I’m obsessed with the cool, contemporary look of Andrea Hawkes Bridal. British designer Andrea Hawkes – who I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know over my years at STG – is at the forefront of British bridal fashion, and I couldn’t possibly recommend her precision-crafted minimalist designs any more highly.
Every Andrea Hawkes Bridal piece is designed and manufactured at her studio in London using the highest quality natural silks and lace, and the service you’ll receive at their Islington flagship is second to none.
I am consistently impressed by how meticulous and kind Andrea is, and how she truly goes above and beyond – nothing is too much for her! Plus, of course, she’s a stellar designer – while always being mindful of each bride’s individual needs. She’s the kind of person you just want to be around!
That’s why I’m so thrilled to bring you a Q&A with Andrea Hawkes herself all about her design ethos, how she got her start, and, most importantly, why her designs are just the thing for the Jewish bride looking for an elegant modern gown. If you’re looking for something sleek, simple, and totally stunning to wear on your big day, read on.
Smashing The Glass: Are there differences in what you see Jewish vs. non-Jewish brides looking for in a dress?
Andrea Hawkes: Our Jewish brides tend to go for a classic, refined yet modern look. They are often looking for more coverage/something that adds more coverage that they can take off later. Higher necklines, covered backs, and an overall more modest look and feel are also common asks. Jewish brides will usually wear a veil. In cases where they are adding an additional piece for more coverage during the chuppah, our Jewish brides are always seeking a seamless look that appears as one whole dress. Sheer coverage/lace is a popular choice with our Jewish and non-Jewish brides alike.
STG: Are there any styles that are especially popular with Jewish brides?
AH: Any of our strappy designs with a lace top or jacket are popular. India, with its high neck-line and long sleeves, is also a lovely option for a more classic covered look.
STG: What do you offer for brides looking for a more modest look?
AH: We have a varied selection of lace tops, capes, overskirts and veils that our brides can add to our dresses for an added layer of interest or indeed a more modest look. Our India dress with long sleeves and a high neckline, and Wallace also with long sleeves, and Juno with beautiful sheer coverage. Our made to measure service also means that if a bride would prefer to add a cap-sleeve, long sleeves, raised back or raised neckline, we are perfectly happy to do so. And if a bride has a specific idea and wishes to create a more modest look from scratch, we will work collaboratively with the bride to create her dream dress from initial sketch, toile and silk fittings, to the finished dress design.
STG: And how about for those brides who may need to cover their shoulders for the chuppah but might want a more revealing dress otherwise?
AH: We have a varied selection of lace tops, capes, overskirts and veils that our brides can add to our dresses for an added layer of interest or indeed a more modest look.The bride can then remove this additional piece revealing a whole new look underneath. We can build a lace top or overdress over the top of a strappy fitted design or something that is a little more open for the evening.We would of course make sure this looks integral to the dress – a seamless finish that would blend effortlessly into the dress as a whole.
STG: Jewish weddings tend to have wild dancing! What are some Andrea Hawkes options that are easy to move in?
AH: We offer a range of fluid relaxed and comfortable options – our Juno dress has a beautifully flowy skirt, as do Maya and Joy. We only work with the finest silks and French lace. This means that our designs are silky soft to wear and move beautifully too – an added bonus when it comes to hitting the dance floor.
STG: How did you start out in bridal fashion and what drew you to bridal in particular?
AH: Growing up I was always into making things and particularly sewing – I always wanted to be doing something creative and to do something with my hands. This then led on to me studying for a degree in Fashion Design, and getting back to basics with regards to sewing, making, tailoring and construction. It was around the same time that I also got myself a part time job in a local bridal shop in St Albans, and it was here that my passion for bridal was born. The shop was an independent boutique with a personal touch, focusing on British designers with a luxury minimalist aesthetic, which ultimately inspired me to grow Andrea Hawkes into the brand that it is today.
STG: What do you love most about working in the bridal fashion world?
AH: I love that I get the opportunity to get to know my brides on a personal level during the dress making process. Whether it’s a small tweak here and there to one of our existing designs or a fully bespoke gown, working alongside our brides to create their dream wedding dress and hearing about their plans for the big day is what it’s all about for me.
STG: Can you describe your signature style?
AH: We specialise in modern, simple bridal designs, and have done since day one. All the collections are crafted with fit and precision, made using natural silk fabrics, beautiful French lace and delicate beading and sequins. Our designs classic couture shapes into modern contemporary designs, using the finest natural fabrics and attention to finishes and details creating a simplistic and strong aesthetic. Our brand ethos is to provide a personal and professional service in a welcoming and relaxed environment.
STG: Where do you start with each new collection?
AH: We always have our bride in mind when designing a new collection, and we are often inspired by the conversations we have with our brides during the dress making process. We design dresses that are minimalist yet luxurious – the beauty is often in the simplicity, and a less is more approach is definitely true of our designs. We work as a team which is very important, as the team look at different elements of the overall journey; from sales to the production and making of our dresses. Each person in our team has an important yet different input into our new collections. Fabrics are always a great starting point as well as inspiration from couture fashion.
STG: Tell us about your ethical fabrics and materials?
AH: The quality of the fabrics we work with is something we are extremely clear about and deem to be integral to our brand. We will only ever work with traditionally woven silks using natural fibres and French lace, meaning that each of our designs has a naturally luxurious look and feel.
STG: Would you say your designs are for a variety of body shapes?
AH: Yes! We will always work with each bride individually to ensure she is happy and comfortable with the finished design. We have a range of samples available to try on in dress sizes 8 to 20 in our Islington showroom, and our bespoke service means that we are able to offer a completely personalised approach to the dress making process. We are able to tweak our existing designs to ensure the very best fit for each bride, from the slight alteration of a neckline shape to the addition of shoe-string straps or lace capped sleeves.
So there you have it! We just can’t get enough of these incredible designs -and the ones we’ve showcased here are just the tip of the iceberg. Do head over to Andrea Hawkes’ site to see the full gorgeous collection!
All photos provided by Andrea Hawkes Bridal.