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Bridal Originals was founded in 1947 in Saint Louis, Missouri by Jake and Vincent Nania. They launched the venture after witnessing the success of their mother, Rose Nania, who owned a ready-to-wear shop. In the 1940s she began sewing her own bridal gowns in order to keep up with increased customer demand during the post-war wedding boom. The Nania brothers filled a lucrative niche by offering moderately priced dresses without sacrificing a high level of service.

They soon developed two additional lines to manufacture bridesmaid’s dresses, prom dresses, and other formalwear. The first, Sylvia Ann, was initially advertised in 1949 but may have been available as early as 1947. It was followed shortly thereafter by the Nadine line, which was released in 1953. By the early 1970s the company was a giant in the American formal and bridalwear market.In 1985 the Nania family sold the business to a private investment firm. The following year the company expanded into the higher end bridal market by hiring Oscar de la Renta to design a collection of a dozen dresses with a retail cost of $1000 or more. By the late 1990s all of the garments were still produced in the US in various facilities located in Illinois and Missouri. However, due to increased competition from overseas manufacturers, sales floundered in the early 2000s and in 2006 the last Bridal Originals factory closed.

Written by Jennifer Binns of Hollie Point Vintage