If an earth conscious wedding dress brings to mind an ill-fitting hemp garment, you couldn't be more wrong. Whether vintage, or made of organic materials, eco-friendly dresses take on many styles and couldn't be more beautiful. And in an increasingly green environment, there certainly isn't a shortage of options. Where to start? Consider the following:
1. Re-wear a gown, such as your mother's — even better because it has sentimental value. If you're not a fan of her '80s-style sleeves, take it to a seamstress to redesign the look. Or, you can buy or rent a pre-worn gown.
2. Take re-wearing a gown to a new level and go vintage. Check out consignment shops or vintage boutiques. You might get lucky and find something one of-a-kind.
3. Look for a dress made of organic fabrics, such as organic cotton, organic silk, or peace silk. A dress made out of recyclable materials can also do the trick.
4. Choose a designer that creates sustainable gowns, whether it's by hand-making the dress or supporting women in developing countries. Need some options? Try any of these designers...
Photo: Courtesy of Daughters of Simone
Daughters of Simone
Daughters of Simone's founder Brit Castanos launched the brand by reconstructing vintage gowns from the '60s and '70s, and is now on her second collection. Inspired to create gowns for the "soul-baring and tenacious women of the world," her resulting handcrafted gowns are pure bohemian magic. This off-the-shoulder "Phiffer" gown's lightweight and airy chiffon fabric edged in crochet lace creates a whimsical touch.
Photo: Courtesy of Leila Hafzi
Leila Hafzi heralds itself as the first high-end ethical and eco-conscious fashion brand. Its design and production company is located in Kathmandu in the developing country of Nepal, works to establish an environmentally friendly production cycle, and is a member of The Ethical Trading Initiative — Norway. The brand's romantic, feminine, and bohemian designs are inspired by different cultures. This flapper-style "Scarlett" dress infuses 1920s glamour.
Photo: Courtesy of The Cotton Bride
The Cotton Bride
The Cotton Bride handcrafts their dresses from 100% natural fabrics including cotton, linen, and silk. Dedicated to grace, comfort, and beauty, this brand prides itself in a unique aesthetic that doesn't follow the trends. This soft and romantic "Myriam" dress is made of 100% English cotton tulle, 100% silk chiffon, and 100% cotton.
Photo: Courtesy of Deborah Lindquist
Not only does Deborah Lindquist create her cutting-edge designs out of recycled, sustainable, and organic fabrics, such as vintage cashmere, hemp blends, and organic linen, but she also donates a portion of her proceeds to environmentally conscious and health organizations. This mermaid silhouette made of hemp/silk satin is a body conscious, bias cut slip-dress that balances Art Deco vibes and a modern, minimalist style.
Photo: Courtesy of Minna
Minna's description of its label as Eco Luxe is right on point, with stylish designs made of sustainable, organic, recyclable and locally produced textiles manufactured with zero waste pattern cutting techniques. Take for example the "Anya" dress, made from a luxurious silk morocain and complete with a classic silhouette, open back, and subtle, but glamorous floor-sweeping train.
Photo: Courtesy of Celia Grace
Celia Grace is a member of the Fair Trade Federation, which aims to end poverty. Thus, Grace's dresses are handmade in Cambodia and India by Fair Trade sewing groups, providing them with safe work, fair wages and benefits, and development. The brand also works to reduce environmental impact by using handmade fabrics, natural fibers, small-batch textiles, and heirloom silks. This "Jane" dress of heirloom silk has a flattering flare.