Though Black History is made every day, this month I want to spotlight Black businesses in an industry that I once spent a lot of time thinking about – weddings! While it feels like it was so long ago, our wedding remains one of my most cherished memories. When Jonathan and I were planning our wedding, we made a commitment to support as many Black owned businesses as possible. And since my dress was one of the biggest items on our budget, I was so ready to splurge on a Black owned bridal gown. If you’re shopping for a wedding dress, then keep reading this list of 10 Black wedding dress designers based in Africa, Europe and North America.
I have to start by shouting out my luxury bridal design house (doesn’t that sound so fancy?), Jean Ralph Thurin! Haitian-American husband and wife team Jean-Ralph and Delfrance Thurin run the bridal salon in Somerville, NJ and specialize in custom and ready to wear dresses for all occasions. I absolutely LOVED the two looks JRT created for my wedding! Not only does Ralph have a beautiful eye for lines and shapes, but he has an amazing assortment of fabrics to put together your dream dress. For brides who want a sexier look, the HUExJRT collection has an assortment of melanin friendly flesh toned linings that give the perfect see through look. African brides who want a western style dress in traditional fabrics can also turn to JRT – he made my second reception dress with fabric we got in Nigeria.
I must say, Imad Eduso is definitely one of my favorite Black designers that I supported in 2020. This Nigeria based designer has the classiest, dreamiest occasion wear, and I am so proud to have some of her quality items as part of my wardrobe. I’ve gotten so many compliments on my culottes, Betty set and Audrey pants set from her line, so you’ll be really happy to know that she make the most gorgeous wedding dresses too! Her wedding dresses are perfect for ‘the minimalist bride with an edge’.
Brooklyn-based designer Andrea Pitter’s Pantora Bridal line has recently risen to acclaim, after she designed three gorgeous dresses for her own wedding. Her designs are perfect for fashion-conscious brides who want glamorous and edgy details added to traditional fabrics and silhouettes. Pantora also has a Pantora mini line for cute little bride and flower girl dresses. She’s also a great option for full-bodied women – the dress she made for Ty’s wedding was stunning!
One of my most recent discoveries is London based Cynthia Grafton-Holt. I actually find out about her from one of my blog readers and what a lovely discovery indeed. Cynthia spent many years working for high-end designers in the fashion industry where she was able to master her luxury garment making skills. Her bridal gowns are stunning and she is definitely worth checking out!
For brides who want someone to create the dream dress you’ve been obsessing over on Pinterest for years, Brides by Nona is the place for you. Atlanta based designer Nneka Alexander specializes in custom made bridal and ready to wear designs, as well as bridesmaid options. On her website and on Instagram you’ll see that her dress designs are intricate and she specializes in over the top trains and veils!
You may be familiar with the Toronto-based swimwear line designed by Dumemi Iyamah, but she branched into designing bridalwear as well. She offers the most exquisite made to order design options to cater to a variety of brides and tastes. When I started dress hunting for my wedding, Andrea Iyamah was actually my first choice but she was simply too far for regular fittings.
Founded by Haitian-born Christelle Dominique, Mejeanne Couture offers custom wedding dresses in similar styles to many designers I tried on at David’s Bridal. In addition to bridal wear, she also designs couture gowns, and is most known for designing many outfits for the Miss Haiti pageant.
If you’re looking for a designer that is widely available in retail stores, Ethiopian-born Amsale Aberra‘s eponymous bridal brand Amsale has classic and modern wedding dress and bridesmaid designs at select Nordstrom stores, as well as bridal boutiques and their NYC flagship store. The Nouvelle Amsale line is great for budget brides, with most designs under $2500. A total steal!
UK based Naomi Deru’s minimal but sexy wedding gowns are perfect for brides looking for an understated wow-factor on their big day. Her clean lines and sophisticated layers of lace are just gorgeous! Scrolling through her latest collection low-key made me want to get married again. An absolute must-see for British brides.
For my Ghana based readers, allow me to introduce you to self-taught wedding dress designer, Ajoa Akwaboah. I came across her Instagram and I was pretty impressed by her bridal gowns, especially since she developed her design skills all on her own. Not only does she make white wedding dresses, she has a fabulous selection of traditional wedding dress designs that I love too.
Which of these bridal gowns by black wedding dress designers are you feeling the most? Did I miss anyone? Share in the comments!
Feature Image: Pantora Bridal.