An Interview with… Jessica Turner Designs
Jessica is a bespoke bridal designer, designing each and every dress for each bride she works with. We met Jessica earlier this year as part of the Sustainable Wedding Community and instantly fell in love with her fanciful, bohemian style.
Sustainability is at the heart of her work, working with ethically sourced fabrics. She produces minimal quantities and focuses on the quality of the dresses. Jessica’s hand paints her bridal collections onto paper, those along with fabric swatches form a dream dress. The dress is then crafted by a small production company based in London.
We asked Jessica to tell us a little bit about her, her love of fashion and what tips she would give an environmentally conscious bride.
Tell us a bit about you and the company
Hello, I am Jessica Clarke, previously known as Jessica Turner hence the name for my business Jessica Turner Designs.
It all began when I was at school, loving Art and Textiles, the passion never disappeared and I went on to study fashion and textiles at university, which then developed into bridal wear. I recently moved to Buckinghamshire from London. I have my own little studio in the back of my garden. I like small and intimate which reflects my brand of an independent bridal designer. I also like to support slow fashion so I don’t produce lots and lots of dresses. I create my collection on paper with fabric samples which helps bespoke brides with a little more inspiration.
Describe your typical day
Pre-covid, my weekdays involved getting my two children ready for school, then doing at least half hour to 45 mins exercise (either a run or yoga). Then either planning a collection, doing a few styled shoots, sourcing a range of fabrics, working with brides on their bespoke dress, or preparing social media posts and marketing plans.
Currently, my days are mostly spent home-schooling. Later in the afternoon, when I get a chance, I am preparing a range for my new collection. I have been sourcing eco fabrics and in liaison with my pattern maker, to turn my sketch ideas into real life. I’m also currently working on finding appropriate fabrics for a bespoke bride, and re-scheduling appointments that were meant to be happening now.
What made you want to be part of the industry?
I love the idea that you can be very creative with bridal wear, it can involve lots of embellishment, working with a range of beautiful fabrics and designing different styles.
What is on your cutting table right now?
A coffee! Scissors and some samples of fabric that I am collecting for a bride.
What have your favourite brides’ trends been over the years?
I love the boho sleeves which flare out at the bottom, they have been a big hit over the last couple of years. Now it is the balloon sleeve , similar to princess Diana’s wedding dress. To some extent this looks great but you have to be the right bride to pull it off!
How do you ensure that the material you use are from an ethical source?
I research where or how they are made by reading the about page or I sometimes ask the companies directly by phone or email. I also look out for the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certificate on fabrics.
What advice would you offer for brides looking for an ethically made wedding dress?
Look at the fabric, and look out for organic, peace silk, or GOTS sign. Look out for where and what standards they are made in, the answer will either be on their website however if you want to be sure give the company a call and find out. Slow fashion also supports an ethical dress, I would go for a bespoke dress, then you know that the dress has not been mass produced and exported around the world. Also if you live in England, then I would go for an English bridal designer with Made in the UK, so you know that the dress does not have to travel miles to reach you.
Do you have a studio that people can visit (once lockdown has finished of course)?
Yes. We’ve just moved house and built a studio in the garden. This will be my little bridal haven, where brides can visit. It’ll be ready as soon as lock down is over!
You can also see the wedding dress collection at Willoughby and Wolf in Marlborough.
How can people find out more about what you do?
Get in touch by email or phone with any questions, I’m always happy to have a quick chat over the phone! You could also check out the website or search for it on google. Once the studio is all set up and open I’ll be going live, showcasing some of my work and what I have been up to – so keep an eye out! You can also find me on Instagram too @jessturnerdesigns.
What is your favourite thing to do to relax?
Yoga or a nice long bath with lavender oil.