We’re back with another Social Project meetup – and this time we hit the city streets with Sarah from By Catalfo, and Sara from Memorable Treasures to talk about fashion & weddings and ‘oogle over some of Sarah’s incredible collections. Sarah and I have known each other since highschool and I just love seeing what new pieces she comes up with [they are always so fresh and fun]. One of the items in her collection, The Bellisle Boyfriend shirt, is actually named after me! It was a piece I had worked with her to design for my own wedding, which she loved so much she decided to keep it in her collection and had asked me to help name it. We decided on “Bellisle” since it was my new married name, and Belle Isle refers to a beautiful island – which works perfectly with that palm print pattern.
Okay Sarah, tell me a little bit about how you got started in the fashion world?
I started designing and making my own party dresses as a teenager, because I couldn’t find any that I liked in stores. I quickly realized how much I loved the world of fashion, textiles and dresses. I started my label at the age of 17 under a different name and have never looked back. My business has been evolving and growing ever since then and I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I feel so grateful to be able to do what I love every day!
And By Catalfo, would you consider it to be mostly for bridesmaids?
Definitely not, having a go-to dress in your wardrobe that’s made to your measurements is a smart investment for any woman. Many of my clients aren’t bridesmaids and have experienced the same struggle that I have. Which is the challenge of finding the proper fit in an off-the-wrack dress. By Catalfo offers stylish and modern dresses in custom colours or prints, and is uniquely made to our clients’ measurements.
Have you ever made a wedding dress?
Yes! In fact I’ve made many. I offer a custom design service to brides looking for something special, in addition to my own styles available to brides (at ByCatalfo.com). A lot of our Brides aren’t afraid to wear colour, and are drawn to our floral print dresses (which I love!)
What is one thing you want brides or bridesmaids to know about choosing By Catalfo?
Custom bridesmaid dresses and dresses alike often have the perception of being a luxury service, with luxury prices. While this may be true in some situations, that’s not always the case. Custom designs can also be the most cost efficient option depending on your needs. The value of your garments will also be higher when they’re custom made, because you didn’t have to settle for something off-the-wrack. My clients are always pleasantly surprised when their dresses are delivered with no major alterations needed, which is just one more benefit of ordering your custom dress!
Your collections are often inspired by places you have travelled too, where are some of the furthest places you have sent your work to?
Such a great question! I’ve shipped garments to some pretty cool places! To name a few; Singapore, North West Territories and the Netherlands!
Now Sara tell me a bit about you and how you got into photography?
I’ve always loved photography and when I was younger I was always the girl with the camera, people sort of counted on me to be the one to bring my camera to certain events and post the photos for them. As I got older more and more people would tell me that I should pursue photography as a career, but growing up in a family full of doctors, architects and engineers I truly didn’t believe photography was a viable option for me. In my second year of university it became really apparent that I didn’t love what I was doing and I really didn’t know where I would even go with my psych degree. I think my dad really saw how much I loved photography, so he had contacted my cousin in Egypt who is an extremely talented photographer and asked him a bunch of questions to figure out how to help me get started. All without me knowing I might add. It was that year when I came home for Christmas my Dad had already gotten me a camera and made me some business cards, really encouraging me to pursue my dream. It has been so exciting every since, and I have had so much support from family and friends and I am excited to see where this path takes me.
Amazing! I also know that you are getting married this year! That is so exciting – can you tell me what advice you would give a bride to be having been in the industry for a few years and now planning your own wedding yourself?
Yes, I think its that you really shouldn’t stress, especially about the little details. Things will all work themselves out in the end. I have always tried to tell my couples that, and now that I am a bride to be myself I really truly understand and value that advice so much more. It is such an important reminder.
Can I ask you both what you favourite part of the wedding day is?
[Sarah] It’s the small sentimental and creative ideas that I love hearing about from my Brides. For example one of my brides ordered custom handkerchiefs which we custom embroidered with a unique personal note onto each one. She gifted them to her Mother, Father and Grandmother on her wedding day. I thought that just so special and thoughtful!
[Sara] For me there are two key moments in the day that just make my heart so happy. The first is the first time the couple sees one another, whether that is walking down the aisle or during a first look moment. It just such an emotional and incredible thing to witness. The second is right after they are married and walking back down the aisle together – I truly believe in this moment couples are the happiest and I really get to see their true selves.
Okay Sarah. I am dying to know, do you just make all of your own outfits?
I wish I had that much time! Typically I’ll design myself special pieces to wear to parties or weddings. When I get the opportunity it’s something I still really love to do and it keeps me inspired.
And what about your outfit today?
Today I’m wearing the Posy print skirt in blush, which I’ve hemmed to a midi-length. I’m in love with it because it has pockets and it’s so lightweight! It’s one of my go-to’s.
If you had to choose an animal to best describe yourself or your brand, what would it be?
[Sarah] A unicorn! One of my past collections was called ‘Be A Unicorn’, as a reminder to stay true to yourself, your style and your essence. It’s okay to be a unicorn among the horses!
[Sara] It might seem silly, but I would have to say a dog. They are just so full of energy and always seem so happy, like they are living their best lives. And I like to believe that is what I am like, not just during a shoot, but in day-to-day life.
I have a few of Sarah’s robes [the Lily Lace and of course the Bellisle Boyfriend shirt] and I can honestly say they are the most comfortable things! And they come in soooooo many different colours, the options are seriously endless. In fact for the entire day I am giving everyone $10 off their own Bellisle Boyfriend shirt! All you have to do is go to Sarah’s website and use my promo code BELLISLE10 in the special instructions box. But it only lasts until midnight tonight so hurry fast!
Thank you so much for following along with The Social Project. As always, I want to leave you all with a question and a challenge – who did you inspire today? Who could you inspire tomorrow? Or maybe you need the inspiring? Whichever or whatever it is get out there and create, spread some empowerment and truth around and lift each other up! You never know what might be brewing, or what magic you might create.
If you’re interested in being a part of The Social Project, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to follow the “Sara(h)’s” on Instagram