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Addicted To Love: Rolling In Roses

Sarah Symonds

It’s official; Rolling In Roses is your local stop for British-made, sustainable, ethical and oh-so-cool bridal wear. Fashion loving brides, we’ve got you covered (literally…)!

Yes, you read that right. If stunning, contemporary-yet-comfortable designs are your thing but you also care where your garments are coming from, denounce the very idea of fast fashion and like to know a little more about the ethos behind your brands, then our amazing UNVEILED Network Member Rolling In Roses is for you, babes.

Today we’ve caught up with Hayley Neil, Rolling In Roses’ designer extraordinaire. Hayley handmakes each piece in York using tried, tested and traditional techniques she’s picked up during her impressive career.

We’ve been chatting all things bridal fashion, finding out where she gets her inspo and meandering down her career path to date, to find out a little more about the face behind the gowns. We know you’re not going to want to miss this one!

Hi Hayley!

Hi I’m Hayley, designer and director at Rolling In Roses. We make contemporary, sustainable bridalwear, ethically made by hand right here in York. We are a small-scale British label with a focus on thoughtful design and high-end craftsmanship, creating conscious bridalwear for individuals who walk to the beat of their own drum. Our fabrics are gentle to the earth, our dressmaking techniques traditional and refined, our designs a blend of the classic and the avant-garde. We are not fast fashion!

Where did your passion for bridal fashion begin?

Following an epiphany during an uninspiring shopping trip to find a gown for my sister, I opened my first boutique in York in March 2012. Taking the name ‘Glory Days’ from the Pulp song I actually walked down the aisle to on my own wedding day, the boutique offered vintage and antique bridal gowns alongside the bespoke service through which I created one-off wedding dresses tailored for individual clients. Seeing the demand for contemporary, cooler and more comfortable wedding gowns than those offered on the high street, I founded the Rolling In Roses label in 2016 as a platform for my personal design vision and I’ve never looked back.

Rolling In Roses flourished and outgrew the confines of Glory Days so the two companies were recently merged and rebranded under the Rolling In Roses name, and the York boutique is now the RIR flagship store. I truly can’t believe how lucky I am to be able to make a living doing what I love and making people happy; it’s a dream come true.

Having designed, sewed, sketched, and embroidered my way through school, I gained a degree in costume design at the Edinburgh College of Art and went on to work as a freelance costume designer, maker, and assistant in the worlds of theatre and film. Being lucky enough to work on an eclectic array of theatre productions and Bifa, Bafta, and Oscar winning films, I’ve gained knowledge and experience covering everything from contemporary streetwear to tailored Regency period suits, from 1930s evening gowns to spectacular fantasy costumes. This diversity of skills means a wide range of knowledge of fabrics and fit, and experience with garments of various functions suitable for all body types.

Lying awake at night deciding how to finish the perfect cuff or solving a tricky pattern drafting problem is par for the course, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Does the boutique have a signature style of gown?

Rolling In Roses pieces are distinguished by their standard of workmanship and luxurious eco-friendly fabrics. We’re so proud to maintain traditional couture techniques in a world where cheap and easy is sometimes valued over quality and worth.

All our gowns are individually made to order by a tiny team of seamstresses here in York, England. This small-scale production means we can always guarantee the exceptional finish of our dresses and achieve artisan quality workmanship with all its divine hand-finished details. No production lines or faceless factories here; each dress is made from start to finish by one expert artisan who knows your name and your wedding date, and who personally takes care of every last detail. And oh, the pride we feel when we see your wedding pictures. Pure joy.

Our brides always comment on how comfortable their gowns are; each unstructured piece is cut to effortlessly flatter the natural figure rather than to fight against it. You won’t find any restrictive boning or scratchy, stiff fabrics, just comfort, elegance, and freedom. Our processes include delicate hand-finished couture details such as tiny rolled hems, hand-stitched edgings and beautiful blanket-stitched hook and loop closures, and all pieces are lined with a natural, breathable silk/bamboo blend or a vegan alternative to silk made from orange-fibre. We keep practicality in mind alongside aesthetics, and every dress has a wrist loop for carrying its train gracefully, along with ribbon tabs to tie it up out of the way for dancing. Dancing is very important.

