This week, we're sharing a special interview with our founder and designer, Jinza Jin. Read below as Jinza talks about her inspiration, tips, and love for her job.
What inspired you to design and focus on wedding dresses?
Jinza: I started studying fashion design when I was 19. Since then, I haven’t stopped designing items for women. I design some things for men, but I love designing women’s clothing. When I came here from China, I started designing evening dresses and I made many prom dresses. One day, a student said to me, “You make beautiful prom dresses, could you make my sister’s wedding dress?” They came in for a consultation and we started the process. When we had the final fitting, the mother and bride cried because they were so happy. In that moment, I said to myself, “Wow, this is something really special and very touching.” I realized that a wedding dress is the most important dress in someone’s life. From there, I said I’m going to start my own line and start designing wedding dresses because it’s more challenging, it’s more beautiful and it’s more touching to people’s lives. That’s why I focus on wedding dress design. That was 12 years ago.
How do you go about designing a wedding dress?
Jinza: It’s been over 10 years that I’ve focused on custom design in the Bay Area - I have my own line and people see my work. Since the bride is so particular, they always ask for something different and sometimes they like 90% of my design and they just want to change a little bit to suit their personality or their style. Wedding dresses are personal, so I started custom designing and talking to each bride and changing each dress for them. People always say I am gifted, but the inspiration can come from anywhere. When the time comes, the inspiration arrives. Like when I see a piece of fabric, a piece of lace, a piece of art. Anything can bring me inspiration I can use for my bridal gown design.
What was the inspiration behind your current collection?
Jinza: In San Francisco, brides like the natural look. Something not too heavy - should be light comfortable, but still beautiful. Normally, I see a piece of fabric, and I let the rest come into my mind.
Do you have a favorite cut/shape/dress?
Jinza: My favorite dress is always in my mind, it is my next design. People often ask me that. My excitement is always in the next one. My favorite cut is a more fitted dress, like a soft trumpet or mermaid. A women should have a more feminine look and the trumpet or mermaid dresses shape a woman's body the best.
What will the 2016 bride look like?
Jinza: Lace is still popular and one of the more feminine choices. I think in 2016, people will choose less traditional looking dresses. More elegant and romantic look will be in - a sexy, fitted look. I will design a collection like that.
Who would you like to make a wedding dress for?
Jinza: I love every bride, I like the challenge. I like to be different. In the bay area, I am more focused on custom design because I love hearing everybody’s ideas. The wedding dress is so important in a bride’s lifetime, so they have done a lot of thinking. When they talk to me, I just love hearing their unique ideas. I would love to have a chance to do a celebrity dress in Los Angeles.
Who is your favorite designer/role model?
Jinza: I like Alexander Mcqueen, I always get inspired by his collections. I am constantly inspired by furniture, I love Restoration Hardware. The fabrics they use, the natural designs, I find it very inspiring.
What advice would you give a bride-to-be?
Jinza: When the bride picks out her wedding dress, she really needs to be careful. When brides try on a dress for the first time, normally the sample size is is too big and they think they can’t get it because it’s not their size. That’s not true, if it’s right, put it on. Even if it’s too big, you can still see how the dress is structured and how it can be flattering. Even with our sample dresses, if it is a size 8 and you love it but you need a size 4, we can create that and it will be just as flattering. If the sample dress isn’t flattering, your dress won’t be flattering even if it is the correct size. Also, brides need to take pictures and do some comparisons and see pictures side by side. It’s not the salesperson decision, it’s your decision. Every year, I have many clients come to me after they have already made their mistake with someone else, they want another dress. They need to spend some time on the decision.
How do you feel about the incredible amount of press you receive with brides in your gowns?
Jinza: I’m so happy when clients tell me their wedding is featured! I’m so happy I’m part of it, but they made a beautiful wedding by putting everything together. I’m just a little part of it, an important part of it, but I feel like my work pays off. I’m happy for them and happy for myself.
In your opinion, why do you think the SF boutique is incredibly popular?
Jinza: Our work is beautiful, flattering and well made. Like I said before, we make every single bride 100% satisfied with our work and our service. Over the years, word-of-mouth spread which just made us more popular, of course we have beautiful designs too. Our clients constantly mention the word “trust.” Somehow when they talk to me, they just trust me. They can’t even see what the dress would look like on their wedding day, but they trust that I will try my best to make a beautiful gown for them. I will make sure every bride is happy even though sometimes I have to work very long hours.
What are your goals for the LA boutique?
Jinza: I’m very excited for the Los Angeles location so I can stretch my design in a different way. I’m going to design more elegant and more glamorous dresses over there. I hope to design some celebrity dresses in the near future too.