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Vancity Vendor: Pure Magnolia

January 11th, 2013 by Jeannine

 
Vancity Vendor: Pure Magnolia

Who would’ve thought a design school project would turn into a career for designer Patty Navel? That’s exactly how Pure Magnolia got started. Her class had to create a line of clothing for an undeserved niche market. Once she realized there wasn’t much of an offering of sustainable wedding gowns, she created her own line of dresses that are modern, feminine, as well as eco-friendly. She even got her first order as soon as the project was over! Eventually, she was able to quit her day job and focus on growing her fledgling company.

For the last 3 years, Pure Magnolia has provided wedding gowns for the environmentally conscious bride. They also re-purpose leftover scraps of fabric and turn them into beautiful accessories like belts, fascinators, headbands and veils. The 2013 collection is quite affordable with prices ranging from $300 for a short dress to $2,400 for a beaded gown, while most dresses are around the $1,000 mark.

So how does it work? Pure Magnolia dresses are made to your size so measurements must be taken when the bride first orders the dress. They then create a muslin (a “rough copy” of the dress in cotton) and call the bride in for a first fitting to make sure the shape of the dress is right. Afterwards they construct the dress over the muslin, which now becomes the liner, and the bride is called in for a second fitting. Any last minute changes are made and the dress is finally ready to take home. All dresses ordered directly from their studio have all alterations included, which is fantastic… an extra expense you don’t need to worry about. If you love Pure Magnolia but live outside the Metro Vancouver area, they also sell their sample dresses on Etsy, but you may need to get them altered at your own expense in your hometown.

From time to time Pure Magnolia hosts sample sales which you can find out from their Facebook page, Twitter or perhaps here on Vancity Bride! There are even plans for traveling trunk shows (Victoria – Jan 18-19, 2013 and Ottawa & Toronto in the spring) but you gotta follow them to stay updated! Patty is really looking forward to meeting you – the best part of the job she says, is seeing her brides’ happy faces when they leave with their dream dresses, a job well done on her part.

A Few Words With Patty…

What do you have to offer to brides with lower budgets?
“We do rent our dresses so that is always an option. Dresses rent for about half price plus a deposit. We are also sometimes able to sell a sample of a particular dress. Another thing we do quite often is to change the fabric or style of a dress slightly to bring down the price. We might have a dress where the lace is half the cost of the dress and can be easily substituted for another that looks just as beautiful.”

Can clients get wedding dresses in other colours? How often do you get that request?
“We quite often mix and match elements of our dresses to make sure that each bride gets her perfect dress. Most of our dresses are available in white and ivory. Any dress you see that is black is also available in a more traditional colour.”

Explain how Pure Magnolia is eco-friendly. Why did you decide to be an eco-friendly designer?
“I wanted my business to be eco friendly because to me it is really important to try to do all that we can for the planet and for future generations. We try to be eco friendly in as many aspects of our business as possible. All of our dresses are designed and produced right here in Vancouver. This means that we are not creating emissions by shipping things around the world, we are able to keep a close eye on the quality of the product, and all of our seamstresses are paid fairly for their excellent work. We also like to keep the fabrics as sustainable as possible. We use organic cotton to line all of our dresses instead of synthetics, we get our silk from a family farm in India that recycles all the water they use in fabric production (wasted water is a huge issue in the textile industry) and we like to use recycled fabric that was headed for the garbage or vintage lace from old dresses. We also cut our garments in a way that wastes as little fabric as possible and we re-use all of our scraps.”

If a bride needs a dress in a short period of time (for example, a month), how do you accommodate that?
“We do rent dresses which is a fairly quick turnaround time because the dress is already made. We can’t do major alternations on rented dresses so the dress needs to fit pretty well but we do carry a range of sizes from 2 to 14. Another option is to buy a sample dress. Also, we have some simpler styles that can be made new in one month.”

What kind of dress would make the biggest impact on a small budget? Do you have a certain dress in your collection that will give the wow factor for a budget price (under $2000)?
“It depends on what kind of impact the bride wants to make. We have some really fun, different short dresses that would look amazing for a retro style wedding that cost under $1000. We also have some real show stoppers with huge trains such as the Sea Shell Ball Gown for $1800, and the Hemp Mermaid for $1900.”

What one piece of advice would you give to a bride when it’s time to choose a dress?
“If it feels right, it’s right. You don’t need to worry about it anymore.”

What one piece of advice would you give to a bride and groom for their wedding?
“Your wedding should be about the two of you and the love you share. Not the flowers, not the venue, not the mother of the bride. Make sure you are happy on your wedding day.”

To contact Patty, visit her website.
Do you have what it takes to be a Vancity Vendor? Apply here.

Photographer credits: Christine Williams Photography (feature photo), Fresh Photography, Vanessa Voth Photography, Vixxi Pix, Urban Wed Photography, Brendon Purdy, Patrick Chard

Vendor prices are subject to change. All prices quoted are accurate to the date published.

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