We are proud to have no size restrictions on our dresses, so each design is available in any size required.

What sort of price point are your gowns?

Dresses range between £950 and £2100.

Separates (combinations of skirts and tops) range between £1050 and £2200.

We also always have a limited selection of sample gowns on our sale rail for under £1k. These are brand-new design prototypes, and sample dresses which we can no longer stock due to discontinued fabrics. A brilliant opportunity to grab yourself an incredible bargain!

How do you approach each appointment?

We pride ourselves on our standard of care, from the quality of workmanship we put into making our pieces to the personalised, calm, and fun service brides can experience in the boutique itself.

Everyone is welcome. We like to welcome brides from all walks of life, with as varied wedding styles as possible, and we have a range of different appointment options for you to choose from. So, whether you’re looking for a last-minute bargain for a micro-wedding or the whole shebang with a luxury appointment and fizz, we’re here for you. For us, it’s all about beautiful dresses, having fun, and creating a positive space for you to experience your once-in-a-lifetime journey along the road to getting married.

Body positivity and zero-pressure is our thing. We completely understand that wedding dress shopping can be nerve-wracking and will do our very best to make you feel at ease. We are NOT the kind of boutique who will shower you with insincere compliments in order to pressure you into a dress you don’t want. We avoid any generic advice about what a bride ‘should’ wear; in our opinion, any bride should be able to wear whatever the hell they want. What we will do is talk to you about what you would like to wear and make that a reality. And our staff don’t work on commission so there’s no-one pressuring you to buy on the day of your appointment, which means if you want to sleep on your decision for a night, a week, a month, that’s absolutely fine with us.

Tell us about the fittings and alterations process?

All our alterations are done in-house. No need to worry about finding a reputable seamstress to tailor your dress; we take care of all that for you.

We’re up for breaking bridal rules. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any special requests; we can customise dresses, or make them with different necklines or sleeves, or make bridal separates as full dresses, or even in an entirely different colour. Just ask!

Why should brides shop in independent, local boutiques?

Because we make all our pieces right here in the studio, and do all our brides’ alterations in-house, we can make sure your experience is completely smooth and stress-free. We can help with advice about shoes, underwear, accessories and veils, and anything else you might want to talk about from wedding music to bridesmaid politics to honeymoon plans. At the end of the day, we love what we do, and to be able to help celebrate your love and the marriage of two souls is an honour and a joy. We can’t wait to meet you.

What do your brides love about your service?

Our clients often comment on how their time with us was the most enjoyable part of planning their whole wedding! Rolling In Roses was founded with the aim of providing cool, comfortable wedding outfits alongside a chilled-out but completely professional fitting service. We have created the most welcoming and friendly space we can, with tranquil surroundings, a killer playlist, and bridal stylists who will NEVER go on the hard sell to make you buy a dress that isn’t right for you.

What are your top tips for the wedding outfit hunt?

  1. Bring supportive people in your entourage (or none at all!) and don’t be too swayed by others’ opinions – either that of the bridal stylist, or your nearest and dearest!
  2. Wear well-fitting, nude underwear.
  3. Choose what makes you feel amazing, nothing else.

Pick a fave…

Dress for 2021? The Obsession Dress or The Addiction Dress from our most recent collection.

Trend for 2021? Separates and sheers. Think over-blouses worn with slip dresses, sheer frilled sleeves, and interesting combinations of tops/skirts which can be changed/discarded/added to for the evening.

First dance track? Anything by Nick Cave!

Iconic wedding dress of all time? Ooh, tough one. I’m personally a big fan of Yoko Ono’s wedding ensemble of min-dress, wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, knee socks and pumps when she married John Lennon in 1969. If you haven’t seen it check out the pictures, she looks amazing!

How can couples get in touch with you and book an appointment?

Find us at www.rollinginroses.co.uk or on Instagram.


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