The Pro Files: Meet Designer Nicole Chang of Celebrity-Loved Couture Label Nicole + Felicia (Exclusive)

Chang — who created the namesake brand with her sister Felicia — speaks to PEOPLE about the siblings' careers, from their early beginnings to their new collaboration with Kleinfeld Bridal

Since founding their namesake label Nicole + Felicia in 2015, sisters Nicole and Felicia Chang have accomplished more than they ever imagined.

“We didn't really set a goal for where we wanted to be because I feel like starting a brand is something that's really hard,” Nicole, designer and creative director, tells PEOPLE exclusively. “It's just been about really, really trying our best."

Their hustling paid off. Today, the siblings — who were born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, by parents who worked in the wedding gown manufacturing business — and their brand have created multiple seasonal collections and a fan base filled with Asia and Hollywood's hottest stars, including Taylor Swift, who wore three ball gowns by the label during her U.S. Eras Tour.

And their momentum hasn't stopped. This month, Nicole + Felicia launched an exclusive collection with wedding wear mecca Kleinfeld Bridal, which marks the company's first collaboration.

“It was actually just something that happened this January when I was at Kleinfeld doing a trunk show. I walked into [Kleinfeld Bridal's head buyer] Dorothy [Silver’s] office and was like, ‘Do you guys want to do an exclusive collection with me?’ " Nicole recalls, adding, "It's not about being at Kleinfeld, it's the people that really made me feel special."

Ahead the designer — along with Amy Chen, Nicole + Felicia's public relations manager — tells PEOPLE how she and her sister transformed their company from a “small idea” into a growing empire loved by celebrities and the best in bridal.

Related: Taylor Swift Wears 5 Blue Outfits Inspired by Her Album '1989' During Final Los Angeles Show on Eras Tour

PEOPLE: Nicole, was fashion a big part of yours and Felicia’s lives growing up? 

Nicole: My parents are in manufacturing for a lot of the American and European brands, so of course I also grew up watching all the seamstresses and the design team. It was kind of like a natural path for me to enter the whole bridal industry.

I also grew up watching my mom dress up — I was very lucky that she was very into fashion and she educated me on how to dress. My dad would also go on business trips to Europe, and when I was 10, he bought me a small Dior dress for my birthday. Those special moments made my interest in fashion grow.

PEOPLE: Were you ever someone who grew up envisioning themselves in a wedding dress? 

Nicole: Imagining myself as a bride, I wasn't so sure because I wasn't sure if I was going to find the right guy. People always ask me about what I want to wear when I get married. I always wanted to wear a very simple suit or white dress, but now that I've created so many different styles and all those ball gowns, I'm not so sure anymore. Maybe a ball gown for me one day.

Chen: I always pester Nicole. I'm like, 'You founded one of the greatest bridal brands to come out of Asia.' I need a grand dramatic moment.

Nicole: The first question that people started asking me when I got engaged was, 'What are you going to wear?'

<p>Courtesy of Kleinfeld Bridal</p> Nicole + Felicia for Kleinfeld Bridal

Courtesy of Kleinfeld Bridal

Nicole + Felicia for Kleinfeld Bridal

PEOPLE: You and your sister went on to study different fields that couldn't be farther from design and production. What made you decide to return to the fashion world and then create your own label from there? 

Nicole: Studying economics was just so we had a better idea of the business side. I think it's also important that we did that. I think it really helped us know the reality of starting your own brand.

PEOPLE: Were there any challenges that you faced when building this label from scratch? 

Nicole: I think the hardest part was actually picking a name for the brand. We were like, ‘What if it fails?’ Using your own name, you don't get a second chance. I think the second-hardest thing throughout this whole journey was during COVID. I think a lot of people were questioning themselves, not knowing what to do or just hitting that wall. We were very established in Asia already, so we were kind of stuck, not knowing when we could ever enter the U.S. or European market. It hit us pretty hard.

PEOPLE: On a personal level, is there any pressure working as a sister duo?

Nicole: In the beginning, me and my sister spent quite a lot of time figuring out who's doing what. In terms of design, I have ideas and she had ideas and it was hard because, who is the team going to listen to? But later, we found that I was in charge of the whole creative marketing side and my sister in charge of the production side because she did work for my dad for three years and she's more familiar with how the factory runs. Working with family is pretty hard in general. My dad is my boss too, so that also has a lot of pressure.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About the 'Say Yes to the Dress' Consultants at Kleinfeld Bridal (Exclusive)

<p>Courtesy of Kleinfeld Bridal</p> Nicole + Felicia for Kleinfeld Bridal

Courtesy of Kleinfeld Bridal

Nicole + Felicia for Kleinfeld Bridal

PEOPLE: How long was the process of creating the collection for Kleinfeld?

Chen: Since February, we started really putting the ideas together. The whole process was very collaborative from both sides and I would say took, from start to finish, maybe five months. Everything was finished by the end of June and Nicole brought the samples with her and did a whole production in Paris to shoot the campaign.

PEOPLE: How would you describe Nicole + Felicia's style as a label, and how are those elements ingrained in this exclusive collection you have with Kleinfeld? 

Chen: We bring a lot of the glamorous elements that you would see on red carpets into daily life. So what we're really known for, other than sleek lines and corsetry, is that element of luxury. Any hand-done elements that you see on our gowns — all the appliqués and beading — were all made and designed in-house in our atelier, and I think that really sets us apart. A lot of the interpretations of red carpet pieces you'll see transferred to our bridal assortment.

PEOPLE: Is there a specific storyline that you wanted to tell?

Chen: Kleinfeld really wanted to highlight and feature our craftsmanship. We have ball gowns and beaded styles, both minis and your standard mermaid silhouettes. We also included some of the really sleek, very modern pieces that we thought could be timeless. We have something for everyone.

<p>Courtesy of Kleinfeld Bridal</p> Nicole + Felicia for Kleinfeld Bridal

Courtesy of Kleinfeld Bridal

Nicole + Felicia for Kleinfeld Bridal

PEOPLE: What are some of the biggest bridal trends you're seeing so far this year?

Nicole: I think in general people now are looking for something that's really elegant and modern and not so dramatic or over the top, which is what our brand is aiming for and who our brand is designing for.

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PEOPLE: What's one piece of advice you'd tell brides who are just embarking on their wedding dress shopping journey? 

Nicole: I would say, really stay true to who you are and try as many pieces as possible. I think that really helps with figuring out what you'd like. You never know until you put one dress on.

PEOPLE: Is there anything that you and your team want to check off your bucket list?

Nicole: I think it’s just to have an even better collection for October. I feel like the biggest challenge we've had is creating a better collection than the last. I like to keep the goal closer to me. I don't like to say, ‘Oh, I want to do this.’ I feel like opportunities will come along when you work hard.

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