Designer Spotlight: Michael Cosentino Designs

Michael Cosentino, Michael Cosentino Designs, Contemporary Weddings Magazine, Designer Spotlight, NJ wedding gown designer, NJ bridal gown designer, wedding gowns, bridal gowns, meet the maker, vendor spotlight, designer spotlightNew Jersey born and raised, designer Michael Cosentino is ready to take the bridal world by storm and will sure to be turning heads with his stunning bridal gown collection. The 29-year-old designer is a true artist at heart who has taken his love for all things style straight down the wedding aisle. Lucky for you, we had a chance to chat with the designer to talk all about his line of gowns, which pay homage to the strong women in his life. While the company only opened its doors in November 2015, Cosentino has big plans, including new, modern lines and a flagship storefront. Cosentino, who started designing as a hobby, is excited for his new designs, and he is eager to get his name out into the market, as his favorite part of designing wedding dresses is being part of such a big and sentimental moment in a person’s life. Before you become completely captivated by Michael Cosentino’s modern, chic, a little bit sassy, and completely romantic gowns, we’re putting this upcoming designer in the spotlight with a Q&A, so continue reading below to find out what inspires Cosentino, the influences behind his collection, and tips when it comes to finding your wedding gown.

How did you get started in the industry?
I started making and designing clothes as a hobby a few years ago. I’ve always been a hands-on, creative person. I have a background in fine art, and I’ve always been fascinated by fashion, so I bought a few fashion draping textbooks and dove right in. I started out making dresses for my girlfriend at the time (now my wife), and it spread to some friends and started growing from there.

 

Who is the Michael Cosentino bride?
The Cosentino bride is fun, modern, chic, and a little sassy. She’s a strong woman who knows what she wants but loves options. Our debut collection features sleek, simple dresses that are beautiful on their own but also serve as the perfect canvas to layer colorful lace tops or fluid skirts over for a personalized look that fits each of our brides’ unique styles.

Michael Cosentino, Michael Cosentino Designs, Contemporary Weddings Magazine, Designer Spotlight, NJ wedding gown designer, NJ bridal gown designer, wedding gowns, bridal gowns, meet the maker, vendor spotlight, designer spotlightWhat is the inspiration for your wedding gown collection(s)?
I am inspired by bold and dynamic personalities. Each of the designs in my collection is named after a person in my life who has left a strong impression because of their vibrant, multi faceted personality, hence the “be vibrant” message which carries through the core of the brand. My designs pay homage to these women and celebrate their unique outlook on life and personal style.

What got you involved in wedding dress designing?
For my wife’s bridal shower (fiancée at the time), as a part of the surprise, I made her a simple white dress with a separate navy lace top (something blue), and it was a hit at the shower. My fiancée ended up wearing the pieces again and again but separately―in fact, she still wears them to this day and always gets compliments. Many women buy a different dress for each bridal event and end up never wearing them again because they look too bridal. We realized there was a real opportunity for giving your bridal pieces a new life simply by styling them differently―bridal separates that could be mixed and matched in different ways and integrated into a bride’s wardrobe after the wedding.

What was the process of developing your line?
I love the idea of a colorful bride, so it was natural to add multiple color options for the lace tops when designing the collection. I source all of the fabrics from Manhattan and make all of the pieces by hand in my studio.

What is your favorite part of working with brides and bridal gowns?
Weddings are such a special time, and I love being a part of the sentimental process. Many brides are interested in customizing certain details, and even entire gowns for that matter, which I love because it keeps the design process fresh and interesting.

 

What is the biggest challenge you face?
Scaling the business. I love being able to make each dress by hand myself, but I know that’s not sustainable forever. Creating quality garments that are made locally, which supports the amazing talent in this country, is a core value of mine and central to the business, so the brand will grow and evolve around these core values.

When did you decide it was time to start your own brand? Was there a crucial turning point that gave you that extra push?
I’ve always wanted to have my own line and I am very much a DIY-er, so after doing tons of research, reading entrepreneurial books, and talking to entrepreneurs, I decided to go for it. I have a creative vision that I’m so happy to be bringing to life and sharing with the world.

 

Michael Cosentino, Michael Cosentino Designs, Contemporary Weddings Magazine, Designer Spotlight, NJ wedding gown designer, NJ bridal gown designer, wedding gowns, bridal gowns, meet the maker, vendor spotlight, designer spotlight, Brandon Rodkewitz Photography
Brandon Rodkewitz Photography

What makes your brand unique and what sets you apart from other gown designers?
Our main goal is to provide brides with pieces that allow them to showcase their unique personality and style. We want our girls to feel like the best version of themselves on their big day. Each piece is made by hand with love, and the best part is that they can reuse and restyle the pieces with their existing wardrobes after the wedding.

