Q&A with Derby-based wedding dress designer Tanya Burdina

Tanya Burdina in her Sadler Gate studio

Tanya Burdina in her Sadler Gate studio - Credit: Archant

Meet bespoke wedding dress designer Tanya Burdina

One of Tanya's design

One of Tanya's design - Credit: Archant

Based in the heart of Derby’s Cathedral Quarter, bridal designer Tanya Burdina is in the business of making wedding dress dreams a reality. From her studio at The Anvil, 18 Sadler Gate, she designs and makes beautiful bespoke dresses, working closely with her clients to create stunning one-off designs.

What inspired you to be a designer?

I dreamed about princess dresses from a young age and was very creative as a child. I started to draw and design dresses from around the age of five and when I was about seven, I remember making dresses for my dolls. I set up my business making exclusive gowns 24 years ago.

What training did you do?

I’m originally from Russia and my culture sets very high standards for handmade couture garments, which gave me an excellent practical grounding, although I’m a bit of a perfectionist! Because design has always been my passion, I was driven to learn my skills independently. I specialised in corsetry and developed the ability to work with any material, so I could always get a highly detailed finish. I moved to the UK to formalise my skills with professional qualifications as British design is world-class. In 2006 I studied Fashion at Nottingham Trent University and now have a Masters of Arts in Fashion Design, with a focus on making patterns for dressmaking and tailoring, as well as bespoke and creative pattern cutting.

How do you approach creating a dress?

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When I design a bespoke wedding dress I offer a no obligation, free initial consultation. Meeting a bride in person gives me the opportunity to listen to her ideas and discuss the type of dress she wants. Based on that, I will draw initial designs and offer a choice of suitable fabrics, lace and trimmings. The next step is to take measurements and make a toile, which is a simple calico template dress, to make sure the dress fits beautifully and matches the bride’s design concept before committing to the chosen materials. I make all the patterns myself from the customer’s personal measurements.

What advice would you give a bride on choosing a wedding dress?

Technically, almost anything is possible so just go for it! The key things to consider are whether the dress is flattering and stylish, as well as comfortable.

Have you had any difficult requests?

I work with challenging projects all the time but the harder the project, the more satisfying the outcome. Where I come from on the Black Sea, the weather varies from icy winters to sizzling summers so I’ve made everything from Anna Karenina-style gowns to ‘beach style’ wedding dresses.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I collect orchids and love all flowers; their extraordinary shape and amazing textures and colours. Sometimes, simple architectural details will give me an idea for a dress. In the design world, I’m inspired by the classic style of Valentino, the originality of McQueen and theatrical style of Ian Stuart.

What are the latest trends in bridal fashion?

Lace is still very much on trend, and also different variations of transparent fabric. Wedding dress fashion is becoming ‘sexier’ and dresses are more fitted and revealing.

Where do you source your material?

I use the best suppliers in the industry from all over the world. I’ve established relationships with everyone from small batch suppliers of quality silks from London, to suppliers of genuine Chantilly lace from France, Swarovski crystals from Austria and trims and fabrics from Barcelona. There are also some great suppliers in Derby such as Tatlers, Elegance and stalls on the market.

How has the business changed in recent years?

More people are shopping online and bridal tastes have become more varied. I’m always working on my online presence, but I think that being able to offer a personal service is very important. There are many benefits to having a gown made especially for you and customers realise that looking at a picture on a computer is not necessarily going to deliver what they want. Brides are often pleasantly surprised at how affordable my service is, especially in view of how much time is saved in shopping around. I’m able to offer support to each bride from day one, right through to the final fitting.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m establishing my own brand of couture bridal wear and my first ready-to-wear bridal collection will be available in February, which will will give a taste of how my dresses feel and fit. I’ll also continue to offer a bespoke dress-making service.

For more details visit www.tanya-fashion.com

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