Lasting Impressions owner Leah Stevens helps Grafton bride to be Natalie Jackson find another wedding dress.
Lasting Impressions owner Leah Stevens helps Grafton bride to be Natalie Jackson find another wedding dress. Tim Howard

Bridal wear shops unite to fight gown maker's collapse

BRIDAL shops around Australia are banding together to help their customers after the bankruptcy declaration from international bridal gown maker Alfred Angelo.

The US firm, which sells into 34 countries around the world, shut its doors on July 14, sending shock waves around the world.

These were felt in Grafton, where Leah Stevenson's Lasting Impressions has been working overtime with customers to remedy the problem.

"Alfred Angelo's designs and price point were suited to the Grafton marketplace," she said.

Ms Stevenson said she now had a lot of redundant stock, which could be hard to shift.

"A lot of brides come in to try on gowns, then order one that might be a different size or colour from the manufacturer," she said.

She said she had a Jacaranda candidate and two brides ringing her in recent days to discuss how they might get the gowns they want.

Mr Stevenson said bridal wear retailers around Australia were pooling their available stock to help each other's customers.

"Lasting Impressions is sending a gown to Canberra and has managed to source a gown from a bridal boutique in South Australia," she said.


Leah Stevenson of Lasting Impressions Bridal Wear with a package she is about to send to a bridal shop in Canberra after the collapse of bridal manufacturer Alfred Angelo.
DRESS CODE: Lasting Impressions' Leah Stevenson is about to send a gown to Canberra after the collapse of maker Alfred Angelo. Adam Hourigan

Ms Stevenson's customers are holding up well under the stress.

Grafton bride Natalie Jackson said she felt "depressed" when she heard about the bankruptcy.

"The Alfred Angelo dress was the one we kept coming back to while we were trying on gowns," she said.

"Being so small (Ms Stevenson said she was a size 0) I had to send away for a special gown, which won't be happening"

The only good fortune for Ms Jackson is her wedding won't be held until next year, so she has time to to find another gown.

Jacaranda Queen candidate Alana Gordon said Lasting Impressions was going "above and beyond" to remedy the problem.

"I received a call from Leah advising me tht the two dresses I have ordered for the Jacaranda ball and the crowning will be unavailable," Ms Gordon said.

"Leah has gone above and beyond to source another ball gown from another supplier of hers that meets everything I was wanting in the gown.

"She has also spent time contacting other stores to secure the Alfred Angelo dress in my size for the crowning."

Ms Stevenson said a move from retail to online purchases could be responsible for Alfred Angelo's demise.

"Dan Morey, of International Couture Collection, (wholesaler of bridal gowns in Australia) believes the bankruptcy is largely due to the movement away from retail to online purchases," she said.

Ms Stevenson said she had seen many instances where this had gone badly wrong for customers.

"We had someone bring a gown in that needed taking in by 14cm," she said. "That's two full dress sizes.

"If we have to make alterations for a dress bought through the shop, we do the work at a discount rate, but we charge full rates for alterations to gowns bought online."