I hear it all the time when brides were coming to see us. I want to change this about my body, I need to loose weight before I buy a dress, and I want to make sure I look amazing for my husband. I feel pressure for our wedding day. Even though I’m not married myself, I know that these feelings of self love or loath are a part of most women.
Now, I always say to my boutiques that a women who wants to wear a Caroline atelier gown is a women who is empowered by her own beauty and has the self confidence to rock any gown she chooses and the same applies to our fashion line.
I was plagued with negative self-perception throughout my teens and twenties and if I’m honest so far probably a lot of my 30’s too. This misconception that in your 20’s your still trying to find out who you are and apparently in your 30’s you’re supposed to start to have figured that out. But it’s not always the case!
Constantly calorie counting, exercising, wanting to become this perfect version of myself that I thought would lead me to a perfect version of living and contentment… of course this was a totally crazy perception, but when you listen to the thoughts in your head, you can go off the charts with negativity.
Back then when I first became a designer I thought on the outside I had (kind of) made it, I was living in a country I had always wanted to come to, met a guy who I was completely in love with and had started my own business and was winning lots of awards and getting recognition for who I was becoming as a designer… Roll forward a few years and it all changed. I separated from my partner, moved back home in another country and really had to figure out whether this path I had chosen was one that I wanted to continue with or start a fresh doing something new, even though designing was my dream since the age of 4.
When I think about it now, I can actually reflect on it with a big fat YES! I needed to go through this to become who I am becoming today.. I believe that the universe has a purpose for us all and out of our darkest times comes a newfound perspective and purpose and a strength that I thought I never had, because I had never really had to test it!
I moved back to Ireland, into a new place with someone I didn’t know and began to rebuild my life and getting a studio to work from that I could call me own. Yes I had to come into my little studio up 5 flights of stairs (any past brides of ours will know those painful steps!) and plug in my heaters an hour before a client came in just to make sure there was heat and a lovely atmosphere for brides to come to.. If only people knew..
But you know what, like anything you are faced with in life, I made it work.
I soon rediscovered my love of bridal designing and also my love of fashion and started sketching away to keep my mind active.. Healing had begun and I began to feel good about myself again.
Around this time I bumped into a boutique owner who was from the UK but living here in Ireland and we had become friends, always meeting for coffee, having lots in common and she kept telling me not to give up my passion as I was good at it… Look at the brides who have worn your gowns, look at the awards you have won since you started (which was a short time ago) and look at how happy they are in your designs…
After this chat I decided to meet with a photographer friend of mine as I had always wanted to have some pictures taken of me to keep for myself as a little reminder when I was old and wrinkly, that I wasn’t that bad when I was younger… I thought, how hard could it be, I had been on the other side of the camera in numerous shoots and thought yes this would be easy.. How wrong was I, it was one of the hardest things I had done, trying to relax and have someone put all of the focus on me and me at my most vulnerable too..
To cut a long story short, I loved my images (I’ve put a few below but only a few) I felt good at the woman staring back at me and proud of how far I had become!
This is why I love designing and empowering women on their wedding day and also in their day to day life through clothes, you don’t have to have lots of designer clothes that cost the earth to make you feel good, YOU should feel beautiful inside and out in your wedding dress the same as you should feel confident and proud of the women you are in your every day life, the clothes are only there to add to your self love…
I am grateful for all the brides and clients we have had who, without realizing it have helped shape the woman behind the label… I know that I, like you are a beautiful deserving woman inside and out… and if you can wear our beautiful wedding dresses on your big day then fabulous, if you choose to wear our fashion just because “you can” then you are the woman I am designing for.. x