I sucked in my breath. A large wooden gate stood before me as I stood in front of the warehouse with my photographer friend. This was the domain of Armour sans Anguish (AsA), a very popular eco-friendly bridal line. I had talked to the owner, Tawny, several times before, but it was on a whim of intoxicating courage that I impulsively asked whether or not I could feature her here on WP.
Let me give you a little info on Tawny and AsA. Tawny is an insanely talented designer and heads Armour sans Anguish, which has both a bridal line and a ready-to-wear line. Both lines share one thing in common: they both use completely recycled materials in all of their wonderfully bohemian and romantic creations. That means every beautiful piece of apparel you see on AsA’s Etsy shop or online shop has been sourced, is custom-made, and wholly unique to any other piece of clothing.
So, you can imagine that when I requested to do an in-person feature of Tawny and AsA, I couldn’t help but feel nervous that I was going to meet her in person.
But as Tawny welcomed me and my companion into her stunning studio, I was instantly blown away by two things:
- Her warm demeanor. She has a way of putting someone to ease, probably due to her countless hours of engaging with clients. That, and the fact that Tawny is the spitting image of a gorgeous bohemian free-spirit if I ever saw one. Like one of those girls in the Free People ads… but BETTER.
- The sheer quantity of vintage fabrics in her studio. Boxes upon crates upon shelves were packed with gorgeous fabrics that were embellished, beaded, colorful, impossibly silky, and more. Lace and chiffon adorned the tables in graceful swathes, and vintage heaven was just hanging off the racks that surrounded her studio.
We sat down at one of the large tables. Me on a stool, Tawny on a beautifully engraved chair. In this studio full of natural lighting and color, the designer looked completely relaxed in her surroundings.
Some time along our conversation, she began showing us the creations she has worked on and how she goes about the process of making a dress from scratch. I’ve seen this girl up close. She’s the real deal. Every movement Tawny makes is graceful and efficient, wasting no energy in getting the job done. She’s been working at her trade for over 10 years, ever since she got a sewing machine for a Christmas present.
I got to ask her some questions about her — what she loves so much about vintage, designing custom dresses for clients, and AsA itself! What I got in return were some pretty a-mazing answers.
You really incorporate eco-friendly and ethical practices into your designs, so how did you get exposed to those practices in the first place?
Well, I was raised by a really thrifty mom, so she would always take us thrift-store shopping. So to me, making things out of things I found secondhand was sort of the way I just started doing it, it all came very naturally to me. I didn’t realize there was an eco-bridal world, so when all of these eco-friendly boutiques started contacting me, it came to me that being eco-friendly was a THING. It existed. And it started to really emerge while I was making things.
I’ve always been drawn to older fabrics, they seem more beautiful to me. I couldn’t really imagine using new materials. It came from a really personal place, and it just became part of this broader movement.