Designer Asha Ama Created Her Own Wedding Gown(s)—And Nine More Bridesmaids’ Dresses While She Was At It

When this up-and-coming designer couldn’t find her perfect wedding dress, she took matters into her own hands.
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If you already know Asha Ama’s name, it’s probably because you saw her provocative couture designs on Project Runway: Under the Gunn and Project Runway All Stars, where she competed as a finalist. But maybe you didn’t know that she has serious bridal chops too, working for a time in Marchesa’s Couture and Couture Bridal departments and seeing her own pieces on that world-renowned designer’s runways. She’s also taken on the most challenging, exacting wedding project possible: her own.

Asha Ama in her studio

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer


Ama was born and raised in Cincinnati, attending St. Ursula and then studying fashion design at the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). Her wedding to fellow DAAP student and Cincinnati native Allan Henderson took place at the Monastery Event Center (see it on page 76). The beautifully undone Mt. Adams sanctuary was a perfect background for Ama’s dramatic designs, which included a fully beaded gown for her ceremony, made from fabric that she scrupulously sourced from India. “Going through that whole process made me realize that there are other women just like me who have a flair for the dramatic,” Ama says.

“This is my ceremony gown,” Ama says. “I wanted something that would sparkle all over and really represent the moment that was happening. “

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer


“I made one design for the rest of the bridesmaids,” Ama says. “I wanted to show them off and give them something dramatic, so each dress had a train.”

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer


Ama was fully committed to the look of her wedding: She designed and sewed not one, but two dresses for herself, plus a whopping nine bridesmaids’ dresses and a flower girl dress. She name-checks Alexander McQueen and Iris van Herpen as her inspirations, and designs for women who don’t want to blend in. “My customer is a girl who sees life as an opportunity to make a statement every day,” Ama says. “And for her wedding day, she wants to be one-of-a-kind.”

“This was for my little sister, my maid-of-honor,” Ama explains. “She’s a really tall, beautiful girl with great curves, and I wanted her to stand out.”

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer


The flower girl dress

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer


Starting in the spring of 2017, that bride will be able to work with Ama directly to create her vision. Ama’s own gowns will form the main designs of a small collection, which brides can customize for their own looks. “I have a pretty personal relationship with many of my customers,” Ama says. “It’s more of a collaboration; I’m able to see the collection come to life.”

Ama and husband Allan Henderson

Photograph by Molly Grosse Photography


Ama with her wedding party

Photograph by Molly Grosse Photography


As for working with brides on their big day? “You’re always opening up the pages of your diary to someone who is trusting you with this big moment,” Ama says. “It’s scary and beautiful and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

ashaama.com

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