The Unique Bride
Toronto’s Lesley Hampton has made a splash on Canada’s fashion scene – and beyond. With designs featured internationally by such top-tier publications as Vogue, Elle, Flare and USA TODAY, and worn by luminaries such as Margaret Trudeau, Jann Arden and Serena Ryder, Lesley’s name is now a mainstay of fashion festivals, including Toronto Fashion Week. With her name increasingly associated with uniqueness and diversity in the fashion world, it’s no wonder Lesley has become a “go-to” for hopeful brides whose dream dresses cannot be found in typical boutiques.
Lesley’s designs are premised on values of inclusivity and self-acceptance. As the daughter of a mining executive, she moved to new cities and countries throughout her youth. Her designs are inspired by her travels, the people around her and “the human psyche”: “I have my designs reflect issues or stereotypes that might be applied to me” as an Indigenous woman, she explains, “and in doing so, I critique how society is telling me to behave versus how I, and the people around me, view ourselves.” Lesley has committedly foregrounded body positivity and raising awareness about Indigenous identity in her runway shows.
When asked how she stepped into bridal design, Lesley notes brides-to-be began approaching her after they saw her designs in runway shows or press stories. “It’s exciting to discover each bride’s style and how that can be translated into a bridal piece,” she notes. “Some brides come to us with an exact vision in mind of cut, colour, and appliqué. Others come to us with ideas and we help them discover their ideal silhouette, shape and materials for that dream-come-true gown. It’s a learning experience with each bride and it’s exciting to execute their vision for their special day.”
Lesley and her team also regularly design for bridesmaids, maids of honour and the mother of the bride. “Cocktail dresses and gowns are our favourite to create!” she explains.
Not only have Lesley’s designs attracted numerous clients, but they are translating into real honours: Lesley was recently nominated for a Canadian Arts and Fashion design award, an RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur award (2018), and a Premier Award (2019).
Lesley’s applied artistry is helping turn brides’ dreams to reality for their big day.