Retold Bride:

Full-circle Fashion For The Minimalist Bride

With a distinct tidal wave of change surging through the wedding industry, the leading tastemakers in bridalwear are causing an eco-friendly evolution through silk, thread and spellbinding savoir-faire.

For the first time, brides are closing the gap on one-time wear, with many now adopting a full circle approach to hand-picking a design - whether sourcing vintage pieces, renting an outfit or even repurposing a ready-to-wear style.

Like a sartorial slow dance, Retold Bride is leading the pace in sustainable shopping with a considered collection of loved-before treasures. A trailblazer in the tale of refound finery, founder Clare Lewis has shared the process of creating Retold Bride and what this could mean for the future of sustainable fashion.

Why and how did you start Retold Bride? 

My background is in fashion – I previously worked for a high street retailer for almost 14 years before starting Retold. Retold Bride started very organically as an extension of my main business – Retold Vintage. Through sourcing my general collections, I would discover beautiful dresses and separates that would make great alternative bridalwear for those who were looking for non-traditional and vintage pieces. I started selling these on the website and then began creating a more elevated, personal experience with appointments at my studio in the beginning of 2021. 

I want to make vintage a more desirable and accessible option for brides. This mission is at the core of Retold Vintage and I always thought, ‘Why should it stop there?’ – especially when we also factor in that bridal is an area of the fashion industry that is highly uncircular. 

Although this is the first time dipping my toes into bridalwear, I bring a lot of knowledge and experience when it comes to vintage and how to make it accessible to more people.

How do you select your pieces? What is the process for sourcing and buying?

I keep my process for sourcing bridal pieces consistent with how I source my general vintage collections, as I really want it to feel like an extension of Retold Vintage. For me, I felt there was a definite gap in the vintage and second-hand bridal market for more minimalist, contemporary styles and some of my favourite brands to source are Jil Sander, Calvin Klein and Armani who all really tick that box. I source a mix of dresses and separates, and also have a lot of pieces from private sellers who are looking to find new homes for their wedding dresses. For example, I recently acquired two beautiful Alessandra Rich dresses which make simply incredible bridal pieces.

"For me, I felt there was a definite gap in the vintage and second-hand bridal market for more minimalist, contemporary styles and some of my favourite brands to source are Jil Sander, Calvin Klein and Armani who all really tick that box."

What is the typical process for a Retold Bride when attending an appointment? 


The appointment starts with an initial conversation to find out about the bride’s plans, any aesthetics to consider and when the celebrations are. I then introduce them to the current range and recommend some pieces that she may be interested in based on that initial conversation. 

After that, our studio appointments are all about our brides taking their time, browsing all the pieces and most importantly try-ons. Whether they are new to vintage or not, I can’t recommend the process of trying on different pieces enough – you can see what styles and tones work for you, especially when sizing is so varied with vintage. 

I don’t have a limit on how many pieces they can try on and, although we don’t offer a bespoke alterations service, I am able to advise on opportunities to resize and re-work if needed – with recommendations for some amazing seamstresses, textile restorers and designers to truly personalise their piece. Making vintage accessible is sometimes about having vision to see beyond the existing piece to truly maximise its potential and modernise it. 

Due to their style, a lot of my pieces also have the opportunity to be worn after the big day has come and gone, and we also offer consignment to resell bridal pieces on your behalf.

Less is definitely more for Retold and I’m a minimalist at heart. I love nothing better than a co-ord, I’m a sucker for suiting and I have a weakness for the minimalistic fashion of the ‘90s – which filters through to my styling aesthetic and unashamedly muted colour palette. Pieces may seem simple, but there will always be a beautiful nuance that will make it a unique piece, whether it’s a dramatic sleeve, a subtle pleat or beautiful silk. I create small collections and like to think my customers appreciate items that are hand-selected and considered.” 

What is the best thing you’ve experienced since beginning Retold Bride?


So far definitely helping bride-to-be’s who have had to change their original plans due to the pandemic. It’s been truly emotional hearing stories of how ceremonies have been re-imagined, so having the opportunity to be a part of bringing their new vision to life has been everything – especially in such challenging circumstances. I’m honoured everytime a bride has chosen to wear Retold.

What does the future of bridal look like to you?


Sustainable, inclusive and circular! I hope there will be more variety with curated second-hand and vintage, and we should expect to see rental become the new norm within more wedding wardrobes too. Already resale is becoming easier than ever, with platforms like Vestiaire, and I’d love to see more bespoke brands offer a buyback and consignment programme.


As the perception of what is deemed ‘traditional’ is now evolving and the landscape of what is on offer slowly expands, I’d like future bride’s to have as many options as possible, so whatever their preferences on style, sustainability, size and budget, there will be something to suit.