Fashion student creates perfect wedding dress for big day

A fashion student at Gray’s School of Art has designed and made one of the most important pieces of clothing she will wear – her wedding dress.

Karen Runthal (27) – soon to be Karen Korjus – will tie the knot with fiancé Kaspar (27) on July 2 at home in Estonia wearing one of her own designs that she painstakingly crafted over the course of three weeks.Karen Runthal with her degree show work being modelled by Aigita Kalnina

It was her future husband who encouraged the final year Fashion and Textiles student to embark on the project.

Quote marks“He just said to me that it would be so special if I could create something of my own to wear on the day; He’s just my biggest fan.”

It was Kaspar who also gave her the confidence to change career direction after completing her first degree in Computer Linguistics and Economics.

“I’d always wanted to study fashion, but saw it as more of a hobby,” Karen explained. “I was working for an IT company when I met Kaspar. He looked at my design work and said that I was really good at it and that was what I should be doing.

Quote marks“I was scared but he encouraged me by saying that as long as you do what you love, then you will be happy so I decided to go for it. He is the reason that I’m here at Gray’s.”

Talking about the dress itself, she said: “The dress changed so much during the weeks that I was making it – I’d drawn out a few designs but it continued to evolve from that and I changed the fabrics that I was using too. I wanted to put a little bit of us into the dress and the place where we are getting married.

“As we’re getting married at a castle, I wanted the dress to be quite royal. There is lots of white and silver and it has a big A-line skirt – the wedding is outside, so I wanted it to be able to catch the wind. I do feel like a princess in it. It’s one of a kind – that’s what I like about it.”

Karen is relieved that the dress is finished, given that this is one of the busiest times of the year for her.

She has also been putting the finishing touches to her final collection which was showcased at the Gray’s School of Art fashion show in May and is looking forward to the Degree Show later this month, which runs from June 20 to 27.

“It is a very busy time with everything that is going on at university and planning a wedding,” she said. “July 2 has a special significance to us though and has been our date forever, so it just made sense for us to get married then. It is the day we met, the day we moved in together and the day that Kaspar proposed.”

Karen has combined her love of fashion with her technological background as part of her Degree Show collection, creating three outfits that are constructed from laser cut jigsaw pieces.

Quote marks“Some of the larger pieces are made from around 400 individual pieces,” Karen said. “It means that you can build your own piece of clothing and continuously reinvent your wardrobe without having to buy new clothes all the time.

“It is particularly good for children as it gives them control over their outfits and also helps to teach them about sustainability. In the fashion industry, people are always trying to produce things as fast as they can in large quantities and for low cost. I just feel that it is wrong – it encourages people towards overconsumption and creates a lot of waste.”

Release by
Jenny Rush

Communications Officer | Design and Technology

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