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Conversations with Melissa Bransom

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Bransom.

Hi Melissa, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
When I was eight, my parents started allowing us to spend time with our grandparents individually for 2-3 weeks at a time. There are three of us girls, and this was a special event to get alone time with anyone. During my turn, my grandmother started teaching me to sew. She made her clothes and clothing for all the grandkids. She was this amazing seamstress. She even made a homemade cabbage patch kid for me and all the clothes that she thought we would like for them. She was an award-winning quilter. And all around seam-queen. And I loved it.

As time progressed, it faded in and out of my “things to do when I’m bored” until I got heavily into sports through college. After that initial bout of college, I was a little lost. My friend group loved to go the Texas Renaissance Festival just north of Houston (where I lived at the time). And one visit, I decided I wanted garb to wear, as so many people do. I was a poor 20-something. So I revisited the idea of making my own garb. I still have a few pieces. I use them to gauge how far I’ve come in my skill set. But some of them make me giggle now that I know better.

I worked in media for a long time. But advertising is a hard taskmaster and I needed something else to do on the side. I started making corsets for myself and a few friends. Costumes for TRF, Scarborough Faire in Waxahachie, and was a vendor at a little faire outside of Tyler for a couple of years. Vending was an experience that taught me a lot – most especially about Rennies in and costume making. So my side gig was making costumes and I really wanted to make better costumes.

I had kids, twin boys to be precise in 2014. And something about having them pushed me more into making things. I wanted to make my “craft” better. To create fabric art. To make better corsets and the rest of the pieces that I wanted to make. So I decided to go back to school. I chose the Art Institute in Dallas and their fashion design program. I soaked it up. I got to do some really amazing things in school, like two exhibits for the Dallas Museum of Art. And learned how to make better costumes and even how to make better corsets.

I really learned how to trust myself. And trust myself with designing. If I have an idea, I may not get it the first time…but I WILL get it figured out. That was a strong lesson that I have taken into making more pieces as I graduated and moved into the business side of corset making.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Balancing twin boys, a marriage, a day job in advertising, and this passion gig is a circus of epic proportions. It’s hard. I don’t sleep a lot. I doubt myself daily. Doubt is an obstacle that often feels like a mountain. But taking that first step…and continuing to step makes all the difference.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I adore corsets. My canvas is essentially the corset. And turning them into something that is both practical, beautiful and functional.

My favorite work has been with ice dyeing. I love to take ice dyed pieces and turn them into corsets as the basis for a costume, a gown, a wedding dress, and everyday pieces. The idea that taking a piece of fabric that is white and turning it into a watercolor style piece of art, or taking a blindly created piece of fabric, because the lack of control with ice dyeing is something that we Type A personalities have difficulty with…the magic that comes from letting it go and then creating with whatever comes to be. It made me a better designer. It changed the way that I see fabric and how to create a cohesive piece with off the wall ideas.

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
I’m in the business of slow fashion. Each piece is made for the individual. The last two years have seen some difficult times with the pandemic and the halt of production around the world in fast fashion in general. Between that and climate change issues, I foresee slower fashion and a change in production habits. One shift is understanding that clothing shouldn’t be garbage. We should not be throwing away fabric. If it can no longer be used as is, can it be used in another way? It should be. Fabric should not be disposable. Synthetic fabrics have their place, however we’re seeing some lash back with people beginning to understand that polyester is a fossil fuel-driven textile. And that it shouldn’t continue to be used as it is and that it must be recycled and not thrown away – it will not break down.

Things need to change.

Pricing:

  • Underbust Corsets start at $289
  • Overbust Corsets start at $329
  • Neck Corsets start at $89
  • Ice Dyed Corsets start at $389

Contact Info:


Image Credits
Agnieszkam Photography King Meka Tamara Paskey

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