Creating dream designs

Her gown for TV’s ‘Wedding Bashers’ was hand-stitched to perfection

Creativity, hard work, long hours and, above all, a burning passion for her craft – this is what it takes to be the owner and founder of CAN Couture, according to Caileigh Lutge, who started her then small business from home more than six years ago.

Recently wowing the bashers on Season two of popular South African TV series, The Wedding Bashers, one of Lutge’s elegant designs got heads turning as bride Megan Sharrock walked down the isle.

With lace embellishments, a low back and a trailing 2m-long lace embossed train, Megan’s mermaid-cut wedding gown was hand- stitched to perfection, fitting her like a glove, and according to Lutge, when it comes to a wedding dress, or garments of any kind, it’s all about making women feel comfortable and confident.

“If a bride isn’t comfortable, it ruins her whole day. The most important thing for me is that women feel and look beautiful in their clothes or gowns. I love finding the exact right fit and style to complement their figures,” said Lutge, who graduated top of her class with a diploma in fashion design from Nelson Mandela University in 2009.

“Often brides come to me and have a picture of what they want.

“It’s my job to make their vision come alive, but it’s also my job to make sure they are comfortable and confident in their dress and to create something that is flattering for each individual’s body shape.”

While being part of The Wedding Bashers season two winning wedding was a proud moment for Lutge, she said she had no doubt the Sharrocks were the one’s to beat.

“I was definitely overwhelmed and so proud to have played a part in Jason and Megan’s wedding, but I knew they would win once they reached the top five – East London weddings are just the best and they were the most fun-loving and amazing couple,” she said.

“Megan was such a lovely bride to work with and it was a pleasure to make her dress. Placing all the lace motives was my favourite part – it was very intricate and took so many hours but the end result was worth it.”

Hoping to make the world a brighter place, one dress at a time, Lutge prides herself on fresh, fun, and flattering designs.

I was definitely overwhelmed and so proud to have played a part in Jason and Megan’s wedding, but I knew they would win once they reached the top five – East London weddings are just the best and they were the most fun-loving and amazing couple.

“It’s extremely rewarding when you see how happy women are in the garment you’ve created. That’s what I love about my job – making people happy and just making them feel amazing,” said Lutge, who discovered her love for fashion after a friend took her to sewing lessons in Grade 8.

Designing, sewing and creating gowns ever since, Lutge officially opened CAN Couture in 2013, and her first range was a mommy and me-inspired set of outfits.

Since then, the charming boutique has had various homes, but it is currently situated in Nahoon, where Lutge has renovated a home into the colourful, sophisticated and welcoming House of CAN.

The business specialises in women’s everyday wear, mother of the bride, bridesmaids and flower girl garments, but Lutge said that she has recently fallen in love with designing and making wedding dresses.

“When brides can’t find their perfect dress, it’s so much fun creating their dream wedding gown for them – each one is so unique and I absolutely love working with brides to create that custom, one-of-a-kind piece for their special day,” said Lutge, who attributes her creative spark to her ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

“I’m highly ADHD, and it’s quite challenging, but I think that’s where my creativity comes from – I’m such an excitable person and when I get an idea for a garment, I just want to make it straight away and the ideas just keep coming.”

From sewing and selling garments out of her garage to creating timeless gowns, sequined frocks and fashionable women’s day wear, Lutge has let her passion, for people, for fashion and for making women feel and look good, guide her throughout this journey.

“We’ve grown so much over the last year and it’s taken a lot of long hours and hard work, but I have an amazing, reliable and dedicated team behind me. I’m so passionate about what I do and I just love coming to work every day,” she said.

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