Muna Coterie member Fashion Designer Danielle Drake of Danielle Parish Drake Bridal, LLC is making a difference through Faith and Fashion.
Since childhood, Danielle Drake knew Faith and Fashion were going to play a significant role in her life. Born in San Pablo at Riverside Hospital and raised in Richmond, California, she grew up in a multicultural household with Christian beliefs based in the Apostolic Overcoming Holiness church.
“My father is Black and my mother is Filipina,” Danielle shares, “and as a Preacher’s Kid with roots in a strong cultural upbringing, I am very much Black, very much Filipina, and very much a person of Faith.”
At four years old, her family moved to Hawaii to live with her grandparents on Oahu in Wahiawa. Danielle recalls, “It was the quintessential Pinay home with rice, chicken adobo, Ilocano, and lumpia roll learning.”
Danielle’s earliest memories of fashion design started in her grandparent’s home.
Since I was a child I’ve always wanted to be a fashion designer. When I was really young I used to draw clothing designs on my grandmother’s kitchen table.– Danielle Drake | Danielle Parish Drake Bridal
While fashion design was always her dream, Danielle’s journey into the fashion industry was not a direct path.
In college, she graduated from USC with a BA in Political Science and planned to go on to Seminary School and Fashion Design School simultaneously. Instead, she settled on moving to New York and attended Union Theological Seminary.
Luckily, the Big Apple proved to be the city of opportunity. She was able to take a few classes on the side at the Fashion Institute of Technology-NY. She also interned with a talented Senegalese tailor in Harlem. Reminiscing on her time in New York, she shares, “I got to work and watch Fashion Shows at New York Fashion Week.”
It was a taste of her fashion-designing dreams, but she wasn’t quite ready to lean into her passion fully. After graduating from Seminary School with her M.Div., Danielle became a Hospice Chaplain and Bereavement Coordinator. She married, was blessed with two beautiful children, and was living a life rooted in faith. Her fashion design dream lived quietly in the background.
In 2020, the pandemic changed everything. For Danielle, it was a wake-up call.
The pandemic was the catalyst for starting our Bridal line. I thought in my mind morbidly, “If I were to die tomorrow, what am I supposed to be doing?” I knew I had to take Fashion seriously.– Danielle Drake | Danielle Parish Drake Bridal
During the pandemic, Danielle was actually already designing her own bridal gown for her vow renewal. So, she figured why not create more gowns inspired by other strong women in her life?
At that moment, for the first time in her life, Danielle decided to pursue her fashion design dreams seriously. She set out to create what would be her first-ever bridal collection: “Inspirational Women.”
Today, Danielle is the Founder and Creative Director of Danielle Parish Drake Bridal.
Based out of La Puente, CA, her ethical brand combines Faith and Fashion in one. With every sale, 10% of proceeds go to help Hope For Children’s Ministry in Zimbabwe and to support Domestic Violence survivors.
Danielle’s brand is also helping make a global impact. Through her partnership with Chika’s Closet (an African Day Wear Fashion label owned by Onleilove Alston, a friend she met in Seminary School), Danielle Parish Drake Bridal is able to work with talented tailors and dressmakers all the way in Lagos, Nigeria.
Ultimately, Danielle’s unique melding of Faith and Fashion is what sets Danielle Parish Drake Bridal apart from other brands. Her company’s ethical mission is truly inspiring. By supporting Danielle Parish Drake Bridal, you can feel good, look good, and make a difference on your special day.
Keep reading below for our exclusive interview with Danielle Drake on her journey into the Fashion Industry. She also shares some exciting updates, including her new wedding venue, The Garden of Aloha (opening in Hawaii this year!), and her Joyful Wives, Joyful Lives Retreat in Hawaii from November 29th to December 2nd, 2023!
- Brand: Danielle Parish Drake Bridal, LLC
- Owner/Designer: Danielle Drake
- Blog Series: Behind The Brand
How have you overcome adversity and why did you decide to rejoin the Muna Coterie?
The first two years as a business of color can be difficult in formulating a consistent plan and to have growth. Additionally, life can give you lemons and you have to make lemonade. That was just 2022.
