The musings of Alexis Doktor
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been sewing and creating. And somewhere along the way, between fashion, costumes, and having (or creating) the worst luck in romantic things, I also totally fell in love with weddings. Hopefully, if everything goes right, you only get married one time, so that day should be special. It should be all about what the bride and groom want. From a giant, over the top, fairy tale day; to a private, secluded, beach wedding for two (well, maybe a couple witnesses); to city hall nuptials, there is no wrong if it’s what the couple wants. So who gets to make those dreams come true? Well, hopefully people like me! I’ve always believed that on this one day out of your entire lifetime, you get to pick any dream that you may have, and ask to make it a reality. (Hopefully nicely… no one actually likes a bridezilla 😉 ) I believe in the first look, and the big kiss, and the happily ever after, and I want to make sure that each and every girl who asks me for help making her dreams come true on that special day, gets exactly the day they envisioned.
Beyond wedding planning, decor, coordination, set-up, etc etc, the thing that started me down this path to bridal bliss, was fashion design. I started sewing as a kid, cutting up my bed sheets because that was the best piece of fabric I could get my hands on, and just figuring it out as I went along. After countless trials, and a few nights spent on unmade beds, my mom finally decided to send me somewhere that I could get proper lessons. As a young teenager, I made my first walk through the halls of the Fashion Institute of Technology (my future alma mater) for a summer patternmaking class, and I. Was. Hooked! I’ve been sewing, and patterning, and draping, and designing ever since. In 2003 I went back to FIT for my actual degree, and less than one year later I had the amazing opportunity to work with the head patternmaker at Vera Wang. Her lessons were invaluable to me! Not just pattern and construction lessons, but life lessons. She has since returned to her hometown of New Orleans where she’s opened her own custom dress shop, and is fulfilling her dreams. Definitely an inspiration to me! So when I graduated, instead of accepting one of the hundreds of hustle-and-bustle-without-the-side-of-glamour jobs on 7th avenue, I returned to SC where I could dance and design at the same time.
Ballet taught me more about being a successful grown-up than anything else I could imagine. If you have an opportunity to send your kids (all kids, not just girls!) to a ballet class, do it! There’s a foundation of discipline that is unmatched in any other sport or extra-curricular activity. Performing professionally was one of the all time highs in my life, this far.
But let’s get back to that “yes” dress, shall we! Because of my background in fashion and the bridal industry, and my close connection with all the ballerinas I danced with and/or costumed, it was an easy connection to help them when it came time for many of them to say I Do. There have definitely been a number of strictly alterations jobs along the way – making sure their gown fit as fabulously as their tutus – but I have also been quite honored to have a number of them come to me to create something totally customized, one of a kind, or to incorporate heirloom pieces. These girls made me realize that I made the right decision when I left NYC… I don’t belong in the dress making industry, I belong in the dream making industry.
I hope I haven’t bored you, because I’m about to send you to another page! I just had the opportunity to work with one of the editors and photographers at Auntie Bellum Magazine, a homegrown Columbia, SC magazine started by and supporting some of the strongest women around. I managed to get four of my former custom wedding clients (and friends) to don their dresses one more time for an outstanding photo shoot. Please skip on over to Auntie Bellum‘s page to check out the article. And if you’re absolutely bored with reading, there are some amazing pictures of my work that can speak for themselves!!