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WINterview / Rachel Allan

Rachel Allan never fails to impress, and their boutique stockists love the brand for its eclectic range of dresses for the bride who wants something classic and stylish but dares to be different, even if just a little bit. In Rachel Allan’s own words:

"We have passionately hand-crafted every style, creating a gown for every single one of you. We see the beauty of fashion in you. Wear it. Love it. Authenticity is power - let your confidence shine. Search through our endless collections to find the dress of your dreams. Whether it be Prom or Curves, you're guaranteed to find a dress that makes you feel good. Feel proud. Feel unstoppable. Our award-winning Pageant Collections will push you to be fearless yet daring. From Interview to Fun-Fashion we have nailed every category making this your one-stop shop. No matter your event, wearing a Rachel Allan will turn heads. We strive to provide a dress for each and every body type, offering seamless styles in different colour ways. When you choose Rachel Allan, you choose excitement, confidence, sophistication and edge. Be part of something great. Be Rachel Allan."

We absolutely love ‘Be Rachel Allan’! We spoke to the brand’s UK & EU Sales manager, James McKenna about what’s next for this fast-expanding label, which branched out into bridal in the UK just six years ago.


Who is designing for you? Tell us about the team

Jason Gillen is our Design Director, he is based at our Global Head Office in Houston, Texas. Jason and his team of designers work across all of the Rachel Allan Bridal and prom brands. Jason has previously worked as a designer for Justin Alexander and Alfred Angelo so brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role.


What collections do you have? Tell us about them

Rachel Allan Prom is how it all began for the company, nearly 40 years ago. A specialist in prom wear and dressing pageant winners across the US, the company broke into the UK market in 2017 and is going from strength to strength. As well as prom and pageant we are market leaders in junior prom, homecoming and couture dresses.

Rachel Allan Bridal remains one of the most exciting and fastest-growing brands in the UK. There are five sub brands under the Rachel Allan Bridal label. Each has been expertly curated to offer a different style, silhouette or price point. To complement the bridal collections, Rachel Allan Flower girls are perfect with our wedding dresses or have the flexibility to be used for communions.


What impact did Covid have and how are you doing now, two years on?

Covid came at the worst possible time for us as a new business in the UK. We launched our first bridal collection at Bridal Week London in 2018 so had two strong years of very quick growth, building up our customer base and establishing ourselves in the marketplace. During the pandemic we made the decision to support our stockists as much as possible so that when trading commenced, they were in the best possible position to start back up again. There have been highs and lows since we come out of the pandemic, but I think it has made our business and boutiques we supply more robust and ready for any challenge ahead. Business is now looking healthy, with prom in particular being a real growth area for our business.

What trends have you identified for 2024?

Rachel Allan Bridal continues to offer a large diverse collection that can meet any bridal boutique's needs. A-line silhouettes have had a resurgence in popularity over the last couple of years, and this trend seems to be getting even more popular. Separates are also popular and in demand like capes, sleeves, overskirts, boleros and detachable trains. This then gives the bride the option to change the look and feel of her dress from day to night. Bling is in! Glitter, sequins and diamantés are more popular than ever to create that real show-stopping feel.


In prom, more is more. Alongside more traditional colours like red, royal and black, we are moving towards bold bright colours like hot pinks, tangerines and yellows. Feathers, full sequin bodices and skirts and detachable sleeves feature a lot in the new collections.


What does today’s bride look for from a boutique?

I think brides are now looking for an experience. They want to be looked after by a professional who knows what they are talking about and can guide them through purchasing the wedding gown. The aesthetic of the shop also has to be right. There must be opportunities for videos and photos in the Instagram and TikTok world we live in.


What motivates the team at Rachel Allan?

To offer the best customer experience possible. When our retailers are attending events and exhibitions, we want to provide an environment that is informative and enables them to make the best buying decisions but also fun and relaxed with gift bags, giveaways and a full cocktail list. Ensuring the happiness of our stockists is the most important thing to us because we know that if we have happy stockists, both our businesses will be successful.


What makes you different when working with boutiques?

We try to understand every boutique we work with. Every store has its challenges and we pride ourselves on our ability to communicate and support our boutiques. Our collections are expertly crafted to ensure something is available for every store.


What are your plans for 2023? And what about 2024?

Our brand-new showroom is now open at our head office in Ripon, and we welcome boutiques to book in and come and view the new collections. We are also launching our brand new portal where customers will be able to log in and buy/ view stock and have access to their accounts.


Where can people see your labels?

Our retailers can pick from several options to view our new collections.

At our brand new showroom at our head office in Ripon, in the comfort of your store where we can showcase a selection of the new collections or at Bridal Week, Harrogate where we will have a full bridal catwalk, prom party zone and a complimentary cocktail bar with giveaways throughout the show.


How can boutiques get in touch?

James McKenna - 07551 006995 or james@jmsalesagency.co.uk

Rachel Allan UK Office - 01765 570040 or hello@rachelallan.com


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