Wedding dress designer, Jennifer Go, shares with us fond memories of her mother’s talents and how they gave her an appreciation for the art of sewing, handmade garments and bespoke designs.
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Tell us about yourself?
My family is originally from China, but we moved here when I was just six years old. Some of my earliest memories are sitting with my mum as she sewed beautiful dresses for her clients. I like to think that dressmaking is in my blood. My mother has always been a fantastic seamstress, just like my grandmother before her. I’m incredibly lucky to have grown up surrounded by beautiful fabrics and designs – I was always the kid in school with perfectly tailored clothes! Naturally, I fell in love with the fashion world. I became enamoured with the idea that the clothes you wore had the potential to transform you into someone else. I saw fashion as a way to express my personality and how I felt.
How did your journey into the bridal world begin?
I was stuck in a very dry, corporate job that left me feeling unfulfilled and wanting more out of life. I toyed with the idea of creating my own ready-to-wear fashion label, but in the end I was always drawn to the opulence and uniqueness of bridalwear. One day, the opportunity presented itself to me – I came across a lady that was selling her bridal store. We spoke about her business and chatted about the industry and at some point I made the decision to take the leap.
I’ve had so many of my friends tell me how hard and stressful they found the process of finding their wedding dress – they would tell me how impersonal it felt and that eventually, all the gowns they looked at just started to look the same. For some reason, this really stuck with me. I saw that there was a need for an entirely different experience altogether especially because it’s an incredibly special time in their life. So I try to do everything that I can to make the experience a memorable one for all brides.
Memorable in what way?
The gowns I design are more than just their beautiful lace and fine fabrics. Every single element helps tell a story – her story. No two women are exactly the same, so why should their dresses be? It’s actually one of my favourite parts of the process – I love getting to know the bride, building a relationship with her and creating a truly one-of-a-kind piece that represents her perfectly. And I think it makes such a huge difference for brides to work with a designer who genuinely cares about her and what she’s about. You play so many different roles – you become their honest friend and ‘sounding-board’. It’s your job to give them feedback on what works and what doesn’t and to run through different aspects of their vision. Most importantly, you’re there to make the whole process run smoothly and ensure that she walks down the aisle looking her best and feeling her best.
“The gowns I design are more than just their beautiful lace and fine fabrics. Every single element helps tell a story – her story.”
What’s been your biggest source of inspiration throughout the years?
As business owners themselves, both my parents have always encouraged me to do what makes me happy. Knowing that they had the confidence in me to succeed at whatever it is I did gave me the confidence to believe I could.
My mum in particular has always been a huge inspiration for me through every step of my journey. Not many women these days can say that they made their own wedding dress from scratch – my mother did. She made her own wedding dress and still has it to this day. Back then you really had to be more creative with the fabrics and designs as you didn’t have as much to work with. I’ve always admired her for that. She’s resourceful and hard working and is a fierce business woman. Whenever I feel things are a little tough business wise, I think of her and ask myself what she would do in my situation and it’s always gotten me through the rough patches.
What’s one thing your mother taught you that’s stuck with you?
My mother really instilled in me the need for patience, in life and in business. There are times in this business where you forget how momentous this one day is to this one person because you’ve gone through the same process so many times. Take a step back and see it from that person’s perspective. Patience is key.
What advice would you give to couples in their search for the dress?
When planning your wedding, try not to be too clouded by other people’s opinions – everyone will have one, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to listen to all of them. When looking for your dress, limit the number of people that accompany you to your fittings – go with one person if you can. Choose someone you trust and whose opinions you really value. Then once you’ve narrowed the field down a bit, that’s when you ought to bring in the rest of your bridal party for advice on final touches.
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For more beautiful lace and fine fabrics, visit www.jennifergobridal.com.