By Angela McAdrian
Bridget is an L.A-based fashion designer who’s come a long way. Bridget began designing in Chicago before being given the opportunity to work in Las Vegas for Zappos. Her new line,launched in 2015, is a seasonless boutique resort wear collection. BOMBORA is a merge of love for everything Aloha and the Golden Age of Hollywood.
1.) What inspired the BOMBORA line?
I woke up one day and was like, “who am I?” And at the root of everything, I just wanted to be happy. I launched BOMBORA | BOMBORA in 2015 focusing on swimwear but had to put it on hold as the timing was just awful. After being laid off and moving from job to job, I decided to put it on hold so I could focus on my costume work and my move to LA. I think turning 30 and going through some major personal struggles, I really just wanted to focus on building a fashion brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I mean, have you ever seen someone with a Hawaiian shirt on who wasn’t having fun? No. Its not possible. That really is the core of the brand.
Moving to Vegas, I became obsessed with Tiki Culture thanks to Frankies Tiki Room and after living in LA for over a year, my obsession inspired the relaunch. I really felt like there was a void in the market for someone who wanted one-of-a-kind resort wear that was inspired by the past but with a modern twist. We definitely are not a fast fashion pin-up brand. But we also are not a fashion brand that takes itself too seriously. BOMBORA is focused on building special pieces that are seasonless with only limited quantities available. Right now we are completely cut to order and do not hold any inventory. This allows me to have little overhead and stay as lean as possible while constantly bringing in newness.
2.) What first inspired your interest in fashion?
Some of my first memories were going through my Grandma Trudies closet and playing dress up. From an early age, I became obsessed with her coordinating outfits, perfect hair, and makeup. No matter where she was going, she always looked flawless. She truly inspired my interest in fashion as well as the overall styling and look of BOMBORA.
3.) How is it working now in Los Angeles and can you tell us about your transition from working in Chicago to Vegas and now L.A?
LA has been amazing. It truly is the place to follow your dreams. I moved here over a year ago to focus on my costume work and explore the entertainment industry as most of my work in Vegas was primarily live stage performance and dance. Since moving out here, I really pushed myself to try a bit of everything and am thankful for that. I’ve certainly had a lot of firsts — working in theatre for the first time, to designing my first music video — a zombie short, and a few crazy circus shows but I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I think one of the great things about living in LA is the ability to work in both costume and fashion. Living in Vegas, that’s almost impossible as there isn’t enough fashion work out there and Chicago is all about independent designers which I love but its hard to bounce between both. I graduated in 2010 with a BFA in Art & Design with a focus on Fashion Design. While in school, I worked for a few local boutiques, interned for some of the bigger apparel designers in the city, and even interned on a TV show. After graduation, I had a hard time finding full-time design work in the city as some of the designers I had worked for were already out of business or in no position to hire full-time assistants. I was interviewing for jobs in NYC but because I didn’t live out there, I was lucky to even get a response back.
Frustrated while working at Nordstrom, I applied to Zappos on a whim. First, as a stylist, and then as a merchandise assistant. I had been a customer and fan of theirs for a while and was curious about learning more about merchandising and the business side of fashion. I heard back a few days later and immediately started interviewing. The interview process took over 2 months and once I was hired, I had a little less than two weeks to relocate. I was so excited. I have to say leaving the midwest, my home for 23 years, was the best decision I’ve made professionally and personally. Very difficult at first —and still is— being so far away from my family, but it had to happen. I’ve been fortunate to have met and worked with some of the most talented people in both industries and am very grateful for that.
4.) What’s your favorite thing to read on a lazy summer day?
Right now I am reading The Aloha Shirt: Spirit of The Islands and Aloha Style. Lately, I’ve been really immersing myself into the history of the Aloha shirt. Highly recommend both. They’ve been great additions to my research library! I do love a good graphic novel. Swamp Thing will always be my favorite. I’ve always been drawn to the artwork and this story about a humanoid plant creature. I find it fascinating!
5.) Is there a certain feeling you are looking to invoke in those whom wear your fashion designs?
When someone puts on the classic Aloha shirt, there is this psychology where they not only feel better, but people really notice what they are wearing. The Aloha spirit and tropical wear is powerful. I wanted to create a brand that made people happy. I just got back from a family vacation and there were more than a few couples in matching Aloha shirts and it just makes me smile. This is what motivates me. Creating a brand that is focused on this idea of always being on vacation. And, it truly is hard to find well-made,fashionable, yet one-of-a-kind resort wear that is focused on great fitting pieces for women. The Aloha shirt business is heavily saturated with menswear but not many fashionable options for women. This void in the marketplace is what keeps me going. I love a good vintage tiki shirt but half the time, its mens and the fit is just not right.
6.) Besides fashion,what else do you love?
I love costumes. I love going into the studios and costume shops here in LA and just walking down the aisles and inspecting all the costumes. I could spend hours looking at the construction, admiring the embellishments, and fabric choices. I often feel like I’m living in the wrong time. Maybe I was a showgirl or an old Hollywood actress—I just love playing dress-up. When I’m not playing dress up, you can usually find me at a show. I love music. Something that really inspires me in my work and keeps me going during the day ,is having grown up in the Chicago area and having a Dad that’s too cool for school. I grew up surrounded by music and am grateful for that. I love KCRW and their show Morning Becomes Eclectic. I literally listen to it every morning! I could not imagine my mornings without Jason Bentley. My dad just got me into this amazing music blog Aquarium Drunkard and I have been listening to it quite a bit on Sirius XM these days. It’s mainly eclectic unheard of music. It’s totally a gem and current obsession!
7.) What are some upcoming things for you and your line?
Since we are seasonless and focused on releasing new pieces every month, we are working on some big pop-ups over the next couple of months at events in LA, Vegas and Chicago. We are trying to really grow our audience. There, I will be selling some more one-of-a-kind pieces made of vintage fabric and recycled tropical garments and I am really excited about this! And, although our focus is on women’s, I will be releasing some mens styles in limited quantities as well.
8.) Any favorite fashion tips you’d like to share with our readers?
I think the biggest thing is just being confident. I don’t believe in rules. My personal style totally reflects how I am feeling in the morning. I have a pretty big vintage collection so if I am feeling like a 50s housewife with a 90s twist I will make it happen. My closet is filled with color, bold prints and one-of-a-kind pieces I’ve collected over the years.
9.) What are some of the barriers you have faced in your career and how have you handled them?
Before I moved to LA, I was really deterred from exploring my love for costume, as some felt that would hurt my fashion portfolio. And, I couldn’t disagree more. Bombora is inspired by both industries and I really feel like the line between them is thinning. Of course, the purpose,intention, and industries are vastly different. I absolutely would not disagree with that but I am inspired by both and think I’ve been lucky to express myself creatively in both industries over the last 6 years. At the end of the day, I truly feel its only made me a stronger designer.
Photos by Laura Pardo Photography
Main Photo:Designer Bridget Dickey
Lookbook Photos: Model YueYao Li
Makeup artist:Elena Nicole Lavache