Merrill Moskal and Simona Popvassilev have both been bridesmaids a few times over. The best friend duo attended Ryerson University together in Toronto, Ontario and experienced a “lightbulb” moment after one of their friends from school got married last year.
“We found that the bride was incredibly stressed trying to dress all of us. It was a time-consuming and disjointed process. There wasn’t a lot out there [for bridesmaids],” Moskal said.
In particular, when researching the market, Moskal and Popvassilev found bridesmaids options at the low-end and higher-end contemporary designer markets — the latter of which not everyone can afford — but few dresses in that sweet middle spot, around $200. “We got together and we were like, ‘This doesn’t have to be so hard,’” Moskal said. “There should be a platform that allows you and your friends to get together and choose a color and style or many colors and styles that fit everyone’s body type and personality, without investing a lot of money in something that you will never wear again.”
Today, Moskal, a graphic designer, and Popvassilev, who’s worked in fashion product development and project management, launch their new venture: Nameoflove.com, a collection of 14 bridesmaid dresses. Each dress is customizable in eight colorways and three fabrics — silk crepe, satin-back crepe or floral-embroidered lace — with silhouettes ranging from short, bodycon sheaths to flowing, floor-sweeping halter gowns.
Moskal and Popvassilev, who are currently based in New York, said they aimed to create a more curated experience for fashion-forward bridesmaids who don’t want to spend a ton. The price points start at $198 and go up to $248.
Acknowledging the competition in the market — namely, Los Angeles-based retailer Reformation, which has a dedicated bridal boutique online and by appointment at a shop on Melrose Avenue — Moskal noted the difference: “I think [Reformation] does an amazing job. If their bride is more boho, our [girl] is a little more tailored; maybe slightly more covered up. We’re really trying to appeal to that classic, modern bride with clean lines and beautiful hues,” she said.
Another key differentiator is that Nameoflove.com offers a personalized shopping experience online: The site enables the bride to create a virtual showroom where she can save certain styles and colors she’s favoring. Then, she can invite her bridesmaids to shop directly from her selections. “We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for brides and bridesmaids to communicate. We are really proud of the digital environment we created,” Moskal said. “Not everyone lives in the same city, and I think this is the easy solution versus the more traditional, dated experience of going to a bridal salon with your girlfriends. That’s not always possible when one person lives in Texas, the other in New York, and so on.”
Eventually, Moskal and Popvassilev plan to add bridal accessories, such as robes and silk embroidered bomber jackets, to their offering.
“The bride shouldn’t have to feel stressed out trying to dress six of her friends, and bridesmaids shouldn’t have to not feel like themselves on their best friend’s big day,” Moskal said. “You wouldn’t have to travel too far to find a bridesmaid horror story. We’re trying to fix that problem — to help a sister out.”