When you first hear that most of the gowns we sell are made in China, I’m sure what first comes to mind are cramped, uncomfortable factories where people work in poor conditions with little to no pay. We’ve all seen the pictures of this happening halfway across the world, and as consumers, we don’t want to be a part of that.
Recently, when I was visiting Chicago on business, the bridal gown manufacturers thought it was important that they spend time showing us what goes into making the dresses our brides decide they want to wear on the most important day of their lives. Most of the designers we carry at Blush are produced in China, so we thought it would be very beneficial to share with all of you what goes on behind the scenes to create your one-of-a-kind dress!
The first thing on most people’s minds is why make the gowns in China? There are many reasons, actually! The people working in these factories are artisans, not just laborers. They can do things with a needle and thread that you or I could never dream of being able to do, all with precision, accuracy, dedication, and care to each gown. All patterns are computerized now instead of paper patterns because paper patterns can warp over time, causing the gown sizing to be inaccurate.
Have you ever really noticed all the beading and embroidery on gowns? The artisans hand draw each pattern and then draw where the crystals, pearls and sequins will be placed within the pattern. From there, they place a plastic sheet over the pattern and use a large needle to poke holes to make something that resembles a connect-the-dots puzzle. That new pattern is then placed over the fabric and a solution in rubbed over it to transfer the pattern to the material, and then the stitching can begin. In other countries beads are strung together in a row, so that if the string breaks you would lose all the beading. In China, they sew the beads in way that locks them into place so that if you did happen to snag a bead you would just lose one instead of everything. Whether that is the hand pleating and ruching, or the placing of lace appliques since most lace patterns are not one solid piece of lace, artistry can be found in every part of a gown.
What kinds of conditions are these workers living and working in? Everyone is a part of a worker’s union that houses them in apartments that have air-conditioning because the companies believe that a worker won’t do their best work if they are not sleeping well and comfortably. Because of the high quality living conditions and the even higher expectation to create quality craftsmanship, they do their very best in following patterns and creating your dress just the way you want it.
Your wedding dress isn’t just another piece of clothing in your closet; it is a gown as unique as the love you share with the one you are marrying.