From Bridal to Evening, Katie May Returns to Her Elegant Looks

Starting with a bridal-gown design shared on a Pinterest post that went viral, the Katie May brand began in 2012 from a foundation of creating garments in the United States. Eight years later, the business had expanded into eveningwear, but the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the country and apparel manufacturing—particularly for formalwear—shut down or shifted with the brand’s founder, Katie May Neu, transitioning from the detailed work of designing elegant pieces to creating face masks that were made in Los Angeles.

“Overall, I am a designer, so I just like being able to create. You just need to put me in the lane you need me to swim in or drive in and I’ll be there. With COVID, it was terrible, but there was still an opportunity for me to be creative and create product,” May Neu explained. “That is what I did with the masks. I am grateful for whatever opportunity I get to create if I can make something people are happy with.”

As the brand returns to its roots with the market for formalwear growing, Katie May is also celebrating its 10th anniversary. Reflecting on her business, which counts Nordstrom and Revolve as partners, May Neu relays a sense of pride when discussing Katie May’s domestic production in Los Angeles. These feelings stem from not only producing garments that reflect her vision but also relying on manufacturing partners whose workers are treated in accordance with May Neu’s values, which require respectful treatment.

“For me, it means that I can create product in an environment that is aligned with my value set and what matters to me both on the social side of it with social ethics but also the quality side of product, which also really matters to me,” May Neu explained. “We still run into hardships in Los Angeles. I have a compliance officer, my production manager, and I have a full-time field QC who just runs through shops because it’s incredibly important to me that we are compliant not only by law but according to the social-ethics side as well.”

Managing a responsible and ethical fashion line is important to May Neu as she seeks to shift the negative reputation the industry often receives. The designer is also quick to provide credit where it is due, noting that when she reaches a point where her expertise ends, she relies on her group of experienced team members to guide her decision-making.

“In manufacturing there is a lot of opportunity for abuses, and I think that manufacturing has had a really bad rep in the fashion industry,” May Neu says. “We work together, but I lean into a lot of people to be experts because I can’t do it or I don’t know it. Being able to lean into people who can give so much of themselves to this brand and my business—I really owe them a lot.”

While May Neu has worked hard to build her brand, she emphasizes that her path was not the traditional road to fashion success. Bypassing design school, May Neu is a self-described “terrible artist,” but she creates styles that make her happy and creates those looks. It is her hope that younger aspiring designers recognize that while an innate artist might not exist, diligence and remaining steadfast to pursue their dream career can lead to greatness.

“If you can find a mentor who can help you or prevent as many hiccups along the way it is something I would also highly recommend. From my point of view, if there is a girl or boy reading this that has doubts about their abilities because they have limitations—I had limitations, too,” May Neu said. “I’ve done this for 10 years and it hasn’t always been easy. There has been a lot of learning and lessons.”

Katie May is available online at in addition to Nordstrom and Revolve. Evening is sized XS–XL and priced from $200 for a cocktail design to $525 for gown silhouettes. Bridalwear is priced from $1,395 to $2,995.