From The Herald Boardwalk Bridal Fair to national television, couture designer Gerhard Meiring has made a name for himself.
Meiring can be seen on television screens across the country designing wedding dresses on the Afrikaans TV show, My Droom-trourok, on Channel 147 on DStv.
Meiring said the producers of My Droom-trourok first came across his designs on social media and asked if he would be interested in being featured on the show.
“I filmed my first episode in September last year. That went well and I was then asked to do Season 2 and 3. That went well too and I’ve been asked to do Season 4 and 5.
“There are 13 episodes in each season and every bride gets paired up with a designer,” Meiring explained.
“The programme revolves around the concept of the bride bringing in two people whose opinion she trusts to choose a dress each. She then chooses a dress herself while I also choose a dress for her – making it four dresses in total.
“Presenter Diaan Daniels and myself then hand over the dresses to her and deliver critique, telling her what colour works or doesn’t, which shape suits her or doesn’t, and so on,” Meiring said.
“Most people need the critique because they walk into a shop not knowing what they want and unfortunately most shop owners will tell you whatever you want to hear in order for you to buy a dress.”
Meiring said the show helped a lot of brides who maybe had big busts, big hips, or were too tall or too short, who would not otherwise know how to dress for their special occasion.
“Whichever dress the bride chooses, she gets to wear her dream dress on her special day,” Meiring said.
My Droom-trourok is a show where brides-to-be meet fellow designer Daniels to have their wedding dresses choices customised by top designers.
Meiring, who is known for his couture evening gowns and wedding dresses, said he had already shot Season 3 and 4.
The designer said the show combined his favourite things – designing wedding dresses and going through the experience of making a bride-to-be’s dream dress come to life.
“The majority of my clients come to me to have their wedding dresses made and since I did the show, the number of clients has increased.
“But I also do special wear, such as evening gowns or matric farewell dresses and I have select clients whom I do everyday wear for,” he said.
Meiring, who has been in the fashion industry for 20 years, said he always knew fashion was going to be his thing.
“From when I won a designing award in Standard 7, I knew what I’d end up doing would be fashion,” he said.
Growing up he watched his mother sew and soon followed. “I’ve been sewing since the age of 10, I just picked it up from her”.
Throughout his career, Meiring dressed a lot of famous faces before he left Gauteng to settle in Port Elizabeth. He said designing for former Miss South Africa Bokang Montjane was one of his career highlights.
“I first dressed Bokang when she was still Miss UJ and when she was crowned Miss SA, for her first magazine shoot she wore a dress of mine. She continued to wear other dresses of mine throughout her reign,” he said.
Meiring said he did not only keep up with fashion trends worldwide, but fuses his own “popculture-orientated” designs and inspiration to create unique garments.
“Girls and designers need to find their own voices and need to know who they are before deciding on a wedding dress.
“A bride must strive to look like the best version of themselves and not someone else because in most cases, people are disappointed when they see how a dress differs on them compared to when a celebrity wears it,” Meiring said.
The designer added that apart from his passion for glamour, he supported local businesses by shopping for fabric locally instead of importing material or dresses from overseas.
“Take care of your area first because the industry will fall apart if it’s not supported,” he said.
Meiring said that designers needed to stick to what they know and not try to imitate other designers.
“I’m much better at doing what I do because I do me best. I know lace, I know beading and I know sewing – and it doesn’t hurt that I love doing it,” Meiring said.
- Season 3 of My Droom-trourok plays weekdays on VIA on DStv at 5.30pm.