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Barcelona: Leader of the Bridal Fashion Sector

7 June, 2013

Pronovias / Barcelona Bridal Week

It is estimated that one in every 10 brides in the world wears a wedding dress designed in Spain. This impressive figure is possible thanks to companies like Pronovias, Rosa Clará, Raimon Bundó, YolanCris, Jesús Peiró and Inmaculada García.

All of these companies, and many others with smaller production runs, have made Spain a market leader in the sector – an achievement recognised around the world and shown every year with the celebration of Barcelona Bridal Week.

According to the event’s organisers, Spain is home to about 700 companies devoted to bridal and First Communion fashion and evening wear, a sector employing approximately 13,000 people.


Bridal week

Barcelona Bridal Week is an annual event that celebrated its 23rd year in 2013.

Held again at the beginning of May,  Passarel·la Gaudí Núvies and  Saló Internacional NoviaEspaña drew in over 25,000 people between sector professionals and members of the general public.

Of the buyers who visited Barcelona to get a firsthand glimpse at what the upcoming season has to offer, 60% came from abroad.

Specifically, visitors from Russia, France, Germany, Portugal and Brazil, in that order, were the most interested in the designs created here.

About 43% of all Spanish exports in the bridal sector come from Catalonia, according to the latest data available from the Catalan Ministry of Business and Labour.

Sources in the sector confirm that Catalonia is an undeniable leader in the industry.


Around the world

In this respect, the fashion design firm Pronovias’ volume of production and exports is a phenomenal component of that position of leadership.

Pronovias’s roots can be traced back to the year 1922, when a family business  opened in Barcelona called “El Suizo”, selling silks, embroidered fabrics and blonde lace.

Ninety years on, that small shop has grown into a multinational company with over 185 stores, 3,800 points of sale and a presence in 90 countries.

The company’s centre of operations is located in El Prat del Llobregat, in a business park covering 55,000 square metres. It is there that they design 650 models of bridal and evening wear pieces and 2,000 accessories every year.

Pronovias takes advantage of Bridal Week to invite its most important clients from all over the world to Barcelona. And, as is now tradition, the week draws to a close with a party and fashion show that firmly establishes the solidity and uniqueness of this international firm.

This year, the catwalk was set up in the Oval Hall of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya to showcase the 2014 collection “First Love”. This is the first collection from the company’s new project “Atelier” Pronovias, which 1,800 guests got a chance to see at the event.

In addition to Pronovias, up to 16 brands took to the stage in Barcelona during Gaudí Núvies, many of them veteran design firms like Raimon Bundó and Victorio&Lucchino.

With two decades of experience, the organisers of Barcelona Bridal Week have decided to take the concept a step further and have committed to exporting the event to Colombia next year. Under the name Bogotá Bridal Week 2014, a similar event to the one held in the Catalan capital will take place in Bogotá and, according to the organisers, “it will act as a platform for promotion both in Latin America and the US.”


More than brides

Although Barcelona Bridal Week is certainly the best opportunity to see the latest bridal-wear trends, evening wear and First Communion designs have been taking on an increasingly larger role in the event. Of the 16 brands showing their collections, six either exclusively showed evening and party wear or included them among their collections.

“First Communion dresses are experiencing considerable and progressive growth. Right now they represent 10% of global volume in the sector,” say the organisers.

The gradual decline in marriage rates among young people compounded by today’s economic situation has led companies to diversify their product lines and focus on the evening and party-wear segment, and especially on exports to international markets.


Budgets and habits

A study conducted by the company Bodaclick using figures from the National Statistics Institute shows that 163,000 marriages were registered in 2011. This is 4% fewer than in 2010. The cost generated by these marriages would be about 23,000 Euros, although the average cost of religious ceremonies comes in a little higher, at 25,000 euros.

In about half of the weddings held, brides paid between 1,100 and 1,800 Euros for their dresses, although 31% said they would be willing to spend over 1,800 euros. At the lower end of the spectrum, about 20% of brides set aside less than a thousand euros for their dresses. This is according to Bodaclick study data based on a survey of a sample of 200 sector companies and information from the Spanish Ministry of Employment and the Office of Social Security.

In terms of purchasing habits, four out of five brides today prefer a specialised wedding store and only 12% choose a specific designer. Additionally, most brides visit between three and five establishments before choosing the dress they will wear on their big day.

These purchasing habits are carefully analysed by sector businesses who know that adapting to and, more importantly, anticipating market changes are top priorities.

A good example of this adaptation is the company Rosa Clará, which provides brides with online assistance to help them plan their weddings and organise all of their pre-wedding activities with practical advice and information through a mobile device app.

The company, which also offers a line of First Communion dresses, recognises that today’s climate makes taking its business international even more important. In keeping with what has become a tradition, Rosa Clará was in charge of opening this year’s Barcelona Bridal Week.

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