Posted on June 22 2023
Summer bridal season is in full swing, and we were so excited to recently be introduced to the Founder of Maybelle NYC, Christine Carlson. We love how Maybelle is reshaping the bridal industry by designing elegant, ready-to-wear vintage wedding dresses tailored to fit modern brides perfectly. Think one-of-a-kind vintage pieces recreated, allowing brides to experience the enchantment of the past. Additionally, they provide a customized service to reimagine your cherished heirloom dress. Read along to find out more about Christine and what Maybelle offers brides.
ALLY Shoes: Tell us about yourself.
Christine: Since childhood, I've been enamored by the world of fashion, particularly the glamorous costumes featured in Hitchcock's timeless classics. As a teenager in Minnesota, I spent countless hours reconstructing vintage dresses, developing a passion that grew stronger with time. Leaping, I embarked on an exciting adventure, going to study fashion at Parsons School of Design. It was a turning point, and I never looked back! As a student, I had the incredible opportunity to intern at esteemed fashion houses like Geoffrey Beene and Oscar de la Renta. These experiences were invaluable in shaping my skills and deepening my love for the craft. Once I graduated, I continued to refine my craft by collaborating with esteemed designers in the showrooms of many of the industry’s most well-known and formal designers. When I'm not immersed in the world of dress design, you'll often find me indulging in my other passions. Cooking, baking, reading, and taking leisurely walks with my family are some simple pleasures that bring balance to my life and rejuvenate my creative spirit. These activities allow me to recharge my batteries and find inspiration in the beauty of everyday moments.
ALLY Shoes: How did you become inspired to create a sustainable upcycled bridal gown business?
Christine: I became inspired to create a sustainable upcycled bridal gown business through various factors. Firstly, my passion for fashion and creativity played a significant role. I have always been enamored with the beauty of bridal gowns and their transformative power. However, it was the environmental consciousness of my Gen Z daughters that truly sparked the idea. Witnessing their commitment to sustainability and their concerns about the impact of the fashion industry on the environment, I realized there was an opportunity to merge my passion for bridal gowns with a sustainable approach. I delved into research and discovered the concept of upcycling, which involves transforming pre-loved or vintage garments into new, unique pieces. This resonated deeply with me as a long-time vintage fashion enthusiast, it allowed me to give new life to existing materials and reduce waste in the process. The idea of creating upcycled bridal gowns, where each piece tells a story and carries its own charm, became a driving force for me. I saw the potential to create one-of-a-kind designs that not only captured the essence of each bride but also embraced sustainability principles. By repurposing and upcycling materials, I could offer brides the opportunity to wear a stunning gown while reducing the environmental impact associated with the production of new garments. It felt like the perfect blend of my creative passion, my daughters' environmental consciousness, and the growing demand for sustainable choices in the bridal industry.
ALLY Shoes: How long, on average, does it take for you to recreate a bridal gown?
Christine: Recreating a vintage gown is a process that takes several weeks. Breathing new life into an older piece starts with studying its original construction; I learn so much from the actual state of a garment, and it gives me insight into imagining its transformation possibilities! After honing in on a new design, I source the fabrics and materials I intend to use for the piece. Most components require some cleaning and restoration. From there, the dress is often entirely disassembled. Draping and new design elements are carefully worked out with our skilled artisans. From there, the dress is carefully reconstructed and pieced back together. As each piece is unique, so is the process. Ultimately, the result is a showstopping gown that achieves the elusive quality of timelessness.
ALLY Shoes: What inspires you every day to work with brides to create such a special dream of theirs.
Christine: What inspires me every day to work with brides and help bring their dreams to life is the incredible joy and excitement that radiates from them. Being a part of such a significant moment in their lives, where they envision their perfect wedding day and the gown that embodies their unique style, is truly special. The trust that brides place in me to curate something extraordinary for them is both humbling and inspiring. I am motivated by the opportunity to positively impact their experience and contribute to their happiness and confidence on one of the most important days of their lives. Moreover, the opportunity to combine my love for design and my passion for sustainability with the happiness of others fuels my passion every day. Whether they choose a gown from our Ready-to-Wear Couture Collection or have a treasured heirloom that they want to transform, their enthusiasm for wanting something extraordinary keeps me inspired and motivated.
Pair with ALLY's Bridal Collection
ALLY Shoes: Who is your ally?
Christine: My ally consists of like-minded artisans, particularly women who own small businesses and prioritize conscious practices that are friendly to the planet and put people over profit. We share a common ethos and approach to our craft, emphasizing quality, sustainability, and ethical values. Our goal is to create unique and meaningful products while minimizing our environmental footprint and supporting fair trade principles. I am fortunate to have found several supportive networks where we collaborate, exchange ideas, learn from one another, and collectively work towards a more sustainable and socially responsible business landscape. Together, we foster an environment of creativity and shared values, striving to create a better future for our businesses and the planet.