Picking out a wedding gown is something we’ve all dreamt of at at least once (or many times) in our lives. Well, for Sylvene Tsai, it was far more than a dream for her own gown, but a dream for many couture gowns, designed to the specifications of each and every bride. Thus, VENE AI was born. We are lucky to virtually sit down with creator, and VENE AI bridal designer Sylvene, to hear all about how she got her start in the industry. She also shares what goes into designing such fabulous and truly special gowns (including her own!). You’re in for a treat!
First things first, tell us your story! How did VENE AI begin?
I discovered my passion for the fashion industry at 7 years old. I can remember making clothes for my dolls out of any fabric I could find! Though I went to college and graduated with a degree in Business Marketing, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should be designing. So, I scratched the itch and enrolled myself into the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising with the intention of starting my career as an independent couture wedding and evening gown designer.
VENE AI Studio began with a 16-year-old promise to a dear friend. The promise was to create a one-of-a kind gown for her wedding day. From that day, VENE AI has grown to become a custom couture bridal and formal wear studio based in sunny Los Angeles. Every VENE AI gown is made-to-order using only the finest fabrics and materials. Multiple pieces are designed to be interchangeable, allowing every bride-to-be to create a fully customized and unique look. Each VENE AI gown is designed with a little bit of love, the finest materials, a dash of unexpectedness, and the promise to make you feel the very best YOU.
What is the favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of the job is to meet the brides and learn about their love stories. It is my goal to help them find the gown that is just as special as who they are, and can shine with them on their special days. Therefore, the process of making a VENE AI gown begins with a personal one-on-one consultation at our Arts District studio. I make sure to give my brides my full attention every time.
How do you get inspired for every collection?
I get my inspiration from everywhere and anything! Sometimes, my inspiration is sparked by a piece of art at the museum, or a photo taken during a trip; sometimes my inspiration begins with a piece of lace or embroidered fabric sourced at a fabric show. I always let my imagination go wild at the beginning. Then, I fine tune them into a cohesive story for the collection.
When you’re not dreaming up your next collection, how do you like to do to un-wind?
Each year I will plan an end-of-year trip with my husband to un-wind and recharge for the new year.
Do you have a favorite dress you’ve ever designed?
I designed and sewed my own wedding gown when I got married in 2014. It was a strapless blush ballgown with a cascading layered front. This gown remains one of my favorite designs that I have ever created.
What would be your dream collaboration?
I believe every collaboration is a dream collaboration when everyone on board has the same goal and vision. I have been very lucky to meet many like-minded creative people along my journey. And I keep a small vendor list whom I can reach out to for each project on hand. With that being said, I am constantly looking for opportunities to collaborate (with new photographers, planners …etc) to spark creativity and ideas.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Designing for brides-to-be will always be my dream job and I continue to pinch myself each time I look at where I started to where I am now. So, in 5 years, I will continue the mission to make a gown that is just as special as the woman who is wearing it. Perhaps with two kids running around the studio, too :).
If you weren’t a dress designer, what would you be?
I love to cook. I love it so much that I read Bon Appetite just for fun! If one day I am not designing anymore, I will probably be a cook or food stylist!