Brian David Thompson is the designer of the gorgeous gowns featured in this spread and the owner of Brian David Designs. With an eye toward vintage glamour, he creates stunning custom clothing intended to fit and flatter every client.
Thompson, a Pittsburgh native, has been sewing for nearly his entire life. He explained, “I really don’t remember a time when I didn’t know that sewing had to be my life occupation. Most kids think when they are growing up, ‘I want to be a fireman’ or ‘I want to be a police officer.’ For me it was always, ‘I want to sew.’ ‘I want to make pretty dresses.’” His lifelong passion certainly shines through in his elegant designs.
Specializing in expertly crafted formalwear, Thompson strives to create, “vintage inspired clothing for the modern day woman.” He is inspired by the designs of the past, the grandeur of John Galliano’s work for Dior, and even the fabric he uses. “I look at a piece of fabric, and it says to me, ‘Yes, I’m meant to be a skirt,’ or ‘I’m meant to be a suit.’ I love what Michelangelo said, ‘Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it,’ ” he related.
Mass production of fashion has left many consumers frustrated with sizing and plagued by fit issues. Thompson shared that most of his clients come to him seeking custom-made garments because they simply aren’t satisfied with the fit of store-bought clothing. Thompson works diligently to ensure that clients are satisfied through exceptional attention to detail and a collaborative design process.
He explained that he first advises clients to shop for garments in stores. For example a bride should go to bridal salons and try on gowns to get an idea of which styles will flatter her body type. Next, clients come to Thompson for a consultation. He listens to their preferences and looks at photos of dresses—he welcomes mixing and matching, often combining the preferred silhouettes, necklines, sleeve styles, and materials of several gowns into one design perfect for his client. He creates a sketch, takes measurements, and constructs a mock-up version of his design.
Then the client returns for a fitting to try on the mock-up. This version helps clients to visualize what the garment will look like on their body and allows them to change aspects of the design as they wish. Thompson makes necessary adjustments based on input from the client, adjusts the pattern accordingly, and then cuts the dress out of the fabric intended for the final design.
The dress is then partially assembled and fitted on the client for a second time. Additional adjustments and customization are made as the client desires before it is completed.
Thompson gives clients ample input throughout the process, “Every time you have it on, you have a chance to refine things as you go along so it’s exactly what you had in your mind,” he stated.
While formal wear and gowns are Thompson’s focus, he has a diverse skill set learned from his years of sewing and work in costume studios. He has helped to create multiple pieces for Broadway shows, such as Beautiful and Anything Goes. He is also experienced in corset making and is a firm believer that proper undergarments are essential for any outfit.
His favorite design? His younger sister’s wedding gown, which featured three interchangeable skirt options for the ceremony, reception, and even a simple underskirt for comfort after the festivities.
For more of Brian David Designs, please visit www.youtube.com/user/BrianDavidDesigns or follow Brian on Instagram @briandaviddesigns.