Nadia Williamson, Owner of NWLA & NWL Dresses
Nadia Williamson is a Canadian designer, an award-winning entrepreneur, a philanthropist and a romantic.
With an astounding eye for detail and a love of storytelling, Nadia began her career as a freelance costume designer in the Film and Television industry. At 19, mentored by some of Canada's most celebrated designers, she started as a buyer and five years later became the head of the department. From big screens at Cannes and TIFF to award-winning digital series and commercials, her work has now been seen around the world. She has dressed and worked side by side such notable stars as Ryan Reynolds, Anna Faris, Jeff Bridges, Jamie Fox, Maria Bello, Rufus Sewell as well as Kim Coates and Amy Matysio to name a few. In her late twenties, Nadia dove deeper into the world of fashion, took a break from Film and TV and graduated with a diploma in Fashion Design from Montreal’s Le Salle College. She continued to live and work in Montreal styling fashion and editorial shoots, sewing her own ready-to-wear line and dreaming her next move - which would be home.
Born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan, this prairie girl decided to move west and connect with her roots. In December 2005, Williamson opened NWL, a contemporary women’s dress boutique. She was quickly rewarded remarkable success through a dedicated work ethic, healthy business instinct and her magnetic and luminous personality. In 2009, as the business grew, Williamson moved the shop into the historic Leader Building in downtown Regina and became one of the most notable bridal boutiques in the province. Over the last decade, NWL provided her with opportunities to develop the community through her support of numerous local business’ and events, her work with youth, as well as her charitable involvement, which includes the co-creation of The ‘Champagne’ series: A Cause for Fashion (benefiting The Arthritis Society, The Heart and Stroke Foundation, The Multiple Sclerosis Society, and The Autism Resource Centre) and her most recent endevor, Build Love for Habitat for Humanity. Nadia received the YWCA’s Young Woman of Distinction Award, has sat on a profusion of boards and in 2015, was titled the fifth female Chair of the Regina Chamber of Commerce board.
When Nadia opened NWL, she had a small collection of wedding and cocktail dresses. 13 years later, NWL is not only thriving, Nadia has now helped over 10,000 brides prepare for their special day. An elegantly curated collection of bridal, cocktail and special occasion, Nadia is known for her impeccable taste, stunning selection and personal touch. The NWL experience is brought to life by a team dedicated to creating the best possible experience for every client.
In 2018, Nadia had her own special day and married the man of her dreams in Los Angeles. Continuing to make her mark in bridal and grow her business once again, NWLA will open its doors, allowing Nadia the opportunity to share her passion and expertise with brides in LA and beyond. Welcome to NWLA.
Debra Shirley, Bridal Consultant at NWLA
Debra Shirley is a creative Bridal Stylist with many years of hands-on experience. She is also a Headwear Designer specializing in custom Wedding Veils for Brides, and period replica hats for film, television, and stage productions. She first learned to sew at the early age of 9 on her Grandmother’s 1950’s Singer sewing machine. To Debra, there was something quite magical about that vintage machine. It possessed an allure that piqued her interest into bygone eras.
Ms. Shirley followed that interest, which quickly turned into passion, and focused her talents with the formal study of sewing, textiles, sketching, flat pattern and draping at Chicago’s Illinois Institute of the Arts. It was there, that she recognized her affinity for Millinery, as her natural abilities lent themselves beyond simply mastering the traditional techniques, but allowed her to create a high level of artistry, adding flair to each design.
Following her studies, Debra was hired by a small custom hat store with a Michigan Avenue address, called Glorious Hats. “My job was to trim fancy hats, for fancy ladies, which I would invariably do while the elderly owner of the shop cat napped through the afternoon”, says Shirley.
Debra’s career took off when she was hired by Chicago's prestigious Ultimate Bride to be their in-house Milliner and Bridal Stylist. It was there that she honed her talents for designing beautifully constructed, one-of-a-kind, Bridal creations. Over the course of her 20 plus years residency, she earned the reputation in the bridal community of possessing not only the most exquisite craftsmanship in her art, but also of mastering warm, intuitive people skills required when working closely with Brides in choosing their dream wedding gown, and accessories. “ I love to help create a complete, and polished wedding day ensemble, that not only makes each bride look beautiful, but -feel- beautiful”. -D.S.
Her success within the modern Bridal industry has not swayed her penchant for the past however, as she often references historical images for inspiration for her hat designs. Debra’s ability to painstaking recreate period design has led her involvement in numerous stage and screen productions. Debra’s Millinery designs have recently appeared in Showtime’s On Becoming a God in Central Florida, Goo Goo Doll’s “It’s Christmas All Over” Augmented Reality Movie, The Wendy Williams Show, and in period productions of “Hyde in Hollywood”, “Moon Over Buffalo”, “Five Woman Wearing The Same Dress”, and several productions at Chicago's Second City.
While most of Debra’s custom wedding veils have been seen atop countless Bride’s heads over the years, one was featured as the finale to “Crowing Glory”, an exhibition of multicultural hats and headpieces sponsored by The City of Chicago, and another was seen on the Oprah Winfrey Show, as part of a wedding fashion segment.
Debra has recently relocated from Chicago to Los Angeles and is very excited to be at NWLA. She hopes that her many years of bridal experience will add to the incredible reputation that Nadia Williamson has already established.