Hello Darlings! I’m so excited you have decided to get to know me! I’m sure you will like what I want to tell you! READY?!
My name is Merike Laigna and I have been sewing and designing since I was a little girl under my talented and classy grandmother, dressmaker, personal coach, guide, influencer, The Lady in Red, Salme Glasberg, hence the name of ‘Merike Klaas’.
I grew up sifting through the pattern books that were laying around in my granny’s home studio and being in awe about the stunning styles and colourful printed fabrics, witnessing the pretty ladies who come and go and loving every moment of the hussle and excitement of the dress fittings. I knew that this was my destiny; to design and create. I feel the feeling of my clients’ ideas, visions and dreams. And, like a magician, I make it appear…. inserting my love, passion and talent into every stitch of my creations.
I want my clients to know that the garments they wear, are authentic and personally made by the very hands of the designer. I want my designs to evoke feelings of beauty, empowerment and confidence.
I was born in Estonia in a small northern town called Rakvere. At age 16, immediately after the middle school graduation, I applied at the specialized technical high-school in Tallinn. In 1985 I graduated with honors and acquired a diploma in tailoring and footwear design.
Life sent love my way and I became a stay-at-home mom and wife at age 19. The year of 1988 was truly the beginning of my hands-on designer journey. With plenty of time at hand, I kept my sewing machine busy and spent most of my time creating every imaginable piece of clothing for my family and friends.
In 1990, political necessity took myself and my family of 4 to Italy. For a year and a half, I had an opportunity to live and work in Rome, absorbing the beauty of fine fashion, design and fabrics. I had an exceptional chance to hone my sewing and language skills by working as an in-house dressmaker and helper for the wealthy Molinario family.
In late 1991, a unique immigration opportunity landed me in Toronto, Canada, where I immediately found a job in the fashion district. After a short period of time, I met Carol Beckford, a wonderful young designer. She was searching for an ambitious seamstress with a European dressmaking background to assist her in managing ‘Studio A’, an haute-couture clothing boutique on Avenue Road and St. Clair Avenue West area. For 8 successful years I was in charge of creating countless custom made outfits for demanding Forest Hill neighborhood clientele, participated in numerous fashion shows and was modelling Carol’s designs at Breakfast Television.
As time passed, I started developing interest in creating one-of-a-kind wedding and evening gowns. An opportunity to get closer to my dream opened up, when I was offered a manager position in the Bridal Boutique at The Hudson’s Bay Company flagship store on Queen Street. This experience matched me up with many interesting individuals and gave me more direction and inspiration to explore another one of my passions…costume making!
2002 was a turning point again, when Jeffery Bridal opened its doors in Hamilton, Ontario. I was offered an in-house wedding gown designer position that I accepted with excitement. All my energy, ambition and experience rendered the ground work to become an essential partner and creative director to stand behind and on behalf of the newest bridal shop operations. As a logical continuation to pursue my dreams, I became the new owner of Jeffery Bridal by Merike in
My designs are for the clients who equally desire classic and trendy, or may have fantasies or whimsical desires for that special outfit. My clientele trust my expertise and appreciate the quality, longevity and value of custom couture garments.
So my darlings… go ahead and have that classy business suit, glamorous evening or bridal dress, show stopping pageantry or performance gown or even that crazy cosplay costume custom made!! I would be only too excited and honoured to be the Creator of your clothing that is made with love, talent, patience and skill you can trust.
“Sometimes I feel like a wizard.”
544 Upper James Street, Hamilton, Ontario L9C 2Y4, Canada
Custom Designs – By Appointment Only