WEDDING DRESS DESIGNER
Drawn to fashion from a young age, Natalie was fascinated by dressing up and pretty things. Fast forward nearly fifteen years and the little label that started as day wear has evolved into a highly respected business that dresses numerous brides, celebrities and stylish women every year in her signature feminine style. We caught up with Natalie about creative influences and how to turn passion into a successful business.
Can you tell us a little about what you do?
I am the founder and designer of my fashion label Natalie Chan, where my team and I specialise in creating wedding dresses, millinery and gorgeous special-occasion wear. I am also a mother of two young children
Three words to describe yourself?
Creative, Thoughtful, Fun
Shot by: Amanda Wignell Photography. Make-up by: Grayson Coutts
"Love what you do as there will be times it will be challenging"
How did you get started?
I started in the fashion industry properly about 16 years ago as I have always had a strong passion for beautiful designs. My Barbie started it all off when I was 7 years old and all I wanted was to have her be dressed in the most enchanting gowns. My grandmother would help me create the dresses I would draw and describe…effectively; my grandmother was my first maker.
During my high school years, I would design and make clothes for myself and also for my friends. While after schooling I did all I could to get the experiences needed to be where I am today. From internships, working behind the scenes of fashion shows, working with textiles to fashion retail. Looking back, I felt like I packed a lot into my young life…I was even working three jobs at a time in the industry, as I wanted to be in it so much.
Where do you draw your inspirations from?
I’m a dreamer and my inspirations are mostly triggered by travel, history, fabrics, flowers, antique markets and fairs, as well as researching into designer’s works from my favourite fashion eras of the 1920’s through to the 1970’s.
Favorite fabric to work with?
I personally love lace.
Best thing about what you do?
The best thing about what I do is being able to create designs and see it through its whole process, from its illustrated conception, to the construction, to fitting and viewing it on my client. I love when a client wears a design of mine really confidently, and for them to tell me they have received a lot of compliments is a huge compliment to me and I love that.
And the worst?
There isn’t anything I would categorize as the worst. I suppose what a lot of people don’t realise is that because I am running a small sized boutique business-you have to know a little bit about everything from finances to marketing to training staff members and so much more! I am also constantly learning new things about reaching out to my market now, with the ever evolving processes of online buying, and social media etc…
So unfortunately, it’s not all about designing beautiful things all the time, that’s the easy part.
Can’t live without?
My two children, my husband, my family, and my closest friends. Good food and every now and then a glass of champagne.
I have a few dream projects I am working on right now (all will be revealed!) and some of them are dreams that I have thought about and brewed up a couple of years ago and now have the opportunity to make it happen. I feel so fortunate that I am able to be in the position to dream and make it a reality.
I would love to get to get the opportunity to collaborate with Megan Hess, an amazing Australian fashion illustrator or the stylish Nicole Warne from the blog ‘Gary Pepper Girl’. I love both of their works and think our creative visions go hand in hand.
What are you most excited about in life right now?
The growth in my business, the journey of my little family, and the planned travels I have coming up.
Best advice for someone starting out?
I know this may sound cliché, but really choose a path that you are passionate about, as there will be times it will be challenging, but because you love what you do, you will fight for it that much more. Also make sure to be surrounded by friends and mentors that can be your “A Team” on hand to offer you advice and guidance.
"I wish I wore a lot more sunscreen when I was younger"
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