Jennifer Kessler sat down with Columbus Bride to share her inspiration and bridal point of view.
Jennifer Kessler is the founder and creative director of Ghinda, a bridal design company located on Gay Street in Downtown Columbus. She sat down with Columbus Bride to share her inspiration and bridal point of view.
What's your background? How did you catch the design bug? And why wedding dresses?
I studied fashion in Italy, and that's where I became inspired to create beautiful, elegant gowns. Casual simplicity is something that's relevant in Europe but sometimes gets lost in the bridal context. I was mentored by Kristin Cooke at Big Rock Little Rooster, and that's where I got the flavor for a really high-end wedding dress.
How did Ghinda come to be?
I felt like there was a void for the girl who wanted something beautifully casual. Something that was all her. The dress is a canvas for the bride to paint on, and I wanted to create gowns that allow a bride's personality to show through. I've found that there are a lot of women who don't have a designer who's speaking to them.
Describe your design aesthetic.
Casual elegance and definitely modern. But I also have this odd dichotomy of a potentially vintage-inspired kind of aesthetic. And I think that's because [the gowns] are so beautifully made … they appear soft.
What do you think about the Columbus bridal market?
I think there are people out there who are selling the Columbus bride a little short. You just have to believe that there are girls out there that love metal-infused nylon and that want to wear silk jersey. I will never use satin or silk, because I believe in the girl that wants to be fashion-forward. If I can use a more modern fabric, I always will. And I have brides who absolutely adore my fabric. They feel so good, so light, and they say how well it fits. Why are we selling brides short? Let's move past that polyester thing.
What's your goal with each of your dresses?
I hope that a bride feels amazingly beautifully, show-stopping, breathtaking in my gown … from inside out. From what's against her skin to the way it drapes as she's walking down the aisle, it should all feel brilliant.
What inspires you?
I grew up in Africa [in Ghinda, Eritrea], so that's always a big part of where I draw inspiration. And memory, age, forgotten beauty, nature … I'm inspired by concepts and ideas. How to create these visually is very interesting for me.
What kind of bride comes in for a Ghinda gown?
We focus on destination brides, because we find that often those brides are the ones who want to do something a little more whimsical … they want comfort and casual elegance. Most of my girls are free spirits. They are laid-back with really awesome style. They pay attention to what's going down the runway and are very aware of what's happening in the fashion world. They get it. They're cultured and understand what it means to have a designed dress.
What can a bride expect from working with you?
She comes in, we drink some Champagne and I get to know her. Where does she like to go out to eat? What does she do on the weekends? We'll talk about her vision and try on dresses to talk silhouettes. Then right in that appointment we'll build her gown. It's an intimate fitting … she's part of the design process. It's important to me that the bride feels like she's designing her gown.