MANILA, Philippines – All brides want to feel extra special on their big day. Some decide to splurge on their dream designer wedding gowns, while other brides would rather cut back on costs and not have to spend thousands on a dress they’ll only wear once. If you’re part of the latter (and are frustrated over the lack of affordable, ready-to-wear options), you’re in luck – you now have the option to rent your dream designer gown thanks to local shop The Bridefolio.
At Bridefolio, it’s all about making “sustainability beautiful” in an industry where fast fashion is also rampant. Bridefolio co-owner JK Kong told Rappler that their advocacy for promoting slow and purposeful fashion was inspired by the rent-a-gown services already being practiced in other countries. Why not give Filipina brides the same opportunity, while maintaining the quality and expertise that comes with designer gowns?
The Bridefolio is an online ordering platform and portfolio of a “thoughtfully-selected collection” of bridal gowns made by local and international designers, each one available for rent or for purchase.
“We work directly with all local designers featured on The Bridefolio, so it really has become a partnership where we make their designs available for those who prefer to rent,” Kong said.
Here comes the bride…owned team
For many brides, it might be easier to trust a brand comprised of people who just really “get you” – your struggles, experiences, wants, and needs – and Bridefolio’s team is luckily made up of women who have also already been brides, bridesmaids, and wedding guests themselves.
“We understand brides-to-be from different perspectives, and want to help them feel their most beautiful during their wedding day. Apart from marrying the man of their dreams, how they will look like walking down the aisle is the next thing they should feel excited about, and nothing less than that,” Kong said.
Bridefolio came to life after the “turning point” of Kong, who was accompanying her bride-to-be friend to a bridal shop. Her friend had such a difficult time choosing a gown, because she wanted “to see more options.” Kong knew then that she wished she could do something about it.
“I knew of so many friends abroad who were having a ball choosing their wedding gowns since they had so many choices. And these choices were not just in the selection, but also whether they wanted to buy or rent,” she added.
At the core of it all is giving Filipinas who are open to rental more options in choosing their bridal gowns, while also taking into consideration that different brides will have different preferences.
Giving brides what they deserve
Every bride is unique, and this is one thing Bridefolio made sure to never forget in curating their collection – currently, they offer ready-to-wear gowns and also custom-made gowns in various designs and at different price points, especially since more brides have become even more mindful of costs in the pandemic.
Aside from taking note of each client’s style, preference, and budget, size and body shape are also given priority. Bridefolio’s services include minor alterations that “help ensure the wedding gown is a perfect fit,” whether you’re buying or renting. However, a few select gowns have “extremely delicate material” and are for sale only.
“While we are still in our launch collection, the great thing about working directly with designers is that we can also adapt to the size needs of our clients,” Kong said.
How does the process go? A client must first book an online appointment with one of Bridefolio’s experienced stylists via Bridefolio’s website. Because of safety precautions, only virtual viewings and home fittings are allowed at the moment. All home fittings come with a car service for the gowns of the client’s choice at a deductible cost to the gown’s price.
“Minor alterations and dry cleaning are included in the purchase or rental fee as part of our services,” Kong said.
On the website, each gown comes with a set of photos, the gown’s and designer’s names, a brief description on the gown, the sizes, and if it is available for purchase upon request.
All about collaboration
Of course, Bridefolio wouldn’t be possible without the various local designers they partner with. Hands-on collaboration and good relationships, not just with their clients but also with their partners, are crucial in keeping a business afloat.
“We fully respect the creative process of the designers we partner with. We’re lucky with the designers we partner with, as well, because they listen to our insights, whether it’s from our data, or from anecdotes of our friends and clients,” Kong said.
“We delight in partnering with designers, stylists, and creatives who have the same forward-thinking vision.”
The Bridefolio has two categories on their website – long gowns and dresses. They work with a handful of renowned local and international designer names, such as Monique Lhuiller, Vania Romoff, Vera Wang, Lulu Tan-Gan, Anne Barge, Rosa Clara, Frankie de Leon, Edwin Tan, Studio L, Hayley Paige, Lazaro, Julianne Syjuco, Reem Acra, Sophia Lolli, and more.
“The feedback has been really encouraging and positive. While we thought that this would be a very niche market, it turns out that there are a lot more people receptive to rentals than we originally thought, which makes this whole thing really exciting,” Kong said. – Rappler.com
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