoons.
KCW: In addition to your collections, do you create custom gowns?
Nelsen: Yes, I love to help brides design their dream dress, especially if what they envision isn’t on the market. At least six months lead time is preferred.
KCW: Why Kansas City?
Nelsen: Kansas City is a creative community and wonderful place to be right now with an abundance of pride everywhere you turn. Great design is happening in K.C., especially with shows like the West 18th Street Fashion Show and Fashion for a Cause pushing the envelope and promoting local designers. The goal is not just for brides to seek out local design but to make this the norm for everyone in order to support the local economy and American-made goods and services.
Visit sarah-nelsen.com for more information or to request your own custom design consultation.