Updated: Dec 26, 2020
Will sustainable wedding-gowns become a big trend in bridal? or, is it about learning to make better choices? What exactly is meant by the term Sustainable Wedding Dress and, will brides be vilified for their ultimate choice of having their dream dress?
While there's no clear definition of the terminology used in sustainable fashion, it is generally about limiting the social impact of the choices couples will have to make when planning a wedding.
I often wonder where and how new trends begin and who decides. However, to be quite frank and speaking as someone who has been in the UK bridal industry for over 35 years; I am fully aware that what might be considered waste fabric today on the cutting room floor, can be fashioned into a highly desirable gown with a 5 digit price tag tomorrow. Now I know the above term may not be new; and, the idea of a fully compostable wedding dress has not yet arrived – please let me know if I am wrong on this…lol. But I have noticed a steady surge of wedding articles around the topic of sustainable green weddings, ethical weddings, reformation, repurposing and #wearitagain. Have you noticed this too?
I remember having to write an essay on the “Future of Fashion” around 8 years ago and I couldn’t for the life of me consider how on earth the industry might fundamentally change – I mean it hadn’t for the last fifty years and I couldn’t imagine at the time anything that might impact it other than fashion.
But, what I failed to highlight and now wish that I had seen it coming, is how the fast pace of fashion spread to the wedding industry like wildfire, increasing the already wasteful practices from food to single use décor and of course the brides dress.
Now, I am not an advocate for mass -produced dresses. Not because I have anything against factories – everyone has to eat right! But I am against the high volumes of waste materials that ends up in landfill sites, and not just from factories but from everyone across the industry who acts irresponsibly.
For example, DID you know, that the waste material from just one wedding dress is enough to make a second garment?
Whilst the focus around sustainable wedding dresses aims to outlaw the extravagance of a ‘one wear’ dress, it shouldn’t be right that brides now need to go searching through the content label of a dress in favour of the environment. Or, rather that better education is key so that we have a fully formed overview of ways in which we can all do better as responsible environmentally conscious citizens of our planet.
SO HOW WE CAN MOVE TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE OR ‘GREEN’ WEDDING DRESSES?
Real Bride Amy | Up-cycled Green Wedding Dress | READ THIS POST TO FIND LEARN HOW
5 TIPS TO CREATING A SUSTAINABLE WEDDING DRESSES,
Eco friendly bridal fabrics are quite easily obtainable these days but, are not necessarily less expensive than their silk counterpart. Recent collections that we have examined and used, are certainly much softer with improved draping quality than in previous years. One key benefit of using eco-friendly textiles is the recovery rate - meaning that they bounce back well from creasing; this is perhaps the main benefit of the synthetic family and a strong feature as a choice fabric for those picture perfect shots. The reputation of what used to commonly known as man-made fibres, has changed significantly; with much of the UK textile industry producing truly admirable Eco-friendly bridal fabrics from sustainable sources such as recycled bottle top, plant fibre and eucalyptus bark.
Whilst the idea of a sustainable gown will not appeal to every bride, there are still many ways shop consciously and contribute your efforts towards a greener planet.
Two and three piece wedding ensembles are a great way to reinvent the wedding dress. With carefully chosen separates that can be combined and restyled on the day to provide day, reception and party looks. Items, can then be re-worn individually after the big day with a lifelong contribution to your existing wardrobe, rather than be preserved as an heirloom. The secret savior of sustainable wedding dresses is to be able to pass, share or loan items to brides further down the line, or even wear your gorgeous pieces whilst on honeymoon with jeans and heels. It doesn’t matter that your friend switches the designs up to suit her style, it will provide a fresh opportunity to see pieces worn in different ways and bring you such joy
Three-piece Bridal Separates | MARILYN LACE BRIDAL TOP | Back buttoning Lace bridal top worn with a blush tulle bridal skirt. | www.cynthiagraftonholt.com
Eco-Friendly 2 piece bridal separates | ZAHA – handcrafted from Cluny Lace | www.cynthiagraftonholt.com
REMODELLING A PRE-LOVED OR HANDED DOWN WEDDING DRESS
Reusing a pre-loved wedding dress is such an exciting ‘feel good’ way to shop responsibly, get the dress of your dreams and create a unique design at the same time. Start by visiting preowned wedding dress sites, vintage wedding dress sites and even exploring what your mom may have hidden away in the loft.
Quite often, dresses that have been stored for many years can discolor in places, but don’t be put off even if the dress has turned little grey and even smells musty too. It still is worth having a chat with an expert to see what can be recovered. Depending on the design, there may be yards and yards of material with which to play with. And, as many pre noughties dresses were originally made from pure silk, could potentially save you a fortune in material costs. Recreating an existing dress as separates or reusing parts of it like the lace for example, are all creative ways to give fresh life to an existing dress.
Before and after photo of a 1980’s Silk Wedding Dress worn by brides Mum, the silk was re-used and combined with a modern corded lace to create a new design for daughter
DESIGNING SUSTAINABLE WEDDING DRESSES, DRESSES THAT ARE BUILT TO LAST
If you have ever spoken to a bride after a wedding, the first thing she will tell you is how much she enjoyed wearing her dress and the fact that she did not want to ever have to take it off. So, armed with this valuable insight is an opportunity to use the information to benefit your design.
Consider styles with longevity and where possible dye, alter, remodel and restyle your wedding dress for later use.
Real Bride wearing a bespoke Silk Wedding Dress | https://www.rsbrownphotography.com/ SEE MORE IMAGES OF THIS BESPOKE HEDSOR HOUSE WEDDING
CHOOSING A ETHICAL WEDDING DRESS DESIGNER
With the rapid trend towards Eco fashion gathering pace, the best place to find greener brands who put sustainability at the heart of what they do, will be among the smaller independent businesses. They are more likely (due to their size) to be practicing production techniques that keep waste to a minimum. Their locality will certainly reduce the carbon footprint of your dress in a real and authentic way that can be checked. Ask to see fabric ranges that are organically produced, sustainably sourced, or better still request stock that is authentically British made designs.
Bespoke & Eco Friendly Wedding Dress Designer London
“ I just wanted to say that I absolutely LOVED the work you did for me last week. The dress was a huge success — I felt beautiful/classic/sexy/skinny/wonderful, and that is largely thanks to you and your genius…Really, you did a fantastic job. I will certainly be passing your details along to all of my friends who are getting married/going to literally any event.”
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