Direct from the Designer: Susan Sorbello

Meet the designer:

For as long as I remember, I’ve had an inclination to be a designer. As a child I sewed and used things from bags of clothes and hand-me-downs to create my own looks. I’d change them up from the age of 9 or 10 when I had started sewing my own clothes. I’ve always experienced clothing this way. My mother designed and sewed my dresses as a child – she used patterns but always changed them up to make her own creations.  She allowed me to assist in the choosing of the fabrics, colors, etc.  This started from a very young age of about 5.  I started sewing myself a couple years after that, and won child competitions with my work. I never went with the status quo. I was interested in making things outside of the usual. I loved experimenting with fashion and trying new things.

I’ve been designing gowns ever since I started fashion design in college. I had a long time dream of designing my sisters’ wedding dresses, and it was in 1993 when my sisters started marrying that I had the opportunity to design and create their wedding day looks. Things just started growing from there. I enjoy wedding gown design because design is never static. Part of my design style adjusts with the trends and seeing what my brides like. My design style is more “classic with a twist.” I’ve never followed trends exactly, I prefer to be a little ahead of what’s currently happening.  However, I do think hard about what my customers would like, whether that’s in the way of trends, figure flattering shapes, or wearability of the dresses.  I often take a retrospective look, and although my personal aesthetic is minimalist, classic and traditional, there are always twists to the look. The “twist” is the opportunity to incorporate the new trends and ideas. That’s what keeps design exciting.

Entrepreneurship wasn’t really what I had originally envisioned myself doing, but I think it was inevitable as both my parents were business-owners. It just came naturally to me. I think it goes along with the whole “out of the usual” aspect of the way I enjoy doing things. I am an innovator and love trying things a new way, so naturally entrepreneurship became something I gravitated towards without intending to. I was searching for a career and believe you should do what you love, and what you are good at.  I wanted to find a career I would never get tired of, and I never have.  I just wish there were a hundred hours in a day so I could do more!  I went to college to equip myself with the tools I needed to carry out my chosen profession. The passion, desire, and creativity was already there. My end goal was to set up a design business as soon as I graduated and, basically, that’s what I did.  I have never looked back.  I have been supporting myself solely through my endeavors ever since!

Interviewed and written by consultant Nancy Cooper

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