Do you only offer custom wedding gowns or do you plan on launching collections?
I have a spring 2016 line and a fall 2016 line in the works which are fresh, modern, and easy to wear―each design is made to order. I also offer custom design services where I consult with the bride to discuss her vision, create design sketches, select fabrics, and ultimately construct her custom wedding gown.

What is the first thing you consider when designing a gown? Is there anything that you keep in mind when designing gowns for the Michael Cosentino bride?
I always consider the bride and what she stands for when designing my gowns. Our brides are modern and chic and want high-quality designs that offer versatility to be able to express their personal style, which lends itself to the idea of separates in fun colors and luxurious fabrics. Each piece, whether a full custom gown or separates, has unexpected details that make it special.

What is the first thing you consider when designing a gown? Is there anything that you keep in mind when designing gowns for the Michael Cosentino bride?
I always consider the bride and what she stands for when designing my gowns. Our brides are modern and chic and want high-quality designs that offer versatility to be able to express their personal style, which lends itself to the idea of separates in fun colors and luxurious fabrics. Each piece, whether a full custom gown or separates, has unexpected details that make it special.

 

Do fashion trends influence your designs?
I do pay attention to trends but I interpret only those that our brides can relate to in my designs. I am interested in creating a consistent style rather than jumping from trend to trend.

Where do you see your brand going over the next few years?
Currently, we sell online only. We do private consultations at our studio and we attend wedding expos and other events to get the word out and for brides to see and feel the pieces in person, but I would like our designs to be in well-curated bridal boutiques in the near future. My dream is to one day have our own flagship bridal salon and to be stocked at boutiques across the country.

If you were able to design a wedding gown for any woman from the past or present, who would it be and why? What would this design look like?
I am a huge Audrey Hepburn fan―particularly obsessed with her Givenchy look from Sabrina that was a strapless column dress with a huge embroidered overskirt. I would love to play on that silhouette but with modern materials―layering lace and hand-painted silk for a delicate and timeless look because it fits with the Cosentino brand of high quality and unexpected details.

Michael Cosentino, Michael Cosentino Designs, Contemporary Weddings Magazine, Designer Spotlight, NJ wedding gown designer, NJ bridal gown designer, wedding gowns, bridal gowns, meet the maker, vendor spotlight, designer spotlight, CLY by Chung Photography
CLY by Chung Photography

Do you have any wedding gown trend predictions for 2017 and beyond?
I think a lot of brides are wanting less structured, comfortable gowns that flow with the body―I think the barely-there lace trend will continue.

What do you love most about designing wedding dresses?
I love working with luxurious fabrics like silk chiffon and organza for fluid looks, but I really love structured, architectural gowns with boning, horsehair, lots of detail and layering. I enjoy the challenge of creating an inner structure that fits the body and supports all the design elements yet looks effortless, which probably comes from my engineering background.

In addition to wedding gowns, do you design any other coordinating wedding fashion pieces, such as veils, headpieces, bridal belts, or accessories?
We do make belts and custom veils. One veil that we worked on was made from silk organza, and a calligrapher friend of mine did her amazing hand-lettering all over it. The finished product was stunning. We will eventually add accessories to our line to complement our dresses.

Can you offer any piece of advice for a bride who is shopping for her dream gown?
Pinterest and magazines are great for gathering ideas and inspiration, but be open to trying on different styles―sometimes a dress looks completely different on rather than on a hanger.

Aren’t his designs just lovely? Michael Cosentino Designs proudly operates in New Jersey and happily serves the tri-state area. His pieces can also accommodate bridesmaids and can even be made “mini” for flower girls. For more information or to book a consultation, visit www.mcosentinodesigns.com or to shop online visit www.cosentinodesigns.etsy.com and follow on Instagram (@mcosentino_designs) for a behind-the-scenes look into his creations. Photos by Michael Cosentino unless otherwise noted.

 

About Michael Cosentino: “You’re fun, exuberant, one-of-a-kind. Your style is unique and chic. Why not wear something as vibrant as you are? Our pieces allow you to mix-and-match to showcase your unique style. So go ahead and shine. Celebrate you. Be vibrant.”

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