New couture choice for brides

Cayman designer Kidan Brooks is opening a bridal boutique

Cayman’s shining reputation as a wedding destination is about to get a little more polished. 

Designer Kidan Brooks has returned home after five years in New York and she’s about to start her own bridal boutique featuring affordable couture creations. She will not only design a gown custom-tailored to the bride’s wishes, she will also make the gown, down to sewing on the very last bead. 

“I designed my sister’s gown two years ago and I fell in love with [the whole process] – the pressure, the fact that it has to be perfect…” she says, as Weekender tries to understand the allure of such stress. 

But then you take a look at her designs and you see the elegance that emerges from her creative energy. 

Kidan is a recent summa cum laude graduate of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, where she was awarded Best Use of Cotton for Special Occasion for a stunning white sheath that bares one shoulder and adorns the other with a large, fanciful bow. She worked in New York on the business side of the industry as well, a prerequisite for starting her own enterprise. 

“I’m going to start small – my mom [Maureen Jervis Brooks] gave me the top floor of her house for the boutique,” says Kidan, who will have her website up and running in a week or so. She figures that since a lot of people come to Cayman to get married, why not cater to the brides with one-of-a-kind dresses? 

Though she has plenty of original ideas, she acknowledges that designing bridal dresses requires another approach: “In bridal,” she says, “it’s always what the client wants.” 

Her influences? Alexander McQueen for sure. “I really like things that stand out.” 

 

In the beginning  

When she was growing up, Kidan says, she would spend “hours and hours drawing…and they all turned out to be girls in dresses!” At 15, she decided on fashion design. The valedictorian of the John Gray High School Class of 2004 was in for a bit of a shock, however, when it came to applying for the Fashion Institute. 

“It’s a really difficult process to get in,” she says, in grand understatement. “You have to make eight garments and send in a portfolio. I thought that echoed what school would be like.” 

Turns out, she was spot-on. 

Not only was school a pressure-cooker, it was a fairly accurate taste of what life in the fashion industry is like. “I think more than half of my classmates dropped out,” she adds. 

From the rigours of the classroom to the relative calm of the merchandising business, Kidan had time to reflect on what she wanted to do. 

“I thought about it a lot and I believe that what I’m doing now is the best option. Maybe I’ll go back to New York in two or three years, but my ultimate goal would be to work for myself, nationally and internationally,” a bridge she believes her bridal business will cross. 

 

This summer  

In addition to launching her own business, Kidan will be leading the Fresh Cayman Couture fashion designer workshop, an intense weeklong session beginning 18 July for aspiring designers.  

The workshop, sponsored by the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, is going to be – you guessed it -stressful, as it will cram most of what Kidan gleaned from four years at the Fashion Institute into a highly compressed time frame for drawing, sewing, colouring, computer modelling, shopping and fitting. Each participant will produce a portfolio at the end of the class and from that, he or she will make the garments that will be judged for selection in next spring’s Fresh Cayman Couture fashion show. 

“Hopefully the workshop will give them a taste of the pressure [in the industry], Kidan says, smiling, now that she has not only survived it, but conquered it, beautifully. 

“I’m very excited about getting things started,” she says. 

SpecOc

Design sketches by Kidan Brooks.

DBird

Design sketches by Kidan Brooks.

bridesmaid

Design sketches by Kidan Brooks.

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