'Street clothes do not motivate me,' says bridal designer
Mireia Vidal, Catalan dressmaker to Spanish Queen, tells of her meteoric rise
At just 17 years old, Mireia Vidal designed an entire fashion collection and organized her first fashion show, a project that she started in her senior year of high school and the reason that led her to follow her dream of being a designer. When she was only 19, she made a dress for Spanish queen Letizia, and ventured to leave her design studies to enlist in her life project: the opening of her bridal fashion business. Around 50 fashion shows later, Vidal talks about her career and future projects.
Where does your passion for fashion design come from?
It all started thanks to my grandmother, whom I saw sewing and I thought I wanted to do the same as her, and create these "cool" things.
When did you decide that you wanted to dedicate yourself professionally to the fashion world?
When I was in college, I realized that it was not my place, and that I wanted to go further. In addition, at that time many brides also asked me to make their wedding dress, and for all these reasons I decided to go ahead.
What is the process of creating a dress?
First of all you have to get inspired and design the dress, and determine what style you want to then create the patterns. Then you have to buy the fabric and make the piece.
Why wedding dresses? Would not you like to do something else?
I opted for bridal dresses because I think bridal design is a very gratifying art, in the sense that when you make a piece in this way, it looks so great. Street clothes do not motivate me. I like to make designs for a special day such as a wedding.
How would you define your designs?
Now I'm attracted to a much more bohemian style, more informal but at the same time very elegant. I think the classic style is old fashioned and I’ve opted for a more casual and sexy style.
Do you usually get inspired by a well-known designer to create your clothes?
It’s good to see what others are up to and to observe the competition but I don’t like to look too much because I don’t want them to influence me and that my ideas end up being the result of having seen other things. In fact, there is no designer that I love, but I think everyone has strong points.
You opened the first wedding dress shop when you were studying fashion design at university. How did the opportunity to open your own business come about?
When I started in college I had planned to do a show in New York, and previously I had also gone to Belgium because there were the universities where I wanted to study, but at that time I was making a dress for Queen Letizia and I was surprised when a Professor, who is a well-known designer but with a very different style from mine, told me he didn’t understand why I was there if I actually was making a dress for the queen. This was for me like a "click" that led me to undertake this project.
"It's not that [Spanish queen Letizia] asked me to make her a dress, it was all my initiative"
Mireia Vidal · Bridal designer
How did the opportunity to make a dress for the queen arise?
This was when I was on the radio in Girona, where I had a trends section, which I was doing together with another girl, and the show host, Judit Arroyo, was pregnant and asked me if I could make her a dress to present an awards presentation. Based on this, the queen was impressed by the dress I designed and I told Judit that I would love to make a dress and send it to the queen. In fact, it's not that she asked me to make her a dress, it was all my initiative.
Tell me about the New York fashion show and how this experience influenced you in the creation of new pieces.
The New York fashion show came from an idea of my own, because I wanted to do a show in that city and I was looking for ways to do it. I found a group of people who made charity shows in New York and London and, thanks to a contact I got through searching and asking a lot, I was able to get in touch with these people. Traveling opens your eyes a lot and New York is a very dynamic city full of designers who are fighting like me and have very innovative ideas.
How much time does the preparation of a fashion show require?
It takes a lot of time. If you want to make a good show, you have to invest in at least six months of work, because you have to design all the costumes and make the entire collection, which requires a lot of time.
Why did you decide to change the location of the Barcelona boutique?
For personal motives. There came a time when I could no longer keep the store opened in Barcelona and, considering that there was nothing left for me there, I decided to go back home. In addition, Girona is a city that has always supported me a lot. Something I like about Girona is that when people like a product, they recommend it a lot, and we all give each other a lot of support. The truth is that I’m very happy to have made this change, although I was afraid because it’s a very important change.
Do you currently continue studying fashion design or do you fully dedicate yourself to your business?
Now I am fully focused on the business, but I’m also studying languages because I like them a lot, although I don’t touch anything related to fashion because I don’t have time. In the future, I would like to focus on it again.
How many people work in your store?
Right now I am alone in the store but when I was in Barcelona I had hired staff.
Do you offer specific models to the clients or you also design dresses according to the bride’s wishes?
What I do a lot now is to customize dresses. I make them to measure and to the taste of each person, but that does not mean that the dress has to be more expensive. Simply, what most motivates me is to be able to make a dress for each person, since each person has different tastes. On the other hand, I also have models already made in case someone wants to opt for a model of the collection.
How is the relationship with the client?
I always try to be professional, but it’s true that there are clients with whom I develop a lot of trust and some of them have even invited me to their wedding. I try to make the customer relations as close as possible because that is how I would like to be treated.
Do you plan to open more stores in the future?
Yes, I want to open more stores but I don’t want to talk about when, because at this moment I should focus on this store, although I don’t deny that I would like to open another store soon.