Designer Tess van Zalinge creates an upcycled wedding dress with the help of the AlvaForm
Alvanon speaks to Dutch designer Tess van Zalinge about this one-of-a-kind wedding dress.
Alvanon: How were you approached by the client? What guidelines did the client give you?
Tess van Zalinge: The customer contacted me by email and had no idea what exactly she would like as a wedding dress. She did know that it should not be traditional and usual, but above all edgy and innovative. She had just a few abstract guidelines like that color does not scare her and it could be a bold and dramatic silhouette. So we started this creative process a bit more different that usual. For me a wedding dress should be something that matches your identity in order to be worn more often than one day only. We talked about her personality, created mood boards together, described what she usually wears for different occasions and asked her to select designs from my archive that she can identify with. From there we had a fitting session with existing designs from my studio to create a more concrete idea of what fits her. That is how the intensive process was born and we created enough guidelines to design various proposals for her final wedding dress.
How did you source the material?
The material we used consisted of several elements. For example, we have reused material from the atelier for her bodywear, gloves and accessories. These are fabrics from old collections that have been upcycled and got a new purpose in the designs for this wedding dress. In addition, we have also revived a digital print from a previous collection and had it printed on eco-fabric, TENCEL. We printed on the TENCEL using a print company that is located here in the Netherlands and has a beautiful diverse range of eco-fabrics. Finally, for the tulle, we were able to use a lot of tulle from slip dresses of used wedding dresses for the volume of the dress. Laura Dols is a local shop here in Amsterdam where I get a lot of these materials. These are wedding dresses and vintage clothing that we give a chance in the industry by upcycling. Mainly we try to source my materials locally or upcycled out of stock, leftovers or even waste.
What were some challenges you encountered? What were some unexpected rewards?
A major challenge was certainly the modular system that we had developed in the concept phase. In addition to working sustainably with materials and handling them very consciously, I wanted to search for the potential into sustainable forms and silhouettes of the design. Together with the customer, we acknowledged that a wedding dress that is worn for a day is no longer of today. That is why the look also consists of different elements and is not one dress so that she can wear it more often after her wedding day and can style it in a personal way to her liking. This challenge was also an unexpected reward at the same time because it worked! I had never applied this modular way of designing before and it taught me a lot so that I can also apply my sustainable vision to it in the future.
How did the AlvaForm aid in your process?
The Alvanon form has contributed to the development of this wedding dress throughout the entire process. The technical part of determining the size and working with certain proportions has contributed enormously to the making process, experimenting with techniques and shapes and discussing with the customer during the process. We made extensive use of the mannequin in the studio to improve the fit of the designs and to balance the proportions. It worked well for the customer to be able to assess the progress of the design on the mannequin in the meantime and to be able to understand and translate the proportions.
All photos by Tess van Zalinge.