Wedding season is officially in full swing — should we dare to ask how many wedding parties you’ll be a part of over the next few months?
Whether you’ve got two or seven weddings of friends and family in your calendar, or if you’re planning your own wedding, one thing is for certain: outfit changes. For years, brides have been spending thousands of dollars on their own dresses, only to do the same for their bridesmaids’ with custom dresses.
Aside from being expensive, custom bridesmaid dresses are often never worn again. But Vancouver entrepreneurs and owners of Park and Fifth, Zoe Tisshaw, Brooke Johansen, and Jenny Wright-Harper, have set out to change this with their ‘un-bridesmaid collection.’
Park and Fifth have three locations across Canada in Calgary, Toronto, and in Vancouver, where all of their dresses are made.
From the retailer’s inception, Johansen explains that they were driven by a huge gap they saw in the bridesmaid market for high-quality, yet affordable styles that were on trend, and also re-wearable.
“All of our friends had a closet full of custom made dresses they’d spent a fortune on and would likely never wear again, this was something we knew we had to (at least attempt) to fix,” Johansen tells Daily Hive.
Park and Fifth are driven by the prospect of creating an in-studio and online experience that will truly get bridesmaids excited about going dress shopping. Tisshaw says they wanted to create dresses that anyone could wear and feel completely comfortable in, and this has motivated them to offer size ranges from 00 to 22, as well as a selection of maternity styles.
With creative colour palettes and textures, and dress prices ranging from $195 to $315, the un-bridesmaid collection offers a selection of combinations which make them perfect for re-wearing.
If you’re wondering who the collection is suited to, Johansen says it’s “absolutely everyone.”
“We started Park and Fifth because we wanted to democratize the industry and process behind bridesmaid dress shopping which could be a total nightmare. Whether we’re working with traditional, or really non-traditional brides and bridal parties, what people have always seemed to love is that our dresses are flattering and well priced,” she says.
“We never get tired of hearing stories from our customers about how much wear they got out of their dress or about how excited they are to wear it in a different capacity, even sometimes with a pair of boots and a leather jacket in the winter, which we absolutely love,” says Tisshaw.
Each piece of fabric used in the un-bridesmaid collection is hand selected locally, every pattern is handcrafted, and the team work closely with their production partners in Vancouver. Johansen says this is something the Park and Fifth team holds close to their hearts.
Tisshaw and Johansen met while working on the buying team at Kit and Ace and always had hopes of working together again in the future. Tisshaw says their first product was launched in June of 2016, and right away, they were focused on a “made-to-order bridesmaid collection.” They focused on virtual fittings to ensure that bridesmaids who lived far from their studio locations could still buy dresses that fit them perfectly.
Today, they continue to make beautiful pieces by combining timeless, feminine style with modern lines and chic silhouettes.
Park and Fith are passionate about operating sustainably and want to do their part to promote sustainability within the fashion industry. “We feel that we all have a part to play, no matter how small or large, in trying to alleviate the impact we place on our environment,” Johansen tells Daily Hive.
The retailer also recycles all of their scraps from every single production run. Tisshaw explains: “Instead of the scraps ending up in a landfill, they’re recycled into pillow scraps that can be purchased at our Railtown boutique.”
Any scraps not used for this project are recycled with FabCycle — a Vancouver-based pick-up service that collects textile waste and diverts it from the landfill by recycling the fabric or using it for community projects. Park and Fifth also purchase dead stock, end-of-the-roll fabric before it goes to the landfill.
Looking to the future, Tisshaw, Johansen, and Wright-Harper, are excited about adding more sleeves, prints, and colours to their un-bridesmaid collection. This August, they’re also launching their first-ever bridal collection with on-trend, affordable wedding gowns ranging from 500 to $1,300.
See more wedding inspiration photos from the bridal retailer on Instagram.