Two weeks from closing on our home in La Puente, CA (Los Angeles County), my daughter and I were in a major car accident. We could have been taken out, but I knew it was a tactic of the enemy to keep us from rejoicing in our blessing.
Sunshine and rain go hand-in-hand, and you can’t have one without the other. The same for joy, you don’t know what it is unless you experience the complete opposite.– Danielle Drake | Danielle Parish Drake Bridal
But that incident made me go harder in the direction I felt God was leading. And after the hospice I worked with closed down, I was committed to going full-time in our business. My husband and I partner in Danielle Parish Drake Bridal and sometimes I think he believes in our success more than I do. He helps me with my self-confidence.
For the rest of the year and into the beginning of 2023, we took a much-needed Sabbatical. We are expanding into Hawaii retreats for wives and Brides-to-be and hosting a wedding venue in Oahu, HI where I was raised.
So, with this new growth, expansion, and healing, we are ready to push again, hence our rejoining the Coterie.
How has your passion for God and Fashion influenced your company today?
My dad was a teaching pastor and I would sit on his every word. I’m a daddy’s girl through and through. I almost became a minister because I guess I wanted to be like him so much, but his teaching of “Loving God” inspired my close walk with the Lord. So I have to include Christ in everything!! LOL. But honestly, that’s where all my resources come from.
My ethical fashion inspiration comes from the time I was living in New York and working during New York Fashion Week.
There was this luxury sports clothing store across from the big white tent. One day, I walked into that store and I saw those “Be the Change” TOMS shoes. That was it!! I knew if I was going to have a Fashion label I would have to use a portion of the proceeds to help others in need. So that was the blending of my faith and justice work with Fashion.
Additionally, God gives you talent. You are purposed to use it and use it to glorify God. So, I knew that if I stayed true to myself and my convictions God would make space for me. Additionally, he would also bring people into my life to help me.
I couldn’t have founded Danielle Parish Drake Bridal without Onleilove Alston, a friend I met in Seminary school in New York and the founder of Chika’s Closet (an African Day wear Fashion label). Through partnering with @Chikasclosetlove we are able to branch out in Lagos, Nigeria, and work with exquisite expertise tailors and dressmakers.
We are a multicultural (Black and Filipino), Black-owned, Asian-owned, and global company empowering women, and partnering with the greater African Diaspora at large.
Maya Angelou said, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” My dad, John Lee Parish, always used to say “Pretty is as pretty does.”
These quotes helped me to realize that it’s not who you are or what you look like that makes you successful, but what you do for others that makes the true difference in your success.– Danielle Drake | Danielle Parish Drake Bridal
Of course, making sales is important. But success should always be measured by not only how you help yourself, but how you help others. That’s what legacy is all about and what it means to include God in Fashion.
What inspires you? Share any details on your newest bridal line (2023 Collection).
Being still and spending time with Yah, Christ is a big part of my creative process.
The Element Creation Collection was inspired while I was in Hawaii sitting on the beach playing with my three-year-old in the Hawaiian waters. We stuck our feet in the water, played in the coral, and ate salt water when the waves picked up.
I was immediately reminded about Creation and the power of the Elements. I started thinking about a Water gown, a Fire gown, an Earth or (sand) gown, and a Wind gown.
Our next creation is blooming as we speak right now since we are launching our Wedding Venue in my Grandmother’s Garden.
What inspired you to start your Joyful Wives, Joyful Lives Retreat?
Well, I hate to be all about vanity. The Christian inside of me is always concerned about people’s lives, hearts, and well-being. It is the chaplain inside of me.
But, it’s like in Cinderella the fairy godmother sent her off on her “marry way” all dressed and bedazzled. But, she had to walk home with a pumpkin in hand and a dog, three mice, and you know the rest. She went through it.
as a Bridal Designer, I care about your marriage too.
I’m married and I know the first couple of years take work. While we have examples of happy marriages in our lives, there’s not a lot of talk about how to do it and how to stay married.
