WALLINGFORD — Warm weather may be months away, but at Dynamite Designs by Kristen on Route 5 spring is in the air as the dress shop prepares for prom season.
The Record-Journal recently sat down with owner Kristen Langan-Gudaitis to talk about her shop, prom season, designers and what to wear on New Year’s Eve. The shop is located in Staples Plaza.
Q: What is Dynamite Designs?
Langan-Gudaitis: I’ve owned and managed the store for about six years in February. The shop is very welcoming I feel where we welcome women of all ages. Prom is our biggest season, we also do bridesmaids’ and mothers’ dresses. So it’s all facets of formal dress wear.
Q: Is this your first storefront?
Langan-Gudaitis: Yes, I wanted to take over this store because I’m originally from Wallingford, born and raised and went to high school here. I always wanted to get home to Wallingford.
Q: How did you get into the fashion field?
Langan-Gudaitis: After high school I went to Marist College and studied business and fashion...I then went on to a career for about three years in New Jersey working as a merchandiser.
Q: Did you always want to work with formal wear?
Langan-Gudaitis: I love the experience that you have for special occasions. Prom is definitely the first occasion where you truly get to dress up, have fun, get a beautiful dress, get all done up with hair and make-up. So it’s an important event just like weddings are to us.
Q: Do you have any tips for people looking for New Year’s Eve formal wear?
Langan-Gudaitis: It depends on the event. Some people want that simple, sleek dress that potentially they can wear again to another event. Other people say ‘it’s New Year’s Eve, I want to glitz and shine as much as I can.’ So it really depends on the customer.
Q: When do you start receiving prom dresses in the store?
Langan-Gudaitis: I would say starting in December and going throughout the next couple months. Like the fashion industry, deliveries are a little bit earlier that way you can plan ahead in a timely manner. Especially with formal wear and gowns you need alterations, you need accessories like shoes, so planning ahead is definitely a good idea.
Q: What is the timeline between when you decide what designers and styles you want to carry and when they are actually received?
Langan-Gudaitis: For prom specifically... August. We go to Atlanta as well as New York where we watch tons of runway shows from all major companies. We sit there and select gowns from each of the companies to bring into our physical location.
Q: What are some designers you carry?
Langan-Gudaitis: I would say our top designers are definitely Sherri Hill, Jovani, Faviana, La Femme and we also have some designers based out of New York which is nice where we can directly work with them.
Q: Have you added any new designers recently?
Langan-Gudaitis: Absolutely, we’re super excited that we finally got Faviana. They’re based out of New York. They’re a great team to work with. They have women’s sizes as well as regular misses’ sizes.
Q: What are you seeing as popular styles now?
Langan-Gudaitis: Typically a fitted silhouette. At market we have designers that really cater to each clientele. Some girls really want that simple look and other girls want every bead and every detail on the dress.
Q: What skills are needed for this type of work?
Langan-Gudaitis: You really need to have your personality, you need to be educated on dresses, designers, all facets of how it works from production to the clientele.
Q: How has prom season changed in the last five to six years?
Langan-Gudaitis: Social media is definitely an aspect that we need to continuously educate ourselves on as well as be able to communicate with our customers.
Q: Do you do any events to promote prom season?
Langan-Gudaitis: So we’re doing a prom kick-off weekend which is the first weekend in January, as well as we’re working with Jovani Fashions to do a Jovani “It Girl” competition. We’re trying to recruit girls for Jovani’s fashion show which is “The World of Prom” for next year to show off the dresses.