When she was in her late teens, budding bride-to-be Hayley Paige found herself in a clothing store searching for her perfect bridal gown. Enamored by the models, Paige said, she rushed home and went to her closet, removing and cleaning everything. Everything was clean, except for a 4-by-6-inch plastic poster on the wall. It was a promotional flyer for her mother’s bridal boutique’s bridal show. At the bottom of the flyer it read: “Our Cinzano Shoes (Hayley Paige Brand) will support your special day and their profits from the day will be donated to Angel Tree.”
The sign caught Paige’s eye and she decided to give the plastic poster a name: “Strawberry Paper Clip.”
That simple alteration turned into a successful brand that has more than one hundred stores worldwide. Paige’s personal brand was able to spread on a viral level as more and more brides were encouraged to pop-and-gleam in their wedding dresses in homage to the happily ever after they dreamed of. Paige’s first picture of her with her then partner/husband Russell Davidson, on her wedding day in 2010, caught the world’s attention, and, soon after, people were asking her to do a wedding shoot. These bridal shoots — now called “Wedding Stories” — went on to become one of the most significant segments of the couple’s collaboration.
Since then, Paige’s influence on today’s best-dressed wedding couples has played a large role in the overall success of her brand. As a label, Hayley Paige features many pieces that are specific to styles, brides, and the wedding day: the McBusted wedding dress, the Grease homage bridal dress, the Rowan Shoe with Jacquard skirt, and the Project Runway inspired tuxedo bridal dress.
The brand — which now sells bridal merchandise at Anthropologie, Anthropologie Collection, and online — even credits Paige’s craftsmanship and love of tailored details, with the success of the wedding dress collection. Paige also creates a steady income through both partnerships with Anthropologie and her bridal showroom appointments in LA and NYC.
But recently, things went south for Paige. In 2012, an Instagram user named “wedding-dress” publicly named Paige as the designer behind her fashion brand. Paige said that they eventually reached an agreement to share no contact information, but the damage had already been done.
“I never called you, I never responded, we never met,” Paige recalled telling the user. “I never even let you know I was alive.”
In June 2016, a jury ruled in favor of Paige, finding that her personal credit card information was stolen and used to purchase $25,000 worth of jewelry. The plaintiff — Miranda Fischbach, a former personal shopper at another Hayley Paige boutique — subsequently sued the designer for the damage to her credit, as well as the unnecessary thefts of Paige’s business, which depended on repeat customers to keep it going. Following the verdict, the juror’s decision was sent to the judge who set an October 31, 2016 hearing for the sales revenue report from 18 months prior.
The damages, Paige said, were $2,500 per month and part of the $25,000 in excess of the $50,000 in merchandise that was wrongfully obtained. Furthermore, they were compensatory damages, which meant that Paige and her team would not need to pay any judgment. Ultimately, Paige and Davidson were ordered to pay Fischbach $75,000 in compensatory damages and $75,000 in punitive damages.
Wedding season has come and gone, but the whole ordeal has kept Paige’s face off-screen and on the back of every magazine possible.
“We have lost our identity,” Paige said. “We have to reinvent ourselves every month to get enough press to be relevant.”
Paige said she was just relieved that her sister and business partner decided not to fight the case.
“Maybe it helped to motivate her,” Paige said of her sister, Annie. “I was fighting a rerun of ‘Raising Helen.’ I knew we’d never win. We’ve done what we could.”
Sarah Waterman, Paige’s New York based attorney, declined to comment for this story.