“Sustainability” and “eco-friendly” are such buzz-words these days. But when it comes to the wedding industry, an industry plagued by wastefulness and opulence, being environmentally conscious can make any wedding less stressful (due to a clearer conscience), not only for the bride and groom but also results in less stress and impact on the world around us.
Finding sustainable and environmentally friendly designers is completely possible in today’s wedding landscape. Vintage dresses are so on trend. Sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton, linen, jute, bamboo and hemp are being used in more luxe and elegant ways. No longer does “organic” and “sustainable” have vibes reminiscent of a flower child. It is now refined, elegant and often indistinguishable from mainstream fashion.
There are so many designers using sustainable materials and highlighting these to draw brides who are hyper-aware of their impact on this earth.
One of my personal favorite designers is Leanne Marshall. I often scroll through her Instagram page filled with dresses that look like they were plucked straight from a watercolor painting. From more classic silhouettes, to dresses that look like unique works of art, her gowns speak to a myriad of brides. Her fabrics are guilt free. She focuses on individually creating each piece to avoid over-production and waste. Minimizing her use of polyester she focuses on sustainable and natural fibers.
Wear Your Love: Touted as “bohemian-femme” Wear Your Love not only focuses on eco-friendly fabrics such as bamboo and organic cotton, but also is friendly on your wallet as well, with most dresses under $1,000.
For the bride who strives for uniqueness in her wedding day look, London based designer Rita Colson puts an “ethical twist” on bespoke bridal.
Stella McCartney is a pioneer in eco-conscious fashion as one of the first big name designers to put a ban on using fur. Sustainability is a huge cornerstone of the brand. They preach sustainability not only when it comes to the materials they use but also as a social responsibility in terms of their supply chain. Stella McCartney uses their big name power to focus on innovation within sustainable material finding ways to reengineer cashmere and creating the most realistic and lush versions of faux fur and vegan leather.
Reformation is another personal favorite for more lowkey and casual brides. Most of their products are made with natural or recycled fibers. With their quick turnaround and in stock availability these dresses are perfect for elopements or last-minute microweddings. Your wedding party can also get decked out in Reformation with their expansive collection of dresses, in a myriad of color stories.
Nepalese born designer Sanyukta Shrestha, is another leader in sustainable bridal. Focusing on zero waste and ethical, handmade production of hand woven fabrics, she creates one of a kind gowns.
If you don’t like the idea of dropping money on something that you will wear once and you are then responsible to dry clean and store for an eternity, wedding dress rentals are becoming more prevalent within the bridal market.
The pro’s are: you don’t spend as much, your environmental impact is negligible and you are not responsible for the dress after you wear it. While those may seem like all amazing things, you do lose the sentimental value of the whole experience. Your selection is also much more limited. Sites like Rent the Runway, and Poshare are breaking into the market of wedding dress/LWD (little white dress) rentals. While this may not always be appealing for your actual wedding day, it is a great option for your rehearsal dinner or events surrounding your wedding.
Vintage and second-hand wedding dresses are the best way to minimize your environmental impact without losing any sentimental value (maybe even gaining some). Revamping a family heirloom tells a story within itself. A personally tailored dress with a historical element can bring another level of sentimental value to your wedding.
Vintage bridal shops like Shareen (based in NYC and LA), LA’s Happy Isles, Connecticut based Mill Crest Vintage, as well as Etsy are great sources for vintage dresses chock full of history.
For something a bit more modern, there are numerous resale bridal shops online such as Once Wed, Borrowing Magnolia, Poshmark, Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses, and The Real Real.
Adding a sustainable element to your wedding dress is such an easy addition to make. Whatever dress you choose, it is most important that it makes you happy.
Arielle Picheny Dufour for Magdalena Events & Design