Though Black History is made every day, this month I want to spotlight black businesses in an industry I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about – weddings! Jonathan and I made a commitment to support as many black-owned businesses as possible for the wedding, and since the dress can be one of the biggest items on the budget, my search for a black bridal designer started a long time ago. If you’re shopping for a wedding dress, then keep reading this list of six black wedding dress designers based in 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.
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!
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. The website is a bit (ok VERY) basic but 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 recently began designing bridalwear as well. Only made to order design options are available at the moment, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a full collection was released sometime in the near future. When I started dress hunting, 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.
Which of these bridal gowns by black wedding dress designers are you feeling the most? Did I miss anyone? Share in the comments!
*If you’re interested in designers in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, check out this post.
Feature Image: Pantora Bridal.