Exclusive Interview with Designer, Hayley Paige
In 2011 at the ripe young age of 25, Hayley Paige became the head designer for JLM Couture and launched her own bridal collection under her own name – she has since become a powerhouse in the industry. Known for her imaginative designs that balance sweet femininity with a touch of edginess, Hayley gives each dress its own captivating charm, much like her own charismatic personality. We sat down with the phenom to discuss how she got her start, her incredible collection and the next steps.
How did you get started in the business?
I've always wanted to make wedding dresses for a living, but I didn't always have the confidence in myself or understand the viability of design as a profession growing up. Luckily this doubt made me open to different experiences in business and science that really curated a special avenue for me. I entered the industry straight out of college and knew it would take hard work and real experience to properly develop my skill set. I believe in practice, but I also believe in gravitating toward people that will help you blossom and cultivate your talent.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
I’m continually inspired by people that are hardworking and enthusiastic. I consider myself anything but a minimalist, so I love people that aren’t afraid to go full speed and all in on something.
What is the greatest challenge for you as a designer?
Understanding that you can’t be everything to everyone! It’s one thing to balance your assortment; it’s another to compromise your aesthetic to please a fleeting trend that might not truly speak to who you are as a designer.
What inspires you when designing?
Inspiration is always multifaceted for me and typically comes with a unique soundtrack. I love tapping into different personalities and energies, as opposed to feeling confined to an artistic theme. For me, design is about storytelling and being playful in my environments.
What is the story behind your latest collection?
This season was a bit of a splashy rewind. There are hints of throwback glamour channeling the excellence and exuberance of the 80's. My goal was to embrace a thematic moment and revel in the excess of it all. In lieu of a traditional runway show, we invited editors and influencers behind the scenes during a monochromatic photoshoot. It shook up the bridal market experience a bit and created a space that required more participation and intimacy.
What advice would you give to a bride who is just starting the hunt for her wedding dress?
Believe in the power of dress up! It’s a lovely thing to do your research online and on social media, but all bets are off until you are that beautiful bride standing in front of a mirror physically trying on the gowns for the first time. Even if you have your heart set on a particular look going into your appointment, allow yourself to be surprised and try something unexpected.
As the ultimate trendsetter (I fully believe you started the unicorn trend), what trends do predict we’ll see in the coming year?
That might be the greatest compliment of all time (insert unicorn emoji)! For the upcoming year, I think we will see a lot wardrobe changes and looks that offer a bit of versatility. I also predict a fantastic investment in sleeves and soft injections of color.
What is your favorite thing to do in your downtime?
I love a good workout. I really do it for my brain and sanity more than I do it for the physical benefits… I also love investing in a crafty home décor project (with the help of a sassy bulldog that likes to derail any real progress).
You have so many different lines from bridal to bridesmaids, red carpet to athleisure - how do you keep track of them all and what can we expect next from you?
I would hate to think we are limited to one special day with our client! Derivative brands offer that special extension to add more to her aesthetic story. To truly cultivate meaning, personal representation and engagement on various levels is imperative. I love having a variety of product lines to explore. It’s similar to having a scrumptious cookbook, where you get to keep adding new recipes. In regards to what’s next for me, you can expect some exciting technology projects on the horizon!
Who is your favorite client of all-time?
This is a toughie. It’s always exciting to do something custom for a music performance or award show, but I get just as much of a thrill meeting a bride that has a charming personality or fabulous sense of humor. Most recently, I’ve been working with Sabrina Bryan from the Disney Channel and Dancing with the Stars and she just makes my whole face smile.
What is the most memorable moment in your career thus far?
Last year I traveled to the UK and Ireland for a few specialty Trunk Shows. I had this special, almost out-of-body, moment where I couldn’t believe my gowns were being tried on and enjoyed by international women. That evening my sales director and I were staying at a hotel where a wedding was taking place, and we decided to crash the wedding! It ended up being such an intimate, yet worldly moment for me and the bride was just unforgettable.
I loved your docu-series, Hayley Ever After, on TLC. Is there more to come, or any other television projects on the horizon?
Apparently I am not supposed to kiss and tell, BUT who says I can’t “hug and share?” We’ve got some exciting coverage coming up for the royal wedding on TLC, as well as the continuation of Hayley Ever After and Say Yes to the Dress.