When you ask several brides about their dream wedding gown, chances are you'll get a variety of answers. The wedding gown should ideally represent the bride's personality, and gown designer Gretchen Pichay sees to it that her intricately designed custom-made gowns do just that.
Before emerging in the bridal scene, Gretchen was studying Urban Planning. She took up sewing classes on the side, not knowing that this was eventually going to be her main craft. She shares, "Sir Shanon Pamaong, our director, advised me to take up pattern making class since a good pattern can make or break a dress. After finishing the course, I decided to give up Urban Planning to concentrate on Fashion Design." She continually fueled her newfound passion, and through practice and freelance activities, she mastered the art of gown designing and pattern making over the years.
As Gretchen developed her skills in making gowns, she also learned how to communicate with different brides. Gretchen elaborates, "Initially, I try to get to know the person, and figure out what she's comfortable with and what her personality type is. From here, I do some research on her pegs and wedding theme and on the latest innovation and styles." Her hard work is reflected on each dress that she produces, which takes months of tedious planning and designing.
Gretchen's painstaking process for each gown is borne out of her recognition that gowns are personal items that women keep as remarkable tokens to remind them of their big day. Although only wore once, this piece of clothing bears a great amount of sentimental value to every bride. "Sometimes, based on what I've learned about the bride, I make suggestions on what will make the gown more unique and personalized. I think that the role of a designer is not only to come up with a gown, but also to understand the strengths of a bride," she adds.
Gretchen continues to make her mark in the wedding industry with her skills that meet the ever-changing trends and demands. One who puts such importance in hard work, Gretchen envisions a future that involves furthering her craft. She says, "I tend to take it one step at a time, or in this case, one bridal gown at a time. I continually want to make gowns that make brides feel beautiful and special."