Day 109 / 365

When I searched for my wedding dress before I got married, I looked for something I could wear again and again, not a one off piece. A prom dress from my late teens still sits in my mum's closet, stained with drinks it swept up of the dancefloor, likely never to be worn again. Every time I go home to visit I feel a churn of guilt as I think of all the things that $1,000 one-night-stand, made up from my savings working as a hostess at some chain restaurant near the mall, could have been used for instead.

To be fair, I got married in a Parisian town hall in a ceremony that took about 15 minutes from start to finish, including the dance party. Had I known it would be such a beautiful and historical location I probably would have dressed more appropriately, and maybe tried to dress my husfriend as well, but I wore what I felt great in, and that happened to be a playsuit on that day. 

My family wasn't at all surprised, I, after all had developed such a reputation for romper wearing my
sister had gone as far as to include one on a charm bracelet she made me, complete with cowboy boots, my other long time love affair.

For those brides who are less casual than me who might be in the midst of planning a 'proper' wedding, choosing a THE dress is part of the magical tradition which accompanies our culture's ceremony of matrimony. I'd never go so far as to suggest you follow my lead and show up in shorts. That said, on an ecological level, it is not an item you'll make 30 wears of. If you choose right, your daughter might wear it too, but at the end of the day, it is a souvenir from a beautiful memory which will likely bring you great joy throughout your life. 

Wedding dresses aren't exempt from the horrors of the fashion industry. Most wedding dresses are made from petroleum-based polyester that pollutes the air, water, and the earth, harming flora and fauna on all levels along the way. Most are also made by human hands who are not being paid fairly or treated kindly in the process.

Definitely not a positive contribution to one's fairytale love story.

If I were to get married again to my husfriend in a 'proper' ceremony, I would choose something I knew for certain was made with Love. It seems both logically necessary for such a celebration which revolves around Love itself, if not for every day.

You, of course, should buy a dress you adore and feel beautiful in, and if the ethical / eco-community doesn't have one for you, I wouldn't judge you for choosing something else, but to add to the fun of the search and feed your own curiosity, all I'll implore you to do is creep through a few sites and consider some conscious designers too.  

As I hadn't done my own search when my time came, I called on Danielle who runs an ethical and socially conscious wedding publication called Black Sheep Bride. She sent me over some of her favourite recommendations to add to the few I had my eye on. You can read her full post on green wedding dresses here.

Eco + Ethical Wedding Dresses

photo: DOS
Bohemian babes be blessed, this beautiful brand makes a conscious collection of wedding gowns (and  even makes wedding rompers!). Each piece is made from reconstructed vintage gowns from the 60s and 70s, bringing new life to an item once worn with love and for love. The brand is named after Simone De Beauvoir, the modest philosopher and brilliant writer who significantly influenced feminist existentialism and theory. 

photo: Fab You Bliss

Celia Grace is a member of the Fair Trade Federation, meaning you wedding dress is made by people who are paid a living wage and work in safe and fair conditions. Your purchase helps break they cycle of poverty by supporting a company which truly supports its workers. To top off the goodness of their creations, most Celia Grace dresses are handmade using natural fibers or small-batch textiles, fabrics which are not mass-produced like most fabrics we use, reducing the environmental footprint. With their creations, they help preserve a traditional art form, by using, whenever possible, handmade silk woven on traditional wooden looms.

photo: Indelust 
Not a classic wedding dress designer but these Rahul's designs would surely make the cut for a 'proper' wedding. I love his collections o much I went so far as to ask the brand to borrow it for an eco wedding shoot for this post. As it turns out, each dress is made-to-order, reducing the environmental footprint to null until the dress is purchased. Each Rahul Mishra piece, dress or otherwise, is handmade using artisan skills which are coming close to extinction due to our fast fashion ways. No longer is hand embroidery a skill the industry needs, and thus, it begins to die with each generation. Rahul's collection is also made ethically by workers who are paid fair wages in his home country of India. Each piece is handmade and made sustainably creating a positive social and environmental impact on the community it originates from. A true rarity in the industry.  

Here’s a conscious company that has a positive impact on the world, a company with a  purpose, which cares for people and the planet over profit. Their collection is organic, eco-friendly and eco-conscious, made ethically, cruelty-free, fair trade and socially responsible. They use rare, cruelty-free peace silks and organic cottons dyed with certified natural dyes or low impact dyes. Plus their dresses are gorgeous. A worldwide conscious win.  

photo: Minna
(from their site) Environmental issues are important to Minna and consequently, her label can best be described as Eco Luxe. Each piece is hand embellished and made from sustainable, organic, recycled and locally produced textiles. Her label has in a short time re-defined what ethical fashion should be. Environmentally friendly production techniques including local manufacturing and zero waste pattern cutting techniques are used for every garment.