Bree Wilkins is the 25-year-old fashion designer behind Bree Lena, a clothing line full of glam gowns, sparkly skirts and striking tops.
The Orem native first discovered her love for fashion in elementary school. When she outgrew her favorite dress, she didn’t send it to Deseret Industries. Instead, Bree and her mom made it into a top and a skirt. That initial outfit sparked an interest that would become Bree’s lifelong passion.
As a student at Orem High School, Bree and her mom started making all of Bree’s dresses for school dances. When Bree’s vision wasn’t matched by a dress pattern, they dreamed up their own design.
“We definitely had trial and error moments,” Bree says. “But we always figured it out somehow.”
Bree also honed her sewing skills with her favorite teacher, Mrs. Gillette. During her senior year Bree had a free class period that she spent in the sewing room working on her prom dress.
After graduation, Bree packed her bags and headed to the world-famous Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. She spent long days in the city and did her sewing homework at night.
She knew style and skills wouldn’t be enough to fulfill her fashion aspirations — she needed business savvy to match. So she stitched together more education by earning a business management marketing degree from BYU.
“My dad is a business person, and he always encouraged me to develop that part of myself as well,” Bree says.
When it came time for Bree to wear a wedding dress, she took matters and patterns in her own hands. The bottom portion of her wedding dress was a sequin J. Crew piece she personalized with hand-sewn chiffon and organza flowers. The bodice was an intricate design she crafted completely on her own. More than 250 hours of labor and 3,000 beads later, her dream dress came to life!
Belle of the Ball
Bree created two collections for Provo Spring Fashion Week 2015 — a ready to wear collection and a bridal collection. This stunning ball gown was one of her bridal pieces.
“I love the use of color in bridal wear so I thought having a bold blush and copper gown would be super fun,” she says. “The majority of my bridal collection has sleek, elegant, sophisticated silhouettes so adding a tulle ball gown provided variety and dimension to the collection as a whole.”
From the wedding aisle to the runway, Bree’s personal style and design aesthetic are one and the same — she loves glitter fabrics, beading detail, feminine silhouettes and riffs on floral fabric.
She put together her first complete collection for a BYU fashion show in 2013. Then, Provo Fashion Week was created and she began showing her pieces there as well. This year, she is producing the event along with Natalie Workman and Janay Robison.
“We have so many great designers here in Utah County, and with Provo Fashion Week we finally have an outlet to share our work,” Bree says.
But Bree Lena’s sparkle has caught the eye of fashion fiends far beyond Provo. In addition to creating custom designs for clients, she sells pieces on her website breelena.com. Her most popular selling item to date is her sequin maxi skirt, which has a life of its own on Pinterest.
“I’ve shipped that skirt everywhere!” she says. “We have had orders from Greece, Australia and London.”
Bree focuses on design and pattern making while her mom, Gwen Woolstenhulme, does most of the sewing. All the pieces sold online are semi-custom. Instead of picking a dress size, customers send in their measurements and receive an item tailored to their body.
Talk about a seam come true.
As for the future? Bree plans to work for an established design house in New York to gain experience while expanding her own line.
This golden girl in her 20s clearly has a sparkly future.