Not Another White Dress: Irish bridalwear with a sustainable edge

Victoria G. L. Brunton sits down with Irish designer Carolyn O’Sullivan, the woman behind Not Another White Dress.

With 15 years of experience in what she defines as “the technical side” of design, Carolyn O’Sullivan’s level of skill and craftsmanship isn’t easily matched.

However, this unrivalled expertise isn’t what sets her label apart from the rest, rather it’s the unconventional, exciting, and creative approach that Not Another White Dress takes – and successfully applies – to the overtly traditional area of bridalwear.

Made in Ireland using luxury fabrics including French gold tweed, floral jacquard, metallic lace, iridescent sequins and silk satin organza, O’Sullivan’s re-wearable bridal collection is a masterclass in slow fashion, where fabrics are kept in minimal stock and sometimes made especially for individual brides in very small quantities.

Speaking to the designer over Zoom, I was excited to find out where the idea for this brand originated.

After graduating from Limerick School of Art and Design, O’Sullivan worked as a patternmaker in Ireland for just one year before moving overseas to Australia for a further 14. Luckily, the Emerald Isle got her back just before her brand came to life.

“I was shopping for wedding dresses with a friend a few months before moving home,” she tells me, explaining that they were searching for something a little different, but the alternatives “just weren’t there”.

This lack of choice across the bridalwear industry stuck with O’Sullivan. This combined with her want to explore other areas of the industry, outside of patternmaking, ignited the spark that would result in founding her own label.

Starting off, the designer knew two things: firstly, that she wanted to create a niche in the bridalwear industry unlike anything currently on the market, and secondly – because of her professional background – that her skillset could handle the production side of a label with ease.

“I always knew I was going for the niche,” she explains, “I’m not going for everybody. I don’t want everybody. I am capable of so many different aspects of design; patterns, sewing, etc. I was working daily with sample machinists over 15 years, learning from them and picking up tips but also guiding them.”

With these factors in mind, she began extensive research into what she wanted h

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