Edith Élan is an indie bridal designer brand, but is it a real person?
This post was updated as of March 18, 2021.
When bridal designers Lourdes Castañeda and Gretchen Anderson started their company, the decision to start it was easy. Finding a name was the not as easy. In fact, the story of choosing a name is one filled with ups and downs. So how did the duo decide on “Edith Élan?” It is a very European-sounding name for an American brand after all.
The Journey to Create Edith Élan
“Which one of you is Edith?” As co-designers, that was one of the very first questions asked when meeting someone new. Simply put: neither. That is to say, neither Edith nor Élan were anywhere to be found in their names, nor were they family names. Now, for the short version of how the Edith Élan name came to be.
After weeks of debating, pages full of scribbles, hours of researching online, and multiple Skype conferences Lourdes and Gretchen had no decision. NOTHING! Call it writer’s block or call it designer’s block…it still meant the same thing: they were already designing their first collection for the (No Name) bridal brand. During one of their in-person meetings, they called for reinforcements. Enter their wonderful friend, Sam Crews, and of course… wine!
Brainstorming a Bridal Designer Brand Name
Once Sam (and wine) arrived, he helped the duo with brainstorming.
- Step 1: Describe your personal style and the style being conveyed in your designs: modern, vintage, unique, playful, feminine, effortless, styled, comfortable, chic, timeless, etc.
- Step 2: Create your “ideal client.”
- Step 3: List your favorite movies. (Selena was one of the first to be listed!)
- Step 4: The thesaurus!
What is élan?
At first, they used Scrabble letters in an attempt to create words from their initials to no avail. (They would like to buy several vowels, please!) Then, they realized that using their childhood street names was NOT going to work either. (“Poinsettia Rhododendron” …uh???) So, Sam started looking for synonyms from all of the words in their brainstorming lists. That’s when they discovered élan, which according to Google means:
élan (noun) energy, style, and enthusiasm. synonyms: flair, style, panache, confidence, dash, éclat; energy, vigor, vitality, liveliness, brio, esprit, animation, vivacity, zest, verve, spirit, pep, sparkle, enthusiasm, gusto, eagerness, feeling, fire; informal: pizzazz, zing, zip, vim, oomph
ÉLAN… IT’S PERFECT!!! It was love at first…listen.
Love and Heartbreak, and Love Again. Enter Edith.
After falling in love with élan, there was heartbreak. The heartbreak: another designer had already taken élan for their label. Back to the drawing board they went.
Several hours later, Lourdes and Gretchen were still in love with élan. They could find no substitute that came close. Then, Sam asked where the duo met while in school. Gretchen replied with, “Hayward Hall” – the building at Philadelphia University (now Thomas Jefferson University) that houses the Fashion Design program. Sam googled “Hayward Hall,” and wouldn’t you know that there was a woman named Edith Hayward Hall. She was a pretty incredible lady: one of the first women in archaeology, mother, museum curator, professor, and editor. A modern woman in an era gone by. In other words, while she had nothing to do with the world of fashion, she had élan for archaeology. And that’s when the idea to combine Ms. Hayward Hall’s first name with élan came to them. With some Scrabble letters in hand, Lourdes and Gretchen spelled out the name of their new indie bridal brand:
So, who is the bridal designer Edith Élan?
Edith Élan is not a real person. She’s an embodiment of who we are as a brand, and a reflection of our brides: strength, style, vivacity, and energy.
Want to know more about the company? Head to our “About” page.