By Rebecca Omastiak
One-of-a-kind dress design is the basis of sisters Jenny Wroge and Mary Chalupsky's eight-year-old business, better known as JenMar Creations. Brides who have an image of a dress in mind can present photos of dresses that inspire them to Wroge and Chalupsky. The sisters will then create the aesthetic, either completely from scratch or from an existing dress's pattern.
They start with a basic dress and deconstruct it, removing details such as lace and beading. They work with the shell, combining elements from other dresses to create a unique design. JenMar Creations is an eco-friendly company in that the sisters re-use every part of the dresses they purchase. They visit wedding shops that are closing and scour dress racks for gently used or sample dresses. This form of dress revival allows Wroge and Chalupsky not ony to combine dress elements in a new creation, but also to feature expensive fabrics (such as silk) at prices that won't break the bride's bank.
JenMar Creations also custom designs bridesmaid dresses, flower girl dresses, and mother-of-the-bride dresses, expanding the one-of-a-kind theme beyond just the bride's dress. Both Wroge and Chalupsky were interested in sewing at a young age. Although Chalupsky's day job was with a school district, she pursued her interest by sewing on the side. Both agree JenMar Creations is a chance to do what they love. Chalupsky fondly recalls a project that she believes proves the value of wedding dress redesign: She created a dress in 1981 for a client and 20 years later, the client's daughter wanted a redesigned gown. Chalupsky used the original wedding dress to add details to a new dress for the daughter. These personal touches of combining past with present are what bring joy to JenMar's owners.
A two-week deadline to design dresses for a photo shoot also proved to be a memorable moment in Wroge and Chalupsky's careers. As the only custom design company involved in the shoot, the two wanted to showcase their distinctive designs. The sisters enjoy this challenge of their work. "It's always fun and never dull," Chalupsky says.