This week we speak to Maria Ryan, the uniquely creative and extremely talented designer behind Gaia Bridal. Not only is she hugely talented and something of a luminary in British bridal, but she’s an absolute joy to chat to! Plus when it was all happening with Covid and both of us at WIN were working in other industries, Maria would keep in touch through social media mainly but also with the odd call… It’s always so good to catch up with her. Here we share a little more about their plans with the brand and we are excited to give you a peek at the beautiful new 2024 Gaia Bridal collection, which will be showing at Harrogate this September.
I’ve always loved fashion and design, but hate the idea of ‘fast fashion’ or keeping up with trends. To me bridal has more longevity and can be a legacy for the bride who wears it. It’s a real privilege to play a part in so many people's love stories. Creating a wedding dress is creating something with meaning.
What’s your earliest memory of fashion design?
My sister and I used to play dress up in my mum's wedding dress! I also remember dying and cutting up another of my mother's dresses. My mum was a seamstress for Burberry, so sewing has always been a part of my life.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I love to read and spend as much time with my nose in a book as I can. Sometimes I struggle to keep my brain quiet and reading helps. I also have two children – so that keeps me pretty busy!
Do you keep sketches of all of your designs?
Not all, but I do keep some.
Do you have a signature style?
I like things to be a bit edgy, but I’m not a huge fan of trends. GAIA dresses are wearable, have an edge and are always a little bit sexy.
What does your bride look like?
GAIA brides are modern, independent women who want to feel like the best version of themselves on their wedding day.
Have you ever walked the catwalk? Dear Lord, no!
Which boutiques stock you in the UK? We have close to 50 Brand Partners across the UK, some of whom have been with us since the start. We work closely together and I’m so lucky to have met so many amazing people, as well as made lifelong friends.
What makes a good bridal boutique great?
For me the key is listening to your bride. Identify who your bride is and make every part of their journey relevant to them. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of wanting something for everyone, but that seldom works unless you have a huge shop and an even bigger bank account! Find your bride and take care of her.
What makes you unique, and successful – what is your USP?
Customer service is the absolute key for us. We have real relationships with our Partners, we work with them throughout the year and we all support each other in any way we can. We don’t just speak to them when it’s time to buy new collections. We have the best boutiques!
Whose accessories complement your designs the best?
We love working with Lisa from the Bobby Pin, her designs are just gorgeous and always complement our dresses.
Tell us about your latest collection.
We are currently preparing the new collection, which will preview at the Harrogate Bridal Show. As always our designs are focussed on being very sellable and made for brides to feel like the best versions of themselves on their wedding day. We focus on fit and fabrics and provide a great service.
Gaia Bridal 2024 PREVIEW
What are you feeling excited about in the coming year?
Lots of exciting new designs, with amazing fabrics. We love attending the shows and seeing our customers, catching up with industry friends and meeting new boutiques.
What’s your favourite gown?
Currently, it’s Jasmine, but I have many new favourites in the new collection!
To find out more and to enquire about stocking GAIA in your boutique:
Call 01443 222600 Follow @gaiabridal
See the latest collection at gaiabridal.co.uk
Visit the team on stand Q8 Harrogate Bridal Show - 10-12th September 2023