From 100 finalists, Etsy has chosen the winners in its fourth annual Etsy Design Awards—the global award program that honours the highest-quality items on Etsy while spotlighting some of the most creative up-and-comers from around the world. This year, Etsy partnered with The Expert and their renowned designers, including Jenna Lyons, Brigette Romanek, Jake Arnold, and dozens more, helped handpick with the winners alongside Etsy Trend Expert, Dayna Isom Johnson. This year’s Weddings & Celebrations category winner, Fern & Moon, hails from Vancouver, and we chatted with its founders to learn more! —Noa Nichol
Hello Fern & Moon! Please tell us a bit about yourselves to start.
Hello! We are Fern & Moon, a modular bridal company run by best friends Kare and Keira. We create mix and match designs so customers can build a look that works for them. The idea for Fern & Moon started when Kare got married. She couldn’t find an outfit that matched her style, values, and price point, so she started to think up ways to reinvent the wedding dress. The idea became a business when Keira crashed Kare’s honeymoon to Rome (best trip ever, absolutely crash your friend’s romantic getaway). On a walk back from the Vatican we talked about creating a company that would provide people with an alternative to traditional bridal. Maybe it was all the pasta and wine, but that foundation has fuelled us to this day, and we are proud to create pieces that nurture self-expression and support our local community.
Congrats on being named an Etsy Design Awards winner! How does it feel?
We are so excited! It’s surreal to have our work recognized, and we are grateful to Etsy and the panel of judges for not only appreciating our design but understanding our goals with the pieces and the ethos behind our company. It means so much to us that Fern & Moon resonates with people, we’ll have to bottle this feeling!
What item helped you to win this prize, and why?
Our Rowen bodysuit and Bianca skirt listing started all of this. They’re one of our most loved combinations. When worn together these pieces create a flowing a-line gown with a plunging v-neckline and low back. Separately though, they can be worn again for life after the wedding! Pair the bodysuit with jeans on your honeymoon, or hem the skirt into a ’60s-style mini and wear it out on your anniversary. The versatility of these pieces is what makes them so special. They’re designed to work overtime, so the bodysuit is made from a bridal stretch crepe that hugs and holds, much like your favourite leggings! The skirt features a contoured waistband, which means it naturally forms around your unique shape. Because these pieces are separates, shoppers can select their size top and bottom, which helps those of us who aren’t a uniform size get the best fit. Kind of like a mix and match bikini!
What’s the ethos behind your brand? What do you offer, and what makes those offerings unique?
We are a slow-fashion company looking to encourage ethical self-expression through design. All items are made to order in Vancouver Canada, and the leftover fabric is used to make scrunchies and fabric appliques, reducing fashion waste. Outfits can be layered with modular add-ons for the maximalist, or paired down for the elegant minimalist. This means shoppers can build an outfit that fits their style and budget. Mix and match design also reduces the need for alterations, making it easier for shoppers to confidently purchase pieces online. For people in remote communities, this can mean access to designs that aren’t readily available where they live. So much work goes into a piece of clothing, and so much expense goes into a wedding. We love to hear customers share how they have worn their pieces again after their celebration. It means one more step away from one-use items and fast fashion, and one more step toward meaningful design.
Why sell on Etsy? What are the benefits of the platform for makers?
Etsy has been the best source for finding like-minded people! The Etsy shopper wants to support a small business, appreciates speaking directly to the maker, and is often looking for something they can’t readily find elsewhere. Etsy has done a brilliant job building trust in its platform and supporting the people who sell there. For us, that means much of the work has already been done, which is so helpful when you are growing a business. We can reach our audience all over the world because they are visiting Etsy looking for shops like ours. A memorable moment from the last year was selling to a bride in New Zealand. She had been searching for something local, and when she couldn’t find it, she went on Etsy. We might be continents apart, but she felt like she was a friend from down the road. It’s incredible to us that someone in New Zealand would even come across our shop, but Etsy brings us all a little closer. We’re floored by the people we meet, and feel so lucky to work in a space with incredible makers, customers, and support teams.