One of Adelaide’s most exquisite wedding dress designers

By Jess Caire

Conversations with Greta Kate 

Image credit: gretakate.com.au

I recently had the privilege to watch Adelaide’s own Greta Kate make my sister’s exquisite wedding gown. She makes the entire process special and personal, so you walk down the aisle in a unique design that captures the essence of you. Greta’s work has been seen on Adelaide’s hottest WAGS and newsreaders. Greta takes custom to a new level, creating your gown (be it for your wedding or event) and making the experience personal and special. Greta’s love of design started at a young age watching her grandmother sew, and these early lessons have proved the greatest influence on Greta’s design career. Launching her own label in 2010 Greta’s style has naturally led to a focus on custom-made pieces and now a bridal range. Greta is becoming hot property for brides to be. I was thrilled to catch up with Greta for Conversations with Jess (she managed to squeeze me in after Adelaide Fashion Festival and Variety Fashion show).

Image credit: gretakate.com.au

Have you always loved designing and making clothes? Were you one of those girls who grew up dressing Barbie dolls?

Not exactly… Grandma and I were always making things, but we more inventive with our projects. We once made gum-nut dollies for the Christmas tree and a family made out of seaweed!!

Did you go straight into dressmaking and design after school? Tell us a little about your journey…

I thought Uni was the thing I had to do, so I applied for a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design at QUT – Adelaide didn’t provide a course like this at the time. To my surprise I was accepted and straight after school moved to Brisbane. I found the move pretty tough and came home after 1 year to complete my Advanced Diploma of Fashion Design and Technology at TafeSA. I found Tafe to be wonderful and learnt a lot of practical skills in the 3 years I was there.

When did you dare to start your own business? What challenges have you found running your own business?

The year after I finished Tafe I started GretaKate. I think sometimes the more naive you are, the more risks you take without knowing it! I was working a couple of jobs as well which I guess was my safety net- I also had youth on my side!. I started GretaKate with a casual range that I sold through trunk shows. It did quite well, but to get the momentum going I organised a fashion parade to launch my brand and I entered an emerging design competition where I was lucky enough to meet Liza Emanuele. I guess it was one of those moments where I was in the right place at the right time and Liza offered me a job as her personal assistant. I learnt so many valuable skills working with her for 2 years. It gave me the hands on experience and confidence to launch back into my own label full time.

Running your own business is always going to be a roll-a-coaster ride, but if you surround yourself with the right people you enjoy the ride and the thrill of it.

Your designs are so unique and you have such flair, what inspires your designs?

Fabrics and clients. I am constantly seeing new laces from my suppliers and I can instantly see a design. I love draping fabric on a mannequin and coming up with a new design that way. My clients are my constant motivation and inspiration. You can learn a lot from your clients.

Image credit: gretakate.com.au

Image credit: gretakate.com.au

Image credit: gretakate.com.au

You got married in April – had you always dreamed you would make your own dress? What was that like, and to see your team put it together before your eyes?

It was a pretty special experience. I have never been one to have pre-planned my wedding day in my head, or even thought about any of the details. I designed my gown while we were on an overseas trip just after Dino proposed and it never changed. It was magical and lots of fun putting it together with my team. I also throughly enjoyed designing my 3 bridesmaids, mother and grandmother’s outfits.

Tell me about the process when someone is comes to you for a custom wedding gown – how do you know what will work  and how do you capture their personality?

In the first appointment I like to sit down with the bride-to-be and talk about her day. I like to visualise the day with her and create a gown the compliments that. It’s her dream after all and I’m just making it a reality. I take into consideration what will work best with her shape, the fabrics, the styling, but overall I really just want her to feel absolutely incredible and walk away with her dream gown. It is such a huge honour to be part of such a special moment and a long lasting memory.

 

I told you when I was in your studio the black dress Alanna Smith wore to the Magarey Medal is going on my vision board! Seriously though, do you design dresses like that with the model in mind, or the event? 

All the time!! It’s all about creating emotion and a bit of drama I think!

What is the best advice you give brides-to-be when it comes to the gown?

Stick to what you feel good in and don’t be influenced by too many extra opinions from others. If you feel amazing on your wedding day, you will look it and that is what is important.

I am busting to know – do you make all your own clothes?

I wish….When I have the time!! Usually I realise I have a function that night and whip something up during the day!

What advice would you give 18-year-old Greta?

Don’t try to please everyone all the time. Do what is in your heart.

To check out the most amazing gowns in SA head to http://www.gretakate.com.au

Or join the conversation by commenting below!

Love, Jess x

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