Big C Bridal - Adventures in conscious styling!

group of conscious brides by kate elizabeth

As part of the Re:Fashion Norwich event on November 21st I was really lucky to get to work with amazing local charity Big C to style a collection of dresses from their Bridal Boutique on Timberhill, which would appear on the catwalk as part of the event's fashion show finale!

This meant a good deal of creative dreaming to come up with an initial concept, much pinning on Pinterest for inspiration (one of my favourite things), and ultimately a lot of exploring in the back of the shop where they keep all the dresses that aren't out on the shop floor (ALL MY DREAMS) to select the right pieces.

All of the models for the evening were volunteers, and after discussions with the retail staff at Big C, we knew we wanted to include a variety of models, including different shapes, sizes and ages. Three of the models on the evening were actually Big C shop volunteers, so I was really excited to have them involved!

After a lot of deliberation, I decided to go with a quite fashion-forward, avant-garde concept; something that (ideally!) wouldn't look too out of place on the runway at Alexander McQueen! I definitely wanted lots of headpieces and some creative hair and make up styling to produce the necessary drama. I made a few visits to the Big C shops, including the big craft depot at Wymondham (which is amazing, you should all definitely go there immediately) to source bits and pieces to accessorise the hair and outfits.

After putting together our team of models, I worked with the lovely shop team at Big C Timberhill; manager Chrisa, assistant manager Hannah and their vast team of volunteers, to organise dress fittings for all of the models. This was a bit of a tricky one, as being volunteers, not all of the models were able to come in for fittings before the day of the show! I had to select dresses I thought would work based on the styling concept I had designed, the dresses available and the models' measurements. This felt a little bit risky - I knew we wouldn't have much time for messing around on the day (especially as I had to help set up the Norwich Fashion Jam stand and prep for a talk I was giving at the event, too! eek!) so I selected a couple of options for each model that would give us a bit of leeway and crossed my fingers! (this is a little crazy considering people usually have their wedding dresses altered to fit them perfectly!)

The team of models set and most of the dresses selected, I set about designing looks for each of the models on the evening. I put together a spec sheet for the hair and make up team for each model, as follows:

conscious bridal styling moodboards

(apologies for my inability to spell the word accommodate consistently! It is hard to spell ...)

The hair and make-up for the models was provided by a group of talented students on the Hair and Media Make up course at City College, Norwich. I was really impressed with the way they took direction on the day and stuck to the looks I had designed for each model, but providing adaptations where necessary.

so, without further ado, I'm sure you want to see pictures! These images were shot by the very talented Guðbjörg Ylfa Jensdóttir, whose other work can be found via her website and Facebook page.

All the dresses are from the amazing Big C boutique on Timberhill. Some accessories models'/stylist's own, but mainly also sourced from Big C shops


conscious fashion forward bride

This is the GORGEOUS Linda! One of the volunteers at the Big C shop in Wymondham, she was a bundle of liveliness and smiles, and opened the show - walking out with the Big C CEO Dr Chris Bushby, who 'gave her away' on the catwalk!

Linda's personality 'could handle something a bit more quirky and fun! I pieced two dresses together, using the corset from a black coast two-piece and a gorgeous fishtail skirt which had a more traditional top half, with lots of beading that I didn't think was quite right for Linda.  I tied a man's cravat around the waist with as a sash to add a pop of colour and accentuate her teeny, tiny waist! Then the fascinator tied the whole look together.

conscious styled older bride quirky fun

I chose this white satin shrug for Linda as it perfectly matched the fabric of the skirt, and the exaggerated ruffles created a dramatic, fashion-forward silhouette, which echoed the form of the dramatic fishtail at the bottom of the skirt.

refashioned bride

Maisee looks stunning here in a full-on princess frock! The perfectly peachy tones of the flowers and make up complement her english-rose complexion beautifully.

sustainable styled bride by kate elizabeth

I love Poppy's look so much here! Her face can take a more edgy look and she is rocking this strong make up amazingly! I would have added a leather jacket to complete the look but sometimes it's better not to add too much... (sometimes!)

fashion forward ethically styled bride
conscious styled bride by kate elizabeth

Lovely Lucy has one of the biggest dresses of all the models on the evening! I wanted her look to be very 'fashion' and create a statement. I adore the way the make up artist has captured her look, here, it's almost identical to what I wanted! 

Lucy's hair look originally integrated some flowers pinned around her hairline. However, this was not working very well so I dug out a plastic flower necklace I'd sourced from the Big C jewellery counter, and the very talented hair stylist pinned it into place instead.

ethical conscious styled bride by kate elizabeth

Beautiful Beth! This was my boho glamour look for the night. I've added what I think is actually a belt for a necklace, and added black lacing into the back of the dress, both of which give the look a bit of an edge!

eco styled bride by kate elizabeth

Hannah, channeling Marie Antoinette! This dress is just the biggest, most dramatic thing I've ever seen and I knew I needed the styling to be just as extravagant!

I was so pleased with Hannah's hair look; the stylist has captured exactly what I wanted in the image.

conscious ethical styled bride by kate elizabeth

I added in layers of hair flowers in vintage, muted tones to create a really dramatic hair piece on one side of Hannah's head. The choker is from Big C bridal and completes the look.

conscious styled bride by kate elizabeth

Estelle was my 100% boho bride for the evening. A messy crown plait with a necklace that I sourced from another charity shop pinned in place.

conscious bridal by kate elizabeth

Oh Lynn! This woman is such a beauty. She is another of Big C's shop volunteers and she is amazing. Kindness just radiates from her face, doesn't it?? I went with a classic look for Lynn, to let her true beauty shine through xx

sustainable bride styling by kate elizabeth

Amanda is another gorgeous Big C shop volunteer, int his much coveted Duchess-of-Cambridge-esque lace long-sleeved gown. Classic, with a twist- she looks fab in this fascinator!

conscious wedding styling by kate elizabeth

Finally, Isobel, resident Snow Queen for the evening in this stunning, fitted fishtail frock and white fur accessories.

Isobel's look evolved from the original concept but she is wearing this like no one else could!

Thank you Big C for having me, I loved styling these outfits!