May 2008 Issue
Ohioan - Lora Van Lear
HOMETOWN: Born in Cincinnati, she lives in Centerville.
OCCUPATION: She’s a wedding dress and special events gown designer. She started her business in New York City in 1984 and opened Van Lear Bridals in Miamisburg almost two years ago.
HOW SHE GOT HER START: After changing her major in college from elementary education to fashion design, Van Lear participated in the University of Cincinnati’s co-op program. “One of my co-ops was in New York City and I fell in love with it. It kind of shaped my going into bridal because of all the beautiful laces and fabrics I saw.” After graduating from UC she moved to New York and began working in the fashion industry.
MOST GRATIFYING: “At one point I had a factory and employed 20 Spanish-speaking ladies. It was so rewarding to be able to give them good jobs and a place where they were happy to come to work.”
DESIGN ASPIRATION: “I would love to design a dress for Oprah Winfrey’s next fancy event. I admire all the good she does,” she say.
LOOKING FORWARD TO: “I want to continue to design one-of-a-kind dresses for women while keeping my manufacturing business going and my retail store healthy,” Van Lear says.
“I love what I do, and it’s so amazing when a woman puts on one of my dresses and says ‘Wow, I’ve never felt so beautiful.’”