5 ways to have a sustainable wedding dress

Sustainable wedding dress buying

Over the past few years, sustainability has increasingly become a significant issue in the fashion world, with the mass production of fast-fashion and the large sum of new garments burnt by leading designer brands adding to the deterioration of our environment.

While the wedding dress industry doesn’t do as much damage to the environment as retail brands do, the waste of material for such high costs and little wear does still have an effect. Because of these ongoing issues that have been brought to the forefront of fashion news in the past few years, sustainability has become one of the newest trends in fashion.

In order to support this new era of sustainable and eco-friendly clothing, here are five non-traditional ways in which you can help the environment when it comes to finding your wedding gown:

1 – Buy vintage or pre-loved

Buying a vintage or pre-loved wedding dress is not only something which is now quite fashionable, but it is also more affordable and environmentally friendly than buying a brand-new dress. The perks of going pre-loved also include the variety of styles that you can choose from, whether you want a sleek and glamorous 1930s look or a more relaxed, boho-chic 1970s style. The cost of a vintage wedding dress will vary on the quality; however, they are more likely to be in the £100s instead of £1000s, and by reclaiming an old dress you are being sustainable in your purchase. Places to buy a vintage wedding dress can be at your local pre-loved bridal shop, vintage or charity store, or websites such as Etsy.

Where can I buy – Bridal Reloved (National), Two For Joy (Cornwall)

2 – Buy a dress you can wear more than once

Although you may want a dress that is special specifically for your wedding day, it could be an idea to buy a dress you can wear for other occasions that isn’t just your wedding. By purchasing a dress that is either a different colour or altering it later, either by dyeing it or having it tailored, you would be able to have multiple uses from one dress.

Where can I buy – Charlotte Balbier available from Natalya James Bridal (Midlands) or St Ives Bridal Boutique (Cornwall)

Wear again sustainable wedding dresses from Charlotte Balbier

3 – Shop with eco-friendly companies

There are plenty of smaller companies that produce wedding dresses in a more sustainable and eco-friendly way than the mass producing, big designer brands. Whether they use recycled material or make to order, they are one step towards creating a better environment, while creating beautiful dresses. By just searching the internet for eco-friendly wedding dresses, you’ll have a sufficient amount of businesses coming up, or you could look on the aforementioned website Etsy, who support small, creative businesses.

Where can I buy – eco bespoke couture dresses from Julie Dutton Bespoke Bridal (Midlands) or Claire L Headdon Bridal (Cornwall)

Eco friendly wedding