Above: A J'aton custom made gown for sale on Still White, for just over half the price originally paid.
Not that long ago, the thought of purchasing a second-hand wedding dress was something that only occurred to the most frugal of brides. But thanks to Ingrid Szajer and her co-founder and husband Bruno, a new generation of brides-to-be are blending their yearning for a high-end gown with smart economics at StillWhite.com - a marketplace for brides to buy and sell wedding dress directly to each other - and where just about every designer you can dream of is represented. We spoke to Ingrid about trends, online shopping, and a new wave of wedding thinking.
Above: The Marchesa 80815 gown, currently for sale on Still White for $4,000 USD.
Elle + Adhira: It seems buying wedding dresses online has officially become 'a thing'! How many brides are purchasing and selling through Still White at the moment?
Ingrid Szajer: Brides are selling over $450,000 worth of wedding dresses each month - and growing! That’s more than 300 dresses sold every month with the average sale around $1,500. To date, a total of AU $12 million worth of dresses have been sold through Still White.
Above: The Naeem Khan Rio gown, for sale on Still White for $7,900 AUD (originally $14,990).
E + A: It seems like purchasing a pre-worn wedding dress is no longer just something for the most frugal of brides - you guys have some pretty amazing, high-end gowns for sale. What's driven that change?
I: Women are conscious that style and fashion change and are less sentimental about keeping their dress for their future daughters than previous generations. Planning to sell your dress within two years of wearing it for your wedding is a financially savvy thing to do. Women factor selling their dress into their budget and feel confident buying a more expensive dress knowing it has a resale value. It is easy to research the resale value of your dress by going to the Still White sold page and filtering the results by your designer. We publish each and every sale, including the original retail price, the sale price and how long the dress took to sell. Still White sellers also use the money to put towards their next phase of life whether that be a pram, house deposit or a nice handbag that can be used every day.
Above: Inbal Dror's BR-15-15 gown, for sale at Still White for $8,900 (originally $16,000)
E + A: How does it work for buyers - do they get to try the dress on beforehand? Is there a return policy?
I: Buyers can search within their local area or city if they wish to try the dress on. However, less than 40% of sales occur in person, with most dresses purchased over the Internet. Buyers are protected if the dress arrives differently to the listing description (or never arrives).
E + A: What styles and designers are trending on stillwhite.com at the moment?
I: Queensland label Grace loves Lace is incredibly popular with the bohemian bride and get snapped up really quickly, along with Anna Campbell and Bo & Luca. Our Australian designers are really popular with buyers in the US and Canada, high-end designers such as Steven Khalil, Leah Da Gloria and George Elsissa offer brides in those countries a couture look that is quite different to what is available to them locally.
International Israeli fashion house and designers such as Inbal Dror, Berta and Galia Lahav (Russian born but Israeli based) are popular.
Dresses with two looks are increasingly sought after. An overskirt for the ceremony that can be removed to reveal a more fitted dress underneath for the reception. Or another way of getting a unique look is the two piece look by mix and matching a crop style top with a separate skirt.
Above: Bo & Luca's Tulsa gown, for sale on Still White for approx $1,840 AUD.
E + A: It feels like we all do almost everything online these days - but if you'd told a room full of brides 15 years ago they'd be buying wedding dresses online, they might not have believed you - because it's such an important purchase. What has made brides feel more confident about shopping online? Is it a generational thing?
I: When we first started Still White we also thought that most transactions would happen face to face between brides. In the last couple of years with the the rise of social media channels particularly Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, dress designer’s develop cult-like followings and women are very aware of the different styles and looks out there and are confident to go after it even if not available in their local area.
The Anna Campbell Madison gown, for sale at Still White for approx $3,530 AUD.
E + A: Purchasing a pre-worn dress certainly feels more environmentally sustainable, too. Do you think that's a factor for women?
Buying a pre-worn dress that has usually only been worn a few hours then dry cleaned is certainly an environmentally friendly move. These dresses are beautiful and for both buyers and sellers it seems a waste to put them away in a wardrobe while they are still fashionable.
About Still White
Still White was started by husband and wife team, Ingrid and Bruno Szajer, to help brides recoup some of their wedding budget. To date, brides have sold over $12 million worth of wedding dresses with this figure continuing to grow every month. With over 16,000 wedding dresses available online right now at www.stillwhite.com.au, there's a wedding dress for every style and budget.