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LA based designer Katharine Polk chats to us about her sustainable collection

After featuring on the news pages of last month’s Bridal Buyer, we caught up with LA based Katharine to find out more about her exciting new brand. 

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Katharine Polk 1 Katharine Polk 2 Katharine Polk 3 Katharine Polk 4

Tell me about the history of the brand(s)?

After closing my brand Houghton in 2018, I decided to move back to my hometown of Los Angeles. I started a consulting business as a Creative Director and Founder helping young brands and designers strategize and launch their brands. I was working with companies such as BHLDN, Dress Hunt and Ella and Oak to name a few. Meanwhile, I was getting a ton of requests from brides and stores for gowns. In 2019 I decided to start taking custom brides. My custom Bridal business was picking up a ton of steam until Covid hit in 2020 and weddings came to a halt.

With the bridal business an unknown I still had a lot f interest from stores and brides who couldn’t afford custom so I started work on ‘Katharine Polk” Bridal and launched my brand on December 1st 2020. My brand ethos is Bridal for everyBODY. I decided to launch with a very edited collection of styles based on custom styles that I had created for my amazing custom brides. I also added a few new designs to round out the selection. The goal was to launch off calendar and add styles throughout the year as needed.

The entire collection is available online in sizes 00-30. We also offer rush options for brides who need their gowns in under 4 weeks.

We also offer customized styles which means brides can mix and match a sleeve or fabric to customize an existing style. Prices vary depending on work but are based on the style you choose.
We also offer fully custom which starts at $9,000USD which we call “White Glove Service”. This includes sketches, fittings and final gown delivery. There really isn’t anything we cant do!

Can you talk about the brand’s relationship with the UK bridal market?

I have always loved the UK and had a love affair with my UK brides. Since my first season of Houghton, I would make trips to London for trunk shows and we’ve always had a large following in the UK. Since launching “Katharine Polk’ Bridal on 12.1.20 we have had a lot of inquiries from UK brides but do not currently have a UK stockist. I have found that the UK bride has always understood our aesthetic and embraced my designs. I’m excited to re-enter the market in the UK and offer my brides a new assortment of bridal!

Do you have a minimum order?

We usually do have a minimum order to ensure that any store carrying the brand has a sufficient representation of the brand and the collection. That said, we are all trying to stay a float and the team at ‘Katharine Polk‘ is sympathetic to the cash restraints of small businesses and boutiques right now so we are flexible and willing to work with boutique owners on their first buys.

What are the company’s unique selling point?

1. Bridal for everyBODY- this brand is made for every woman no matter your size, color and ethnicity. WE want to be accessible in price and have something for everyone.
2. We are designed and made in Los Angeles which makes us nimble and gives us flexibility
3. We are sustainable
4. We are Woman Founded, Run and all productions are 100% women produced
5. We offer fully custom styles, our “White Glove Service”.

What inspired the current collection?

The majority of my first collection was inspired by my custom brides. Getting the one on one feed back from my brides and designing gowns for real women gave me the confidence to launch this collection. A lot of these gowns were fitted and worn by real women. I then filled in the gaps with some new styles that I felt helped merchandise the collection. I wanted to make sure I had something for everyBODY!

What design trends have emerged from the collection?

Big sleeves, crystal trim and draping.

Is there anything that ties the pieces together?

Absolutely! A big part of the development process was creating a foundation of fabrics and patterns that were intertwined so I could build upon that. The fabrics are interchangeable between silhouettes which makes the styles easily customizable. The Double crepe and Moiré fabric are staples in the collection. I wanted to make sure I represented all body types while still keeping a cohesive collection.

Pick three of your favourite pieces that really highlight the vision of the collection?

1. Karmen @ $500 which is the perfect Micro Wedding look, RTW look or she can be a bridesmaid’s dress. We offer her in a whole color card. I’ve already worn her!
2. Gwen- Gives me Bridgerton vibes with puff sleeves and crystal detail!
3. Lexi- Based on an amazing custom brides gown, Lexi has a removeable col sleeve and a dramatic train. I found a non-wrinkle satin which is a game changer.

What accessories do you imagine brides would pair these with?

Right now we’re in a bit of a minimalist moment but hopefully we’ll come out of this through the summer and brides will start having more fun with their looks! I’m into hats and veils with a more casual looks right now. For Example, I’d love to see the ‘Karmen’ with a major veil, big earrings and a crystal kitten heel. That said, we do also offer styling services for our brides, so if our brides need help with anything from shoes to hair and make up we’re here to help.

How can retailers get in touch to order from your latest collection?

Twitter: @katharinepolk

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