Change is good when it's for the better. For the modern modest bride of today, fashion and technology couldn't be more right! Forget those days when you had to make time out of your day to schedule-in an appointment with an atelier to get your measurements for your bridal gown along with the continuous fitting days too. Those days are slowly leaving and being replaced with technology. As you heard! To prove it, meet Stasia Modest Couture, an online site with a physical location in Chicago that allows the bride to fully customize her bridal gown online choosing over 1,000 combinations. All of this without having to step a foot away from your computer--except of course when you have to get your muslin package in the mail to do your one and only fitting in your house.
We had the opportunity to visit with Anna Steinberg, founder of Stasia Modest Couture at her shop where the modest bridal gowns online orders come in and are made. Although we tried, but her free-spirited and inviting personality along with some Kosher delicacies really made it hard to focus on our interview meet, so we just had to make a sequel, but again those delicacies and our warm conversation won us over. Somewhere in our conversation and our tea with Anna, we learned about the ordering process of the online modest bridal gowns. It is actually quite simple! You design your modest bridal gown online, send in your measurements, Stasia sends you a muslin of your measurements, you pen in any changes, send it back and your next package is your modest bridal gown. If for any reason, you use or want to use a tailor, Stasia gives you a voucher at a certain dollar amount to use. All gowns are handmade and machinery use is very minimal. Some gowns can take up to 240 hours to make and one person is assign per garment order--it's that personalized! Stasia Modest Couture also counts with a lead designer that does sit with the bride and work from sketch to final gown. We asked Anna in our interview more in depth questions to learn about her and her pioneer online modest bridal customization gown business.
At what moment in your life did you decide to fully dedicate yourself to modest bridal wear?
On June 26, 2011, I married the love of my life. For the six months leading up to that special day, I was stressed. The primary source of this stress was due to the fact that although I had 6 months to obtain a gown, I couldn’t find one that was both beautiful and modest. In the end, I purchased a gown and then lengthened the sleeves. While the gown alterations were difficult to notice, this is a tedious and uncertain path for most brides seeking modest elegant gowns to take. The absence of these gowns in the bridal market inspired me to create a way for a bride to have not just a few designer chosen modest options but to let her create her own custom made design.
Tell us a bit on your background and how it led you to Stasia?
As a child I loved to draw and paint. For my 10th birthday my grandmother bought me my first sewing machine and began teaching me how to sew. After high school, I attended the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City. However, having lived in a suburb of Chicago for much of my life, NYC was a bit over stimulating for me at 18 years old. I decide to move back to Chicago and continue my undergraduate education at a local university. After completing university, I attended (Loyola University Chicago-Quinlan School of Business) business school, specialized in entrepreneurial studies and earned an MBA. With the background in fashion and business and the desire to help brides facing similar problems, I decided to found Stasia.
What’s the meaning of Stasia and how did you come about the name?
I was born in Ukraine and named Anastasia. In the process of immigrating to the United States, my mother shortened my full name to Anna. I have always been fond of my original name. Using the lost part of my name allows me to express my vision of old world elegance and modesty combined with modern styles- it’s what Stasia Modest Couture epitomizes.
Stasia allows brides to customize their own dress via online. What inspired this idea?
I feel that the wedding gown should be as unique as the bride herself. Thus the only way I could imagine bringing a bridal line to market was by making hundreds of different designs to fit each woman’s individual tastes and personality. While practically impossible for a startup using a standard business model, we took advantage of the web to create an app to do just this. With our custom, patent-pending, design process, the bride can choose from 10 different sleeve styles and lengths, 10 different bodices, and 10 different skirts as well as a variety of luxury lace, silks , satins and tulles, to create her ideal gown. This gives the bride over 1000 different combinations of gowns to choose from. We then added our unique Perfect Sizing ProcessTM to guarantee perfect fit and sizing of the gowns even from remote locations.
From all the brides throughout time, which one is your favorite?
Grace Kelly had an undeniable elegance and her wedding gown set the standard for wedding gowns both modest and non-modest alike. Although I must say that my new favorite has become The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. She looked effortlessly elegant on her wedding day and I feel that she recharged the allure of a more modest and beautiful wedding gown.
How long does a customized bridal gown take for completion?
If a bride comes to our store and gets sized, it is 4-6 weeks from the time of order. If she orders the dress over the internet, we take an extra step to make sure that the measurements submitted will fit her perfectly. We make a muslin based on those measurements within 7 days, mail it out, have the bride try it, mark it up with changes and send it back in a postage paid box. Once we get this muslin back, we adjust the original measurements and make the dress within 4-6 weeks. Either way, this makes it a perfect option even for short engagements.
Does Stasia make home consultations?
We do not offer this service at the moment. There is however free street parking in front of our store, just don’t tell the mayor ;) Since we are also internet based, we also offer phone consultations that help walk brides through the process, with or without the bride being behind a computer.
What does a Stasia bridal consultation involve of?
In store consultations begin by going through the bride’s vision of how she has imagined herself on her wedding day. One of our experienced designers then suggests various options that would look best with her body type. Next she is welcomed to try on our modular samples including different sleeves, bodice, and skirt and select the type and color of fabrics used in her dress. We then take 12 different measurements to customize the gown. Finally, the bride leaves our boutique with a personalized sketch of her wedding gown and we begin the creation process.
Is Stasia open to customize bridal gowns for more involved modesty like that of a Muslim woman who may require a headscarf piece in addition to a veil?
Absolutely! In fact we make custom hijabs to match the dress color (white, ivory or champagne). If a woman would like to wear her own hijab, we offer to dye it for her to match her gown (the dying service is offered gratis with her gown purchase). Furthermore, we are able to add embroidery and embellishments to the hijab to match the intricacies of her gown or just make her wedding hijab extra special.
Visit Stasia Modest Couture at www.stasiabridal.com