An Interview with TLC Star Kelly Nishimoto

Have you been watching the new show on TLC’s BrideDay lineup, “Something Borrowed,  Something New”, which airs Fridays 10/9c? We are having a blast watching this show. We are in love with all the fabulous details of each bride and their journey in finding the perfect dress. We are most intrigued by how a heirloom, previously worn dress can be transformed into a stylish and fashionable new gown! Who is the person behind this amazing transformation?  Kelly Nishimoto, a fashion designer and television personality who stars in “Something Borrowed, Something New”.  We were thrilled for the opportunity to interview Kelly. Kelly took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions.

Bridal Hot List: Welcome to Bridal Hot List, Kelly!  For our readers that aren’t familiar with you, could you tell me about yourself and what you do?

Kelly Nishimoto: I’m from a tiny town in Georgia (Roberta) population 800! Now, I’m a clothing designer in Los Angeles…I started off in Contemporary Collections including Red Carpet Dresses and suiting…and I ended up with a full blown casual lounge wear company! I also do a ton of custom orders including Bridal, Bridesmaids, & Mother of the Bride!

Bridal Hot List: Kelly, you’re a top fashion designer now. Can you tell me where you started and how you got into fashion design?

Kelly Nishimoto:  Well…I started sewing when I was 11. My dad bought me a sewing machine from Wal-mart for Xmas. It all went crazy from there! I made or modified my clothes throughout high school and taught various arts & crafts classes around town! I moved to Miami when I was 19 and started throwing my own runway shows… I used to make entire collections out of Reynolds Plastic Wrap! When I moved to Los Angeles, I started a real business in my garage and things moved forward from there! I launched my 1st full collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion week in 2005. I’ve since been in over 130 stores including Macy’s & Equinox.

Bridal Hot List: Some say that high success comes from having a passion for what they do. For you, where do you draw your inspiration from? What motivates you the most? At what points in your career did it help energize you to stick with it and find eventual success?

Kelly Nishimoto: I’m a dreamer…so I dream up most of my ideas…or believe it or not…the treadmill! I’m constantly day dreaming and when I come up with something genius…I stumble back to reality when I’ve fallen off! Lol! My passion comes from my desire to be successful. I’m super competitive…mostly with myself…I feel like I can always do more and better! When I was younger, the idea of success motivated me. Now…my family is my motivation. I want to be able to provide for my parents and my family…and I want to do it by being successful at what I love to do. Have I found success? Not by my own personal standards…What makes me stick with it is the fact that I refuse to give up! If I seriously wrote down my personal challenges with life and this business…you would think I was lying. Even during the filming of the show…life threw me some MAJOR curves that I will one day be comfortable enough to share. I’m still waiting for that moment when I can say…”Remember when? I think it’s right around the corner…so I’m going to stick to my journey!

Bridal Hot List: The Fashion world is always changing. How do fashion designers like yourself keep up with what is new and trendy?

Kelly Nishimoto: For the most part…I make what I feel like making… I never look at color trends or trend reports…honestly…and when I choose a color palette for my next collection…knock on wood…it’s aligned with the rest of the design world! Now, what I have a hard time keeping up with is the business! The business is ALWAYS changing…and that’s my biggest challenge! When I started, there was no Twitter or Facebook…trending…QR codes…etc…Whewww…I’m exhausted just thinking about everywhere I have to post 1 piece of news! Pinterest, Flicker, Website, Face book, Blog, Instagram…

Bridal Hot List: When you are recreating and designing an outfit for someone, what details do you focus on the most, and why?

Kelly Nishimoto: There are 3 things to consider…

1. Is the integrity of the original piece worth keeping? If so…I have to be careful not to change it into an unrecognizable piece.

2. What does the client expect or envision for the revamped piece? Are the clients expectations realistic?

3. Is the “new” possible to make out of the old? And if not…what is the compromise?

Bridal Hot List:  You are starring on a new show on TLC called “Something Borrowed, Something New”. For viewers, what is the most exciting and new fashion details they should tune in to see?

Kelly Nishimoto: What Sam & I are wearing? Just kidding! Viewers should tune in to see the transformations…Not only the transformation of an old dress…but theses brides and their families are transforming right in front of our eyes! They are all having new experiences…and these are very real! As for the fashion…wedding fashion is all the rage right now! Sam and I are constantly bringing what the designers are doing on the runway straight to the bride!

Bridal Hot List: For a fashion designer like yourself, what kind of opportunity does starring in a TLC show represent?

Kelly Nishimoto: It’s an opportunity for people to see me for who I am and for what I’ve been doing for years. It takes sooooo long to build a profitable fashion business. TLC is a wonderful platform to showcase what I do on a daily basis. I am forever grateful for Andrew Strauser for keeping me in the TLC loop for years & years…

Bridal Hot List:  By the end of your first season of the show, what goals are you hoping to accomplish?

Kelly Nishimoto: Besides a second, third, & forth season…One of my goals is to make a living doing what I love and to not have to continuously stress out about paying rent or having enough money for payroll! Also…I really want to give back to young girls who need guidance…Fashion is a great way to help the younger generation learn about hard work, dedication, presentation, communication skills, being properly dressed and well mannered for business…I feel like today’s youth are missing out on learning some crucial life skills…ones that are learned from a human and not the Internet.

Bridal Hot List: On the show, your job is to transform a special, previously worn gown into a gown which is for the time, venue, and personality of the bride. What elements of the dress speaks to you the most? Is it ever difficult to tear up parts of a special gown and recreate it?

Kelly Nishimoto: I try and put myself in the mind of the person who made the dress in the first place…Especially if it’s an old dress! These aren’t “off the rack” like the 80’s dresses! I often wonder what they would do to the dress if they lived in modern times…I have had a hard time with 2 or 3 of the dresses. They were very special. One in particular hurt my feelings to cut up! But the end product was very true to the original dress and is EXACTLY what the bride wanted…

Now…when I get an ugly dress made with cheap fabric…I can’t wait to tear it up and make something new out of it! These don’t hurt my feeling at all! If anything stings…It’s the thought that designers really though those sleeves were cool! Lol!

Bridal Hot List: What are some tips on how to recycle the material from an old wedding dress?

Kelly Nishimoto: There are MANY things you can do! You don’t have to make it into a new wedding dress! You can turn it in to a party dress and dye it another color, you can make pillows, veils, head pieces, baby blankets, teddy bears, etc… So limitless!

Bridal Hot List: What are some of the best tips you can give the sentimental  brides that want to wear something old and special on their wedding day?

Kelly Nishimoto: Go for it! Don’t let your friends influence you! I’m not a vintage type of girl…but I definitely appreciate vintage and reusing beautiful things…

– Think outside the box! It doesn’t have to be used in a traditional way…GET CREATIVE!

– If you want a dress re-vamped…Spend the money on a professional unless you are REALY good at pattern making & sewing…Transforming a dress is harder than you think!


Bridal Hot List would like to extend our gratitude to Kelly and the TLC staff that helped make this interview possible.


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