EUROPEAN STYLE: This model is wearing a European style silver grey wedding dress with pink trim and matching headwrap.

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African bridal fashions

By \\\\\ Kimoy Leon Sing

“Most brides want to feel like a princess on their wedding day; and they should,” said fashion designer Gladys Louis, the owner of Jahz Bridal Trinidad. The establishment is run from her home in Belmont and though small in size, Louis said that’s where she makes the magic happen.

“The one day a bride can expect all eyes to be on her; she should feel confident, beautiful and comfortable in the dress of her dreams,” she said. 

Creating gorgeous weddings gowns for the past 26 years, Louis launched a new Afrocentric wedding collection, titled Nubian, just in time for Emancipation Day. Capturing the spirit of the bride, her ethnicity and individuality Louis fuses various cultures and design aesthetics into her collection while utilising traditional and modern silhouettes with couture flair.

This collection showcases contemporary bridal interpretations for today’s empowered Afrocentric princess who seeks to pay homage and celebrate the beauty and uniqueness of her African heritage.

Louis admits with the influx of so many European designer gowns readily available in stores, it can be difficult for brides to see that it is ok to be different. Traditionally, white has been the colour of choice for most brides to celebrate the big occasion but you can still be a  bride and still feel like a princess if you decide to wear something more non-traditional on your big day.

She said, “With this collection I am trying to still push ‘African-ness’, ‘Indian-ness’ and ‘Trinidadian-ness’ through apparel.”

Louis said, “If you look at my work you will see that I hardly do white wedding dresses; it is not the main colour in my wedding collections. I have done green, red and even black wedding dresses. What I have done with this collection was to show prospective brides who truly love African wear or have always wanted to feel like an African princess on their wedding day that these African elements can be added to many of the readily available modern white wedding dresses or done completely in African wear.

“A bride should never be duplicated; she should be unique and stand out on her wedding day. Through this collection I want to appeal to brides in their late 20s, 30s and onwards. Women who want sophistication; who understands their heritage and know what she wants. As a bride if you are conscious, aware and proud of your heritage then on that special day you should not do anything less than to honour it,” she said,

“In this collection, I have incorporated African geles which is a Nigerian head wrap; I have also done what I call avant garde fascinators and other pieces which you would not normally find with a traditional bridal gown,” Louis said.

“Though the months of May, June and July are popular months for weddings, these special occasions happen all year round,” she said.

“It is always a joyous moment for me when I get the opportunity to work with a new bride and bring her vision to reality. From the top of head to the tip of her toe, we work with the bride to show her what silhouettes will work best with her body type and what accessories will complement the dress,” she said.

To see more of Louis work, you can go to her Facebook page Jahz Bridal Trinidad.

 
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