Houston junior Olivia Havre said she decided to major in apparel design after an art project her senior year of high school where her class worked on designing a dress. She said she originally planned to try out the major and switch if she did not enjoy it, but she fell in love with design and the professors in the department.
“Professor Dawn Michaelson is absolutely amazing and helped me so much,” Havre said. “She has helped after class or with side projects and will even share research she has done with me.”
Havre said she prefers working with wedding dresses because of the beauty it allows her to create. For her senior collection, she said she hopes to design a simple and sleek wedding dress.
“A lot of people don’t realize how hard it is to make wedding dresses,” Havre said. “You have to make sure that the feet on your sewing machine won’t snag the fabric, and sometimes intricate details have to be hand sewn, which is why they can get so expensive.”
Havre said she credits Baylor for the preparation of their students within the business aspects of the wedding industry.
“Our degree is not purely an art degree; it is technically a Bachelor of Science,” Havre said. “We take a lot of business classes — we take accounting, business, math and science on top of art classes. Designing a dress is great, but if you don’t know how to manage your money, advertise or sell, you won’t get anywhere.”
Baylor alumna Catherine Brown works at Georgio’s Bridal in southwest Waco as manager of their alterations department. Brown said via email that her role consists of patience, hard work and organization to ensure various members of the wedding party look and feel their best on the big day.
“A lot of my clients like to add sleeves, bows, belts and even sentimental details like adding a piece of their father’s shirt or tie,” Brown said.
Baylor’s curriculum helped prepare her for numerous aspects of the bridal business, but she said she wished the department included a facet stressing the importance of customer service.
“My job requires a very delicate touch when working with clients,” Brown said. “We have to discuss things like weight gain and pregnancy and even sometimes loss of a pregnancy. These can be sensitive subjects for many due to body dysmorphia and low self-esteem. I am the one in the store who makes sure the women feel as beautiful as they indeed are on this very special occasion.”
Though Brown did not originally plan to work within the wedding industry, she said the opportunity to utilize her skills to make a difference and create beauty in the world drew her in.
“Having the opportunity to be a part of one of the biggest days in a woman’s life is so beautiful and empowering,” Brown said. “More often than not, I am more than their alterations specialist but also a friend they can talk to about how crazy their planning is getting or a calming voice that is helping them refocus on the beautiful day that is right around the corner.”
Brown said she stresses the importance of patience and problem-solving within the industry as the job can often get hectic and stressful. Through dedication, determination and attention to detail, she said the overall experience is quite meaningful and rewarding.