We’re crushing on Jann Marie Bridal's new collection, and we wanted to learn more about the gal behind the gowns, Jann Meads. So we chatted her up and got the scoop on her college years as a seamstress (spent hemming True Religion jeans—remember those days?), the story behind her first wedding gown (designed for wedding photographer Kate Osborne), the details about her favorite jewelry and bath + body goods, and why Ryan Adams is her sewing soundtrack.
Below, read our Q+A and check out her modern-romantic look book images!
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I am 31 years old and I grew up just north of L.A. in Thousand Oaks, California. After being away for almost 12 years, I have just recently moved back to my hometown with my husband and our almost 2-year-old daughter. I studied art at Utah Valley University and got my BFA in painting while sewing and making custom wedding gowns on the side, which became my full-time job after graduation. We also spent a year back east in Washington, D.C. where I teamed up with a friend and decided to launch a wedding collection of my own, which has been a dream of mine for many years now!
Q: How/why did you first start designing wedding gowns?
I altered or made most of my clothes in high school, as well as a few of my friends' prom dresses, but I never thought I would be making wedding gowns in my later years. When I graduated from high school my parents gave me a sewing machine. I had no idea that machine would determine my whole career path. Before I started making wedding gowns I spent most of my time hemming pants and tailoring dresses to make money while in college. My good friend and cousin Kate Osborne got engaged back in 2008 and asked me if I wanted to make her wedding dress. YEAH RIGHT, I said! It sounded like such a daunting task compared to the loads of True Religions that I was hemming and distressing with sandpaper on almost a daily basis...
But Kate had confidence in me and assured me it would be a joint effort, and if I screwed it up she would have a back up. So we went to work. It was a retro 50s tea-length dress with an incredible pleated waistline (if I do say so myself). It had giant buttons down the back and a zipper that I would change now but was quite proud of at the time. I remember being really proud of the outcome and realized that I had forgotten how fun and creative sewing really was. I mean, as creative as hemming jeans is, it just wasn't hitting the spot.
From Kate's wedding I got two more inquiries and it just kind of snowballed from there. Over the years I have designed and made over 100 wedding gowns. Not all of those went as smoothly as Kate's. I learned a lot and many times had to learn as I went because I am a 100% self-taught seamstress. YIKES!
I've designed and made over 100 wedding gowns. —Jann Meads
Q: You painted the backdrop for your look book, and mentioned that you have a deep love for fine art and fashion. Have you always had a creative streak? Do these passions inspire your designs?
I have always loved to create. I have had many creative muses and influencers. Mostly from the Arts and Crafts movement and postmodernism. But then there is the classic and the modern and I can not decide which one is more influential in my life! I feel like I am the same with my inspiration from other designers throughout the centuries as well for my wedding collection. I mean, I love the classy feminine silhouettes created by Coco Chanel and Oscar de la Renta, but I have also been inspired by modern designers like Leanne Marshall whose love for flowy fabric and art is very motivating to me. I hope my background in sewing and painting has allowed me to create something unique, wearable, and beautiful. What I can say is that I love boldness, movement, body, and flow when talking about painting or wedding gowns. Whenever I can meld that two I do!
I love working with other brides and other wedding vendors that take my creations and run with them. Kind of like when you sell a painting and its new owner will do with it what they will. All I can hope for is to inspire others and hopefully make lives a little more beautiful.
Q: How would you describe the style and aesthetic of your collection? What type of bride do you envision wearing your gowns?
A bride that wants to feel beautiful but also present at her wedding, not worrying about her dress but paying attention to what is most important: the love of her life and the important people surrounding her. I love a bride that is bold and willing to wear something a little out of the norm and unique. The dresses have minimal boning and are all made out of the best silks and laces you can buy. They are lightweight and comfortable. Our slogan is 'Effortless gowns for the modern bride' and I feel like that sums it up.
I love a bride that is bold and willing to wear something a little out of the norm and unique. Our slogan is 'Effortless gowns for the modern bride.'
Q: Do you have a favorite style in your new collection?
I do have favorites! I spent many hours working with pleaters on the Willow and Ebony gowns. It was a process I enjoyed so much I wrote a blog post about it. I also love the Laurel and silk Hazel gowns for their simple beauty. Both are made of two luscious layers of 4-ply silk. Every single gown, top, and skirt, were intentionally designed, and I designed many of them to be mixed and matched to accommodate almost any bride. The designs were also created to need minimal or no alterations. All of the designs that are sheer/lace can be ordered fully lined at not extra charge if the the bride so desires. There are also a few dresses in the collection that I made with the intention of timelessness: The Magnolia and the Elm are two that I hope will last and last.
Q: Tell us more about the accessories you also offer on your site. Are these some of your personal favorite items?
Yes! These are items from shops owned by personal friends of mine. I believe in promoting a good product and that is exactly what these are! Hight quality, handmade jewelry from Annabelle at Magpie and Rye, and Amy at Root + Rise Botanicals is a skin healing, botanical-loving goddess.
Q: Any current bridal fashion or beauty trends you love?
I am way in to the boho thing. I think it just screams comfort and natural beauty and a love for life. Its flowy and feminine.
Q: Do you have a favorite album or artist you listen to while designing?
I'm obsessed with Ryan Adams and pretty much everything he puts out into the universe. He has as many moods as I do styles. I love his creative diversity. It reassures me that I don't have to get stuck doing the same things over and over again; rather, my designs can change with the times and my personal feelings and ideas.
I'm obsessed with Ryan Adams and pretty much everything he puts out into the universe. He has as many moods as I do styles. I love his creative diversity.
Q: What's your favorite wedding flower?
My favorite?! Who knows. Poppies have incredible stems!
Q: What's your favorite flavor of wedding cake?
Anything with cream and berries in it!
Q: Any other details our readers should know?
All of the gowns are made in the USA, which is something I am passionate about. I not only love that we're supporting local economies, but I also get to be heavily involved in the pattern making and manufacturing, as well as quality control—all of the dresses are made to order. It also allows for shorter lead times! Brides will get their gowns in less than 4-6 weeks. We also try to be socially responsible: all scraps and unused fabrics are donated to schools for the arts to support art and design in lower income areas of the greater San Fransisco area.
All scraps and unused fabrics are donated to schools for the arts to support art and design in lower income areas of the greater San Fransisco area.
Photos: Kate Osborne Photography