Miracle Folaranmi: Creating Memorable Bridal Moments
Miracle Folaranmi has been in the business of making brides beautiful and confident on their wedding day since 2017.Founder and Creative Director of TruFlair Bridal, Miracle’s label is famous for its daring designs, luxurious, and extravagant gowns aimed at women who want to feel intensely feminine and powerful. To her, TruFlair Bride is a modern-day bride who wants to look and feel totally fabulous on her wedding day, expressing their feminine and fun side through their perfect TruFlair gown.As the creative director of TruFlair, Miracle’s passion for her craft runs through the seam of each and every exquisite and innovative collection that she has churned out over the years, including the famous Obsession in 2019, Romance and Grandeur Collection in 2020, Eternal Collection in 2021 amongst others. Inspired by art, her lifelong desire, she says, is to continually make brides all over the world ecstatic on their big day by creating their dream dresses.We sat down with the famed bridal wear designer to learn more about her process and the future of the label. What inspired you to go into this?I have always had a true flair for fashion (pun intended), and I am naturally gifted with my hands. As a child, I always created dresses for my dolls with my mum’s scarves. During my university years, I was very interested in fashion but more as a fashion consumer. I loved to research designs and the inspiration behind them. It always fascinated me. Like the bridal couture dress, Linda Evangelista wore in 2003 for Chanel on the runway. In 2015, during my wedding planning, my love for fashion design was re-ignited due to the search for my wedding dress. I got inspired by various designs and it rekindled my desire to be more than a fashion consumer. I became a fashion designer with a focus on bridal wear in a bid to empower women and make them feel confident and beautiful on their wedding day.What inspires your bridal collections and designs?I am inspired by art, patterns, and also by the world around me. I also love African, Egyptian and European patterns. I am also a lover of cultures all around the world. It depends on the purpose.For example, our 2020 Grandeur collection that featured Juliet Ibrahim was inspired by the pandemic. The dresses in the collection were 2 in 1; a luxury couture wedding dress that could double as a reception dress allowing brides to switch and still look stunning.For one who has been in the industry for some time now, what is the experience like for you in the bridal fashion sector? In the past, Nigerian brides were unwilling to pay huge sums for their wedding dresses to Nigerian designers, but preferred to order from outside the country for couture dresses, now; I can boldly say it is the other way around. Foreign brides are attracted to Nigerian designers. Nigerian brides also understand the work, effort, detail, skill, art, and heart that go into creating their dream dress and are willing to pay a premium for exclusivity. Overall, it is an evolving industry that will eventually be at par with bridal powerhouses like the USA, Spain, the UK, and others.Would you say the Nigerian bridal industry has developed compared to when it started? Yes. The Nigerian bridal industry has grown over the years and has impacted the global bridal landscape. Consumers in Nigeria have a love for extravagant, expensive, luxurious, and exquisite dresses that can break the internet. This has beamed the spotlight on Nigerian Bridal designers. We have had brides contacting TruFlair from Canada, the US, the UK, and many other countries over the past few years.Let’s talk about some of the changes that you would like to see in the sector.Fashion education in Nigeria needs to improve. It is impressive to see the strides Nigerian designers are making to push the limits. However, I believe more can be done; there should be a clear educational path (university) for fashion designers to earn a degree. This will provide a solid foundation for the newbies.What would you describe as the turning point in your career and life? Many years ago, TruFlair exhibited at Wed Expo, the largest wedding exhibition in Nigeria at the time. We showcased some of our couture bridal dresses. The exhibition guests and other exhibitors were wowed at the level of detail and could not believe they were handmade in our bridal atelier in Nigeria. These reactions were a stamp of approval that changed the trajectory of things. People could see the creativity and level of intricate details on the dresses. This brought a lot of spotlight to us and we met industry players that were willing to work with us.Can you describe the most beautiful wedding gown you’ve ever made? I wouldn’t say the most beautiful because all TruFlair bridal dresses are unique and very beautiful. I can however speak about the wedding dress that had the most impact. In 2020, a bride from the United States contacted us to create her couture wedding dress. She was not going to visit Nigeria before her wedding and was getting married in the US. She was wondering how it was going to work and we reassured her. Did her consultation over zoom which included her measurements, we ordered her luxury fabrics and made her extravagant ball gown. She didn’t know what to expect because she contacted us when we released our collection and was having cold feet because she was not going to have any fitting and it was completely over the internet. When the dress was finished, we did a dress reveal via zoom and in attendance were her family members.When we revealed the dress, it was an emotional moment for the bride and her family. Everyone was tearful and overjoyed and could not believe their eyes. They were blown away. This brought tears to my eyes. It was a reminder of why I was in the bridal couture business, to make brides feel like the most beautiful on their dream day. The dress was eventually shipped to the bride in the US. It fit perfectly (no alterations needed) and she looked so glamorous on her day. It was a beautiful feeling. We frequently have brides being emotional and crying in the TruFlair atelier, but this was completely over the internet. It was a beautiful experience.What are some of the principles that guide what you do?Women empowerment, Creativity, Innovation, Sustainability, Exclusivity, Luxury, Reputation, and Legacy.What are some of the things that you won’t do in the name of fashion?In the context of art, I believe there are no limits to the extent fashion can go. It is an art that has no boundaries.What should we expect from TruFlair Bridal in the future?I have always set my eyes on the international market, for example, we shot our 2019 Obsession collection in Dubai, UAE in a bid to transcend to the international market. And we got the attention we wanted. However, the dream is for TruFlair to have a physical presence in places like the UK, US, Dubai, France, and others. This is why I pursued an MBA in International Fashion Management at the University of Coventry, London to fully understand fashion as an art and a business in the global context. We are releasing 2 collections this year in the UK. One is a bridal couture collection and we will also be releasing our very first luxury couture collection.