I had the privilege of interviewing Maggie Gillette, founder and creative director for The Giving Bride. Although the brand focuses on wedding lingerie, all of its pieces have wearability to them that can be worn for any occasion. The Giving bride is ethically made in New York and has a solid foundation in charity. If you love lingerie and enjoy giving back to a good cause then consider The Giving Bride next time you decide on purchasing lingerie.
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What makes your bridal lingerie different from other brands?
Even though we’re bridal, I don’t see it as being a one time wear kind of lingerie. I don’t want it to be something that you wear on your wedding night and it just goes into the back of a drawer forever. I want our pieces to be something that you can re-wear. I think our rompers and camis are great. I wear the camis out with a pair of jeans.
Do you feel competition from other lingerie brands and contemporary designers who put out a bridal collection every season?
I was talking to another lingerie designer and we were saying that our stuff is so different that if a customer picks her brand over mine, it’s not that it’s something bad about mine it’s just that it’s a better fit for that customer. I think that having choice especially in the bridal industry is a really good thing. People should be picking things that feels right for them. I don’t really feel competition in a negative way. It just means that we all have to be true to our own identity and know who are customer is and make something that they’ll love.
Our core customer is a bride whose a little bit older. I was starting to see this with my friends going to bridal showers. As we got a little bit older it was actually harder to find things that seemed like great lingerie options. They wanted something that was more individualized. They were all stylish, you know for urban professionals, and so they wanted lingerie that suited that. She’s very stylish and an independent woman. She’s in her late 20’s early 30’s whose looking for bridal lingerie that fits her aesthetic as opposed to what should be a typical bridal lingerie, like white. She’s someone who has her own sense of style.
I think that really sets you apart. Most wedding lingerie and lingerie brands are target towards younger women.
Yeah, I think so. I think just seeing that there was a gap in the market for women who wanted something different. Now bridal dresses even have a little floral pattern and color. I think women are wanting to express more of their own style. They’re less willing to except —Well this is a plain white dress and that’s what you’re suppose to wear for your wedding.— I think that’s carrying over into the wedding lingerie being a little more trend driven and a little more fashion forward.
Did you have a specific fabric type and color scheme when designing your bridal collection this season?
I love to use soft pastel colors. I think they’re really pretty. For fall I decided to throw in the masala color that’s been popular this season. Just as a nod to fashion and it turns out it looks really gorgeous against the ivory. It’s nice to have a little bit of flexibility to add some fashion colors in. We have some silver silks and silver lace that we used in our last collection. It’s so unique and it’s not something that you see everywhere. I think that is what makes it a little more special. That’s what elevates it from being everyday lingerie to special occasion or bridal lingerie.
What has been some of your most popular pieces of the collection and why?
Rompers have been really really popular. I think they’re popular because it can be a getting ready outfit for brides. You don’t have to take them back over your hair and makeup. You have enough coverage that if you have photographers coming in or if you dad comes in to say hello you’re not wearing something that too over the top. So, there’s sort of that balance of being covered up enough, but still looking cute. This season our Ashley set which is a bralette, garter belt and g-string has been very popular. It has silver lace and I think people just see it and say wow, “That’s a really special lace!”
I’ve always wanted to be in fashion. While I was teaching I went to London College of Fashion during one of my summer breaks. I was at a particular job for several years; I felt like it was probably time to move on from that individual job. It had been great, but I felt like I’ve accomplished what I wanted to accomplish. When I started to think about changing jobs it just seemed like I was at a point in my life where it was a good time to make.
I love that The Giving Bride partners with A Safe Place. Can you elaborate more on the organization and why you chose to partner with them?
A Safe Place is a domestic violence shelter located inside of the Chicago area. I actually learned about them through an event that I participated in with a lingerie store in the Chicago. I was looking for a partner that I could donate some of our proceeds to. I really liked what they were doing. They really have a great program. They do outreach about violence education and prevention as well as working with people who are actively in domestic violence situations. I interned at a domestic violence shelter when I was in college. This is an issue that I’ve seen first hand of how impactful working with the survivors can be. It meant a lot to me that I could work with an organization that’s making meaningful and impactful work.
Is it important to you that The Giving Bride is made in the U. S… specifically in New York?
I think it’s really important. You read about how manufacturing in other countries can be; I like knowing exactly how my clothes are manufactured. I like knowing that things are made ethically. When making them in New York you can know that I’m able to have a relationship with the people who manufacture these clothes. That’s important to me, to see exactly what’s going on. Especially since we work with charity, I want to make sure that everything we do is sound ethically. I think that my customers can appreciate the fact that they can see where their clothing is coming from. It’s important for them to know that our lingerie is made in a way that aligns with their values.
Is there any piece of knowledge that you would like your customers and The Co Report audience to know?
Everyone of these pieces are pieces that I design. I love what I do so much that I have a really great passion for trying to make lingerie beautiful. I hope that everyone buying a piece of our lingerie feels just as beautiful wearing it. I’m also pretty reachable. If consumers have questions they’ll be getting a direct response from me.