ARA Experience’s mission is to disrupt the wedding dress industry with affordable bridal couture. We believe that the dress of your dreams should work for you, you shouldn’t have to work for your dress. That’s why we let our brides ‘build’ their very own dress right on their body so they can see exactly how beautiful they can look.
We also believe that everyone in Australia should be able to experience ARA which is why we travel all over Australia for exhibitions and trunk shows. No matter what state you are in, we always want to be able to bring the full unique experience to you.
We are proudly Australian designed and produced, we want to show the fashion industry that it is possible (and beneficial) to manufacture within Australia and still be competitive. This is our way of giving back to our community.
ARA Experience is currently based out of Penny and Matt’s garage which has been transformed into Penny’s private sewing studio. This space is used by Penny to do everything: from designing your dresses, cutting the fabrics, and sewing your dream dress together. You could say that this is exactly where the magic happens.
Penny has always been interested in couture ever since she was given her first Barbie Doll. Fast forward to her years in high school and this is where she truly finds her love for fashion and sewing. Penny is qualified in Fashion Design and Sewing and created a 6-piece couture collection as her graduate collection. While her sewing skills are advanced, one area that she requires further training on is patternmaking and fit. This is why we have brought on a professional patternmaker as our fashion mentor to assist Penny with all of ARA’s patternmaking needs. Penny’s mentor has over 20 years’ experience in dressmaking and currently teaches future fashion designers of South Australia.
We can assure that all of our wedding gowns are made with extreme precision and finished to couture standard.
ETHICS + SUSTAINABILITY
ARA Experience is incredibly focused on ensuring that everything we do is ethically sound, and as sustainable as possible. This is at the forefront of every decision that we make.
We want to be proud of the company that ARA Experience is, and the only way that we believe this is possible is by making our greater community proud of us too.
Our atelier is and will always be run with clean and safe working conditions; our business will always abide by all Australian Labour Laws and we will always pay our employees above the minimum award rate. However, as we are currently too small of a business to demand safer working conditions from our suppliers overseas, we will not be able to guarantee the social and environmental impact of the following supplies: 1) All fabrics & lace, and 2) All notions, including buttons, zippers, elastics, beads etc.
We are, however, proud to announce that we have implemented an action plan in place for ARA Experience. These are the milestones we look forward to hitting in sustainability plan:
- December 2021: 50% of fabrics made from sustainable materials
- December 2021: 100% of packaging made from recyclable materials (excludes garment bag and hanger)
- December 2023: 75% of fabrics made from sustainable materials
- December 2025: 90% of fabrics made from sustainable materials
Please note: All sustainable fabrics will also be sources from ethical manufacturers. Measures will be taken in the initial negotiation stages to ensure that the suppliers and manufacturers are compliant to local labour laws. The companies will also have to prove that they adhere to providing ethical working conditions to their employees. This will be checked as Matt and Penny will personally visit these factories on their yearly trip to China.
If we may, we would also like to boast that we have nearly hit our goal of having 100% of our packaging made from recyclable materials. You will be glad to know that our tissue paper and even our stickers are all made from biodegradable materials. Our paper materials are all made from recyclable paper and we encourage all of our brides to recycle these once they are done with it.
We are currently looking into more sustainable options for the following: 1) Tape, 2) Ribbon, 3) Garment Bag, 4) Hanger
We want to be transparent and let you know that we source all of our fabrics direct from fabric manufacturers in China, mainly in the Guangzhou Province.
All fabric notions (buttons, zippers, elastic, clothing label, hanging tape etc.) are also sourced from China, from various suppliers and provinces.
If you would like to know more about our ethics and sustainability plan, please scroll above for more information.