Wedding dress designers open store in iconic downtown building

A NEW company that designs and creates high-end wedding dresses has found its home in one of the most impressive buildings in Bradford city center.

Huma Humad is based in a Grade II listed Eastbrook Hall unit that has been empty since the building was renovated in 2008.

It’s run by siblings Hummad Ilyas and Humma Ilyas, who hope the high-end dresses will help put Bradford on the map.

The company is already attracting attention far beyond the city’s borders.

Although the original plans were to open the doors of the company last April, the Covid pandemic meant that much of the work had to be reduced or done on platforms like Zoom.

But now, with the restrictions lifted, the company is ready to lift the veil on the store and welcome people face to face.

The ground floor of the unit is home to the ready-to-wear dresses designed by the brother and sister, as well as a floral display that they hope many visitors upload photos to on social media.

The upper floor is where patrons go to discuss their designer dresses – where they can view the fabrics and sketches of the designs. There’s also a large mirrored scene so they can see each other in the final product.

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The two, who are from Bradford, discuss dress ideas with clients before creating the designs with pen and paper. The dresses are then made by a team in Pakistan.

Although the company is in its early stages, it has already gained customers and attention from all over the UK, Pakistan and even the US.

Hummad, who studied graphic design and worked at Flannels, said foreclosure at the company so early had proven difficult, with money from all clothing sales going towards the basics and to pay manufacturers. working on the unit.

He said, “Our credit cards are at their peak. But now we’re at the stage where the money is coming in and things are a little more stable.”

The money deposited for the dresses had been returned to customers when the scale of the restrictions was taken into account, but Mr Ilyas said most customers have now returned home to pick up where they left off.

He said: “People who have seen the space inside here are amazed by this. We have had inquiries from London, Glasgow, Birmingham. I am not too surprised by this because I know how the industry works.

“It’s important that we put Bradford on the map.”

The company is open from Tuesday to Thursday, then Saturdays and Sundays. Although the opening hours are from noon to 7 p.m., they say they can arrange to open anytime for appointments.

They plan to hire apprentices to share what they know about the Asian bridal business, Mr Ilyas adding: “We are ready to share what we know, we are not hiding any secrets. We don’t mind if someone is opening another store in Bradford, everything is helping the industry.

“We have been trading for a year, but we are finally able to lift the veil and invite the public, rather than being exclusive and just having dates.”

The siblings said working together made it easy for them to form their ideas, and they often discussed design ideas around the dinner table.

Humma, who studies textiles, said: “We want to give people a great experience when they come here.”

She said from the couple’s initial design ideas, it can take up to a year for a dress to become a reality.

Indeed, the store presents a book of creations that will probably not be ready before January.

While some of the more basic dresses take six to eight weeks to make, the more complex wedding dresses can take up to six months.

Humma added, “The whole dress is handcrafted. Every piece.

“You have to think ahead of what the trends are likely to be. Fashion is constantly changing. You have things like social or political awareness. People are also inspired by the past.

“But it’s not always about what’s hot – we aim to do something different every year. We want to do better than the year before. That’s what we’re aiming for.”

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Daniel Lange

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