Bridal fashion label amber chloe originated as an Australian-made rebellion to the fast-fashion movement. Here, Melbourne-based designer Amber Koeman shares her passion for designing bridal wear.
I didn’t know it at the time, but fashion was sewn into my DNA from a young age.
I grew up in Hong Kong, and so many of my earliest memories are tied to my mum – and fashion. As a kid, I remember trying on her shoes and falling about trying to walk around in them in our tiny city apartment. I remember trailing behind her and feeling the buzz of the fabric markets, and the absolute assault of colour hanging from the walls of the tailors’ shops we’d visit. The sound of jewellery tinkling from my mum’s wrists is one that doesn’t leave me – even all these years later.
That is not to say that I didn’t have moments of brief flings in other industries. I worked in marketing and advertising for many years, but the problem is, once you flirt with the idea of never walking into a board room again, it’s difficult to look back.
And so my fashion brand amber chloe was born.
amber chloe originated as an Australian-made rebellion to the fast-fashion movement. I wanted to create timeless pieces that would make women stand out in a crowded room, and clothes that really celebrated and marked special moments in time. Over the years, the brand has grown and evolved, but that philosophy remains unchanged.
What started as ready to wear fashion, effortlessly grew into bridal. After getting engaged myself, I spent weeks trawling through monotonous bridal-wear, and I suppose, in a way, it forced my hand to enter the market. Creating my wedding dress was a huge moment for me, and there is a kind of magic in wearing your own design on the biggest day of your life. I enjoyed every aspect of it, from sourcing the Italian-made beaded fabric, designing the final style and of course, wearing it. Weddings have since become a major channel for me, and I love helping women express themselves through fashion on such a significant time in their life.
My dress, shown in the hero image, was a long sleeve gown with a squared low back, delicately beaded in an art deco pattern. Traditionally brides steer more towards tulle and Chantilly laces, but this modern take on bridal was unique at the time and why I fell in love with it. It was so perfectly suited to our wedding venue, which was a historic building on the renowned Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris. Steeped in classic, European charm and allure – it felt the perfect mix of old and new.
As in any business, listening to the voice of your customer is so important, and the response from my customers to the dress was overwhelming. It was absolutely a critical turning point for amber chloe, and so the brand pivoted to bridal. Later, when I fell pregnant with my son, I released a baby bump friendly range and yet again, the brand evolved. With all that said, nothing makes me happier than seeing our brides glowing in their amber chloe bespoke gowns and knowing we were a part of something so special.
The essence of my brand has always been to make women feel confident and empowered and I am a firm believer that your clothes have the ability to do that. I feel fortunate to be able to do what I love for a living and I hope I can continue to make beautiful pieces that make the wearer feel confident and powerful. I never would have thought the next stage in my journey would be making reusable, fabric masks for Australians to get through a global pandemic, but here we are!
As a designer, I think you’ve got to listen to what your customers are telling you, but I also think you have to counter-balance that with what your core vision is. For me, I’ve been able to carry that vision through each stage of the business evolving, and I think I’d put that down to a major reason the brand has had so much success.
You can visit amber chloe here.