Alana Winter is an avid lover of style. She believes that size does not dictate and is forever on the quest to celebrate femininity and encourage women to love their bodies no matter what size or shape you are.
Bride and Winter is a bridalwear company in Dunedin that offers an array of gorgeous wedding dresses from brands across the globe.
Winter is the buyer and style director for Bride and Winter, however, she does not come from a background in buying. She initially studied a degree in Social Work due to her longstanding passion and desire to empower those who suffer from social injustice. Alongside this, Winter has a strong passion for style and clothing. She lived in Melbourne for eight years and pursued study in Personal Styling. She aligns her desire to empower women and passion for style in Bride and Winter which is seen in their overall brand ethos as well as the company’s donations to New Zealand’s Women’s Refuge.
The ‘yes to the dress’ ideal is not what fuels Bride and Winter. “It is merely the vehicle we use to empower women to feel good about themselves, their bodies, all shapes, all sizes, all ages,” said Winter.
“We adore women, what we stand for, what we endure, how we balance, how we love, how strong we are, yet so gentle at the same time. This is what we channel with every bridal appointment.”
Bride and Winter stocks dresses across an array of styles. Just because a particular style is on-trend, it does not mean that that style is what every bride-to-be is looking for. Bride and Winter offers styles that are edgy, a little outrageous through to simple, classic or conservative looks.
When Winter looks for designers to stock at Bride and Winter, she looks for the values that the designers stand for. It is incredibly important that it aligns with Bride and Winter’s values. Moreover, Winter will see if designers offer a wide size range that will fit on ‘real-time’ body shapes. A dress that looks great on a mannequin but does not translate to flatter real body shapes is not what Winter looks for.
Each designer Bride and Winter stocks will have their own special point of difference. Winter likes having designers that offer something unique.
When giving advice for designers wanting to find stockists, Winter believes that your imagery should be prepared and personalised for each stockist. It is important that your garments are of exceptional quality and serve a point-of-difference, however, if your imagery does not match the same quality, it is likely a buyer would not be as inclined to stock your brand. A photo tells a thousand words, thus, product imagery must be on par with the New Zealand market and trends.
Winter is drawn to stocking designers who do not make stockists commit to a large number of designs. Each dress that is brought into Bride and Winter for a particular reason – how it sits on a woman’s body. With smaller capsules, it allows Winter to be ‘picky’, that way she is confident that the stock she commits to will look fabulous and flatter a particular body shape in which she is buying for.
Winter loves exploring emerging designers to stock as their designs, without generalising, are more on the ‘edgier’ side.
“We like to think we are pushing the boundaries in bridal styling for girls in the South.”
Winter is conscious of the financial stress a lot of brides have when planning weddings. Although weddings can be as cheap or expensive as you like, Winter has a variety of dresses for every bride-to-be’s budgets. Generally, Bride and Winter tries to keep their dresses around the $2,000 - $2,500 mark. However, they also stock high-end designers such as Trish Peng and Made With Love Bridal for those who are looking for something a bit more luxe.
The bridal industry has gone through various trends and challenges; however, Winter has been doing it her way since they opened back in 2018. Bride and Winter do not tend to industry norms and it’s been working just fine for them.
Winter is most excited to be one of the first stockists worldwide to debut Evie Young Bridal. Evie Young Bridal fuses polar design elements together – the collection is harmoniously representative of the women who will wear them; beautifully diverse.
When talking about ‘style trends’ for bridalwear, it is basically non-existent according to Winter.
“Our brides increasingly appreciate high levels of comfort on their wedding day, so, if I was to pick a trend that’s on the decline for 2020, it would be a dress that inhibits movement or dresses that do not allow for some dancing!”
The impacts of COVID-19 has been a challenging and scary time for us all. Winter is seeing how the next year will play out, but Bride and Winter definitely have plans to launch their own separate bride range that is designed and sewn in their own studio. It’s a weird time for Bride and Winter, but Winter is super excited to accept the challenge and make the best out of the situation!