November 10, 2017
Rebecca Schoneveld on Zero Income, Innovation + Egoless Wedding Dresses
Who: Rebecca Schoneveld, Entrepreneur, Wedding Dress Designer, Dreamer.
Why She’s Foxy: Out of the necessity, she learned to sew at the age of four — and 30 years later, became the foxiest wedding dress designer in all of Brooklyn as the owner of Schone Bride — defying convention to serve the needs of unconventional brides all over the borough.
On Humble Beginnings: “I grew up in California up until I was six, and then we moved to Pennsylvania. It was a little traumatic. My parents met backpacking in Europe in 1975. They knew each other for 100 days on their wedding day and they are still married. She’s very talkative and funny and he is a really reserved and disciplined Dutchman. My dad is like a serial, maverick innovator. He has huge visions. Growing up, my mom put all her time into raising and homeschooling me and my four siblings and we had zero income. We even got evicted from our house once. It all seemed kind of regular until I got to middle school and then I was like, oh man this sucks. I mean always knew it kind of sucked but then I was like, oh wow we are really different.”
On Learning To Love Making Clothes: “My mom taught me how to sew when I was four. She made most of our clothes. I started making my own clothes so that I could have clothes I liked. I would go to the thrift store, buy something for ninety-five cents and remake it into something cool. Creating things has always been a safe, meditative place. I learned how to use paper patterns from the get-go, and I used a lot of vintage paper patterns, too — my prom dress was a little vogue paper pattern package from 1954. When I applied to FIT, I brought the prom dress I made to the interview. It was sky blue with ombre iridescent hand beading, silver satin, and pleating. They accepted me, and I moved to the city one month before 9/11. I haven’t left since. New York is where I’ve really become myself.”
On Becoming A Wedding Dress Designer: “I was working in contemporary apparel as an assistant designer, and was really kind of burnt out on the regular fashion scene and the whole skinny model, aspirational look. So I had this brainstorming session and was like, wow maternity would be a great niche. Pregnancy celebrates a curvy feminine body that’s like a healthy curvy, a specific kind of curvy. I sold it at Neiman Marcus, Saks, Nordstrom and all these big stores stores. Then the economy crashed and I had bitten off way more than I could chew. I didn’t really know how much it took financially to produce ready-to-wear. And of course I had no backers and had to close the line and it was really devastating and painful. It took me a while to work through the darkness. So I started making dresses again and opened an Etsy store. Pretty much as soon as I posted the dresses people were like wow can you make this in white? and Schone Bride blossomed from there. My take on success is this: If you follow what your gifts are and really try to offer them to the world without ego or strings attached, you will succeed. I'm not trying to gain glory, I just want to make other people happy and offer them my craft.”
Fave Love Song: "Alison Krauss and Robert Plant’s, Stick with Me Baby."
Fave Love Book: “‘Joy in the Morning’ by Betty Smith. It's a great story of determination, independence, and learning to fight the good fight for love.”
Fave Love Move: “You can't really beat Breakfast at Tiffany's…”
Fantasy Wedding: “Mine to Jon Hamm! On the Amalfi Coast, of course. I would wear something I made — I’d have to have like three outfits. One would have to be something really chill and moveable and the other would have to be like really couture.”