Rising star Gbemi Okunlola, the young fashion designer and creative director of Alonuko, currently holds the title of Britain’s youngest bridal wear designer. The young designer has been designing and creating evening wear for ladies and gents for a few years but recently decided to venture off into bridal wear. She started making a few wedding dresses and then decided that she was going to tackle this industry and boy has she done just that.
Recently we had the pleasure of interviewing Gbemi, we asked her the following questions and were able to hear from the designer herself on how she describes details of her brand.
What is the inspiration behind this collection?
The Bridal collection was heavily inspired by Growth and new beginnings. If you pay close attention to the embroidery detail and embellishments, you will notice the flowers, stems, roots, buds etc. This was my focal point when designing, as this collection was the start of a new chapter in, not only my career, but my life. As much as I like to play with shapes and different silhouettes, where most of the detailing came from was the texture on the fabric which is symbolising growth through blossoming of flowers.
What made you want to specify in bridal wear as appose to Couture or Ready to Wear?
When I made my first ever AloNuko wedding dress, it wasn’t something I had planned or was looking to go in to. I received an email from a lady who had seen my work on Instagram and was so sure that I was to be the person to make her wedding dress. I was quite shaken up at first, that she had never seen me make a wedding dress, but wanted me to make her one anyway.
I didn’t think too long on it before my excitement led me to saying yes, I can do it. In the same summer of 2013, I received another wedding order, which I took on again. Working with those two brides, was extremely challenging, as the process of a wedding dress is completely different to that of the regular evening dresses I do.
Considering I had never been taught anything in bridal, and taught myself most of the things I knew on fashion and garment construction, I literally just did what I thought was right to do. Lol. But the reward that came from seeing their faces when they came for collection was so satisfying. At this point, I considered the idea of going in to bridal, but didn’t take it to bridal, but didn’t take it too far
The summer of 2014, was the busiest summer yet, working on over 15 bridal parties and my sister’s wedding dress. It was working on my sister’s wedding dress that I realised the zeal I had for fashion, art and garment construction, not just bridal. The most challenging and nerve-wrecking challenge I could ever take on, but once the dress was executed, the way she loved it, and the way everyone else loved it-
I got to a point where I surprised myself with my capability, at that point I realised that I hadn’t yet reached the fullness of my creativity, and when working on major projects such as wedding dresses, I get the opportunity to explore my full potential, and through doing that, I feel satisfied. But what made me say “I want to go in to bridal”, was the fact that when working with brides, it is their big day so they are excited, devoted, hands on. The energy is mirrored. It makes the job more interesting for me.
I would describe my consumer as a creative, set-apart, adventurous, bespoke bride. To say you would like to have a dress designed and made for you. A dress that has never ever been made before, is major. You have never seen it before in real life, but you have this image in your head that to you is the definition of beautiful, and that’s what you want to look like, that is creative. But to actually go ahead and let me make you something that you have to allow your trust in AloNuko take the wheel, that is adventurous. It’s also exciting though. Lol. Adventurous and exciting, but more exciting.
What are the 3 top bridal trends that you currently would advise future brides to adopt on their special day? Lace, embroidery and ridiculously long trains.
How would you like your audience to describe your brand?
Classy, detailed and out of this world
What are you hoping to get out of the launch of your first collection?
Lots and lots of bridal bookings.
Which current designers inspire you creatively?
Zac Posen, Vera Wang, Maison Yeya are my top 3 designers at the moment.
It would have been Tracee Elis Ross, but I’m not sure she actually wants to get married, so I’ll say Lupita Nyongo, she is absolutely stunning, and her dark skin would look incredible in a pearly ivory AloNuko gown.
Describe your dream wedding dress?
Lol, this is interesting, because I have no idea how I would want my wedding dress.
I have quite a few projects planned out for the next few years, but I’ll let them play out as the months go by. Stay in the loop with me and AloNuko, and it will all be unveiled in due cause.
To stay connected, I’m on facebook, twitter and Instagram as @alonuko and @gbemiokunlola
My website will be up and running soon which is alonuko.co.uk