VWIDON was established by a husband and wife team Carla Hwang and Kenneth Park right after they graduated from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago in 1998. Its bridal line began with two simple charmeuse sheath dresses which followed by their first bridal collection in 2001. Carla’s approach to traditionally based hand-made couture tailoring teamed with Kenneth’s exploration of materials and a fresh, new approach to the pattern making have evolved into collections recognized by discerning brides who appreciate carefully measured lines of cuts and drapes rendered in exquisite fabrics available only from the top notch fabric mills in Italy and France.
VWIDON was recognized as a modern couture bridal line for style savvy brides, and has been featured in number of magazines such as In Style Magazine, Town and Country, Martha Stewart, Grace Ormond Wedding Style, Inside Weddings, The Knot Magazine, Brides, Modern Brides, Wedding Dresses, Wedding Bell, Destination Wedding, Chicago Magazine, Shops Chicago Magazine, Chicago Tribunes Magazine, Splash Chicago Sun Times Magazine, CS Chicago Social, Time Out, Ritz Carlton Wedding Magazine, Today‘s Chicago Woman, Style Me Pretty, Daily Candy, My Wedding Korea, Wedding 21 Korea, Haute Wedding Korea and many more.
Two collections are presented by Carla and Kenneth annually, and the dresses are available at VWIDON Bridal Boutique in Chicago as well as the finest partner bridal boutiques in New York, San Francisco, London, Seoul, Raleigh, etc.
Many people assume that Carla started her dream of becoming a fashion designer early in her life as many other fashion designers did, but she actually got into the SAIC to study Interior Architecture, the field she always had a major interest since she was very young. But then, at her second year, she saw an exhibition of the world of French haute couture and avant-garde clothing designs from Paris and Japan, which fascinated her so much that she switched her major to the fashion design without any hesitance. She found fashion as a wearable architecture on a body as her favorite maestro, Christian Dior once said “The dress is an ephemeral piece of architecture designed to enhance the proportions of the female body.” Throughout the school’s fashion program at SAIC, she had won numbers of major awards and scholarships from fashion department and undergraduate department including a full scholarship from the Sage Foundation. After graduated from the school as a top student, instead of flying to New York to have job interviews, she decided to remain in Chicago and started making her own designs. In the summer of 1997, she finished her very first ready to wear collection at her tiny studio and showed them at a hip local boutique with few other Chicago based designers. Among the collection, off white bias-cut silk charmeuse sheath dresses were loved by brides who had hard time finding nicely designed simple dresses for their weddings. In 1998, Carla teamed with Kenneth and launched VWIDON partnership.
Kenneth came to the US to study painting and build his career as an artist after graduating from Korea University in Seoul with English Language & Literature major. He entered the SAIC to study Fine Art, and it was his junior year when he met Carla who was in her senior year. He gradually exposed to garment making and started to be fascinated by its working process. At SAIC he was still focusing on painting with receiving Awards of Excellence at the Northern National Art Competition as one of two first places, but, after he graduated from the school, he decided to join Carla to build an independent fashion design team instead of going into a graduate school in painting he initially planned when he came to Chicago. His self taught skills in pattern making, visualizing 2D to 3D and his sensitivity in fine art collaborated with Carla’s obsession in haute couture and avant-garde clothing designs, and the independent modern couture house began in Chicago. With their endless devotion to create new styles each season, Carla stays in the front line closely with VWIDON brides while Kenneth stays in the back to manage the business. In 2010, Carla & Kenneth were named as the winner of Fashion Next held by Chicago History Museum, and the design has been exhibited with the works of legendary designers such as Jeanne Lanvin, Arnold Scaasi, Hubert de Givenchy and Christian Dior at the museum’s special exhibition ‘I do! Chicago Ties the Knot’. After the exhibition, the museum decided to include the dress in their permanent collection.
Designer showroom & family
At VWIDON Bridal Boutique, designers, staff and average 30-plus-year skilled seamstresses are working hard for every bride who visits their showroom/atelier. Carla & Kenneth live closely to their work with two daughters who spend most of their free time crafting and an old beagle who spends most of her time napping at the studio.