Sarah Seven ~ Portland, OR

We love Portland-based designer Sarah Seven's romantic, handmade frocks. The ultra-feminine dresses are intricately detailed with ruffles, bows and pleats and are made in stunning colors ranging from soft pales to intense, saturated hues. Read on to learn more about Sarah Seven and the inspiration behind her designs.

Sarah Seven is based in Portland, Oregon. To contact Sarah, visit her website.

Weddings Unveiled: How did you get your start as a designer?

Sarah Seven: I started selling in a local boutique and then online. I credit most of it to selling online. There is more customer interaction and it's really inspiring.

WU: How would you describe your style? Who is the woman you're designing for?

SS: I am designing for the woman who loves vintage clothing, romance and all things feminine. I love making clothing that is different from what is out there, creating a mood that you can't really find in stores.

WU: Can you tell us a little bit about your custom process for brides?

SS: Yes! I start with asking where the wedding will take place. It is important to have that down as the dress will change depending on the setting. If the bride wants a dress from my current or past collection, I start with processing the order and payment, then get measurements from her. Once we are there I send one or two samples in the color that she would like, then we get started on the dress. It's important to leave enough time - the dresses are handstitched, so it takes a bit of time. Right now I am 6 months out on floor length gowns.

WU: What are your favorite materials to use?

SS: I LOVE silk and I mostly use chiffon. I love how it takes on a life of its own. It's really fun to work with.

WU: Where do you find inspiration?
SS: Nature, colors, flowers, people, customers, fabric...

WU: Five percent of your sales are donated to charity. What made you select Compassion and IJM?

SS: Both charities are great! It breaks my heart that children are so often overlooked and taken advantage of. I chose Compassion because you can donate directly to unsponsorted children, giving them food, clothing, and schooling. IJM works to free enslaved children. To me it is basic - slavery is not okay.

WU: What does your creative process look like?

SS: You will typically find me draping. I am very inspired by fabrics and the way they move. I hand stitch often - it's very relaxing and I can get the exact look I am going for.

WU: What did your business plan look like 2 years ago when you started your line and what has changed?

SS: So many things have changed. Right now I am working a lot with local independent contractors to help with the work load. I didn't have help when I started and it is nice to know there are extra hands available.

WU: Who is your ideal celebrity client?

SS: That's a hard one...I would say Rose Byrne or Nicole Kidman.

WU: Any plans to expand into department stores?

SS: I have met with a few department stores and I don't think it's for me. I would prefer to stay in independently-owned boutiques where the customer can get a lot of attention.

WU: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

SS: One of my draping teachers at school told me that bridal was really important for independent designers to get into. I hadn't really considered it until then, but I am really happy that she pushed the subject.

WU: Tell us three things you cannot live without.

SS: My relationship with Christ, my friends and coffee!

WU: What advice would you give a bride before dress shopping?

SS: Come up with your price range and where the wedding will be held. That way you can narrow down style and color.

WU: What's next for Sarah Seven?

SS: A lot of things. I'm opening a showroom in Portland. I hope to travel to NY and LA more for trunk shows. I am also hoping to start jewelry, underwear and bathing suit lines by the end of 2010.

Images courtesy of Sarah Seven.


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