Catching up with Atlanta fashion designer Abbey Glass

Catching up with Atlanta fashion designer Abbey Glass
Abbey Glass

Photograph courtesy of Abbey Glass

Atlanta-based fashion designer Abbey Glass is starting 2024 with a bang: a new spring/summer collection, a new bridal capsule, two new retail stores, and a spot in Dillard’s new concept, the Coterie. Here, she shares her inspiration and how she’s expanded her business.

You have a lot going on! Let’s start with the spring/summer collection. What was your inspiration?
Spring was very much inspired by florals—groundbreaking, I know! There’s also the influence of our muses, our 1960s-style icons. This spring, it was heavily influenced by Grace Kelly, with royal- and coastal-inspired pieces, and lots of dramatic bows. There’s a beautiful blue and yellow fabric that’s almost like an interior fabric, which I think will be really popular, and aqua and green organza pieces. I’m excited about a focus on floral fabrics and attention to isolated dramatic details on classic shapes.

Catching up with Atlanta fashion designer Abbey Glass
A dress from the spring/summer 2024 collection

Photograph courtesy of Abbey Glass

You’re new to Dillard’s this year in their the Coterie collection. What’s the collection like?
The collection was designed with the Dillard’s team for the Coterie. It’s our Abbey Glass brand DNA and our best sellers which have been expanded or modified for the Dillard’s customer. There’s crossover [from the Abbey Glass collection] in the mood, but merchandised a little differently. There are also exclusives coming. Dillard’s is doing that beautiful yellow and blue fabric I mentioned in shapes that are a bit more avant-garde, and we’re running it in more of our best-seller shapes at Abbey Glass. We started dropping in January of this year. There are drops monthly from now until June.

Catching up with Atlanta fashion designer Abbey Glass
A dress from the Dillard’s collection

Photograph courtesy of Abbey Glass

How did the partnership come about?
We had a very successful event in Charleston with Southern Living (I’m a Southern Living Tastemaker) about two or three years ago. That team said that it was the best pop-up shop they’d had. There’s a lot of cross-over between their reader and the Abbey Glass customer.

We followed the thread with Southern Living, thinking about how could it apply to retail, to find our customers. We identified Dillard’s as a target retailer. It was an organic chain of introductions, and we pitched the brand to the contemporary department. They said they had been looking for a brand like us for so long, amazing quality with great fabrics at a great price point. [Atlantan and VP, General Merchandise Manager of Dillard’s] Alexandra Dillard Lucie and her team were starting a new concept called the Coterie. The premise of it is to bring female-founded brands with very unique points of view to a larger audience through Dillard’s. They made it accessible for brands like us to get into the big leagues and to scale this way and get visibility, without putting us at risk. We’re now a top-selling new brand at Dillard’s.

Catching up with Atlanta fashion designer Abbey Glass
An Abbey Glass bridal dress

Photograph courtesy of Abbey Glass

Why did you decide to also launch a bridal capsule collection this year?
We’ve always had white dresses in the line that were meant to be bridal, but we never could launch at the right time and curate it properly. Now, we have a marketing team that is intentional in their messaging, which made it the right time. The collection is our best-selling Abbey Glass styles in gorgeous white fabrics. Who wouldn’t want a beautiful classic one-shoulder gown with a bow, just in white? I love the Annabelle, a new silhouette. It’s a retro pleated fit-and-flare with spaghetti straps and a super low back meant to be a pre-wedding or getaway outfit.

Catching up with Atlanta fashion designer Abbey Glass
A dress from the spring/summer 2024 collection

Photograph courtesy of Abbey Glass

You’re on a huge growth trajectory in 2024. Why is this your year?
We raised money in 2023 through the Tory Burch Foundation’s the Fellows Program. Each year, they select 50 women entrepreneurs for a yearlong program to help grow their businesses. I had a lot of support from them, asking ‘What’s next for the brand?’ and ‘What’s our value proposition, and is our customer market big enough?’ I’m a designer, but the fellowship made me a business person.

I started in custom dressmaking, so being able to make accessible, designer-quality clothing that most women can wear is where my passion is. It’s also what the market needed. I think a lot of mature and modest women aren’t being designed for anymore and they’re out of options unless they want to get to that custom $3,000 price point. So raising money to scale through the Tory Burch Fellowship has set me up for success. We’re excited to be a resource for women who want a trusted, go-to brand they can wear and feel confident in that feels timeless and classic. We want our customers to feel comfortable in their skin, focused on being with people they love instead of worrying about what they’re wearing.

Catching up with Atlanta fashion designer Abbey Glass
A dress from the spring/summer 2024 collection

Photograph courtesy of Abbey Glass

You’re even opening new stores.
Yes, this spring we’re expanding into [brick-and-mortar] stores in Charleston and Dallas in late spring/early summer 2024. Charleston is the special occasion hub of the Southeast, and people from all over the world come to Charleston. We saw a lot of customers in Dallas coming from online, and it’s a very similar culture to Atlanta, people love hosting and pay attention to dressing up. We love being where people like to be fancy and get dressed up.

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