My mother gives me a certain view of married life. I can talk to her and ask her questions, but she still has the role of nurturing and mothering me. One thing I remember from being single is that “God was my True Husband” and everything else was added, and beautifully added. But the source of my happiness and joy should come from God.
“Joyful Wives, Joyful Lives” is a pun on “Happy Wife, Happy Life.”
I want to take women who are married or getting married and take them away to a retreat, talk to God, do dance ministry on the beach, pray, get dressed up, take immaculate pictures, stay in a beautiful hotel, and get golden nuggets from other women on how they’ve been a Christ first wife.
To focus on “God Being Our True Husband,” we have to do that alone. Christian Couples Counseling is good and necessary, but wives and wives-to-be should get together and talk about their own frailty, hurt, and pain, and bring those to God.
My good friend Melaina Williams, who is a poet and artist, reminded me that as you prepare for your wedding, also make sure “You prepare for your marriage.”
We are just retreating and having the Joy of our Lord be our strength.
I think I took growing up in Hawaii for granted. I have a cousin who always says, “E malama pono i ka ‘aina” which means to “Take Care of the Land (The Hawaiian Land) and to respect it.”
Every time I fly home to visit Oahu, I realize just how beautiful it is, and how precious it is. Not every beach offers you clear blue water where you can see your feet and calm warm lagoons. Hawaiians or people from Hawaii call Oahu and Hawaii “God’s country” because of its beauty.
Coming to a beautiful place like Hawaii is a great way to lay all your burdens aside and heal and relax.
Tell us more about your new wedding venue, The Garden of Aloha.
Our wedding venue is brewing and cooking. Also in Oahu, HI, we are pre-booking for 2024 and even have couples already checking into us for 2025.
After the pandemic, intimate backyard weddings are still popular. Our space provides a place for brides to get married under God’s beautiful sky. They can also take off their shoes and dance in the grass.
If you want to have a gorgeous gown, take wonderful pictures amidst beautiful greenery, and sit down in front of a beautiful plate setting, check us out and contact us. We are also featured on Black Bride, The WeddingWire, The Knot, and Sinta Weddings.
Check out the link to fill in the application. We have a summer special where you can also win a Honeymoon. So if you say you saw us on Munaluchi Bride and you let us know you can also be eligible.
How do you hope people feel when visiting your new venue or attending your Hawaii retreat?
Our venue on Oahu is called “The Garden of Aloha.”
I want people to feel what I felt growing up there. When I was little, I used to play outside by myself for hours and dance under the sky in the parking lot. I want people to feel love at the Garden of Aloha. Many people find nature calming. I want people to have fun, feel calm, feel love, and play in the Garden of Aloha.
Book the Garden of Aloha for 2024 here!
Share any advice for up-and-coming entrepreneurs. How would you advise them to balance multiple passions in their careers?
Keep doing what you are doing. Even if it fails, keep doing it. We are here for a short time, like flowers. Do everything that God gives you to do with the time he gives you to do it.
Every shortcoming, obstacle, and loss is a blessing in disguise. You are right where you need to be right now. Your lessons and your wins will help you succeed.
Also, don’t let anybody tell you, “You can’t!!”. Maybe you can’t do it right then and there at that very moment. But your Kronos moment, “your god-appointed moment” is coming and will meet you right where you need to be.
Also start right now, even when you are not ready.
Finally, I do all this for my two little baby girls. I seriously believe that bringing life into this world with no medication made me brave and inspired me that “I can!” It’s sacred work. They don’t hold you back, they inspire.
Are there any other exciting announcements we can look forward to?
We will be sharing more from the grand opening of our venue. Our retreat is from November 29th to December 2nd, 2023 and our wedding collection for 2023 will be dropping in the Winter.
Looking for more Behind The Brand Interviews?
Click here for more!
- Designer: Danielle Parish Drake Bridal, LLC
- Photographer(s): Sheldon Botler & Eye Level Lens
- Fashion: Onleilove Alston of Chika’s Closet
- Garden of Aloha Venue: Book for 2024 here!
- Click here for Bridal Consultations, Bridal Gown Purchases, or Custom Gown Consultations.
- Check out Danielle Parish Drake Bridal’s YouTube channel here.