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Move over Vera Wang, here comes Lalagen — the little-known company behind the most coveted wedding dress on Amazon.
With wedding season around the corner, brides in search of the perfect gown may be wondering how Lalagen — an obscure dressmaker from China — has managed to produce the e-commerce giant’s No. 1 selling bridal gown for just $43.
The average US wedding dress costs $1,500, according to Vows magazine. And even brides looking for something less formal than a gown can expect to pay between $500 and $600, the bridal trade publication says.
The Lalagen dress, meanwhile, has received rave reviews — 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon by more than 4,800 buyers — for less than the price of a pair of designer jeans.
Apparel executives attribute the Lalagen’s bottom-basement price to its fuss-free business model, which appears to involve little to no expenses aside from its manufacturing costs.
Lalagen is based out of China’s low-cost Fujian province and sells its product directly to consumers online instead of in stores. Its Web site suggests minimal marketing costs, and even its manufacturing costs appear lower than normal thanks to tricks of the trade, including making its dress from a stretchy fabric that works on a wide range of body types, experts said.
“It’s extremely inexpensive and also very attractive and well-designed,” Jamie Gorman, president of Only Nine Apparel, a plus-sized designer and manufacturer.
Gorman estimates that the China-based company spends between $16 and $17 a pop to make the intricately detailed dresses, in part by saving money on the lace, which appears to be machine-made from polyester instead of nylon.
“Poly is rougher and it looks like they lined only half of the dress, which saves money as well,” Gorman noted. “It’s a very good price for the construction of the garment with the scalloped trim and long sleeves.”
Adding to the cost savings, said Valerie Cooper, chief executive of Heart-Hunters Consulting, an apparel production firm, is the fact that the dress only comes in three sizes: small, medium and large.
“They don’t have to cut as many sizes because the fabric has some stretch to it,” Cooper said. A more expensive wedding dress, by contrast, would have “boning” in the bust and “corseting,” she said.
Cooper estimates that each Lalagen dress takes between 20 minutes and 45 minutes to make from start to finish, depending on how much machine automation the factory is using.
The Lalagen gown also comes with a zipper in the back, which experts estimate cost the maker about 15 cents a pop, instead of the costly buttons found on many other wedding dresses. And while the dress is lined, it’s only done for half the gown from the bodice to the knee.
While the majority of buyers raved about the gown online, a small percentage of reviewers gave it poor marks. Some buyers complained that the zipper malfunctioned while others griped that the gown they received was not exactly like the one they saw in the photo.
“I was so excited for this dress and was planning to wear it to a wedding. The fit was great but the dress I received had an entirely different neck line and lace,” one disappointed reviewer said.
But Vows magazine founder and publisher Peter Grimes says some quality must be sacrificed to keep the price low. In the case of the Lalagen gown, Grimes noted that the “neckline, hemline and sleeves have simple edging and lack sophistication.”
Jan Buehring, production manager for Intrepid Sourcing, agreed. While he called the Lalagen dress “a clever but simple design,” he noted that the “fabric seems to be at the lower end.”
“The reviews say it feels quite thin, but people are probably happy with it because they don’t wear and wash it often. We would guess that this dress wouldn’t survive” too many washings,” Buhring said.
Lalagen didn’t respond for comment. Amazon did not respond to calls for comment.
According to its Web site, Lalagen was founded 20 years ago by a fashion designer mother who “appreciates style and true value,” especially for women who have gained weight after giving birth.
“Our designer is a mom, she really understanding (sic) become (sic) fat after delivering a baby, so she designed a comfortable fit, the most fashionable clothes to fit herself, all mommy and all plus size (sic) women,” the Web site says.
Lalagen acquired a US trademark for bags and umbrellas in 2016, records show. It now also sells swimsuits and casual wear, and has sold products to Walmart, Sears and Overstock, which currently list its apparel as “out of stock.”
Its mermaid-style wedding dress was introduced in 2018 at the even lower cost of $30.99, according to James Thomson of Buy Box Experts, a consulting firm to Amazon sellers. The dress has “steadily gone up in pricing as its popularity has increased,” Thomson added.
“Amazon loves having these sorts of brands, as they bring low prices to Amazon customers,” Thomson said.
And that’s likely another reason for the gown’s success. Amazon isn’t exactly known for its wedding gowns, which helps narrow down the competition.
Brides-to-be won’t find Oscar de la Renta or Marchesa Bridal gowns on Amazon. And while Jeff Bezos’ Web portal sells some Vera Wang dresses, it doesn’t sell her wedding gowns, which can cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars.
But with many couples stretched thin financially as a result of the pandemic, the Lalagen gown is taking the internet by storm. It doesn’t hurt that many weddings are now required to be smaller, which has couples focused more on the photo op, where intricate details like the quality of the lace on the dress are less important.
And as The Post previously reported, customers can’t stop raving about it.
“It gives you that curvy look,” Rekel Alamoudi, 37, told The Post last month. “The dress cinched in my waist, and it’s stretchy in the right places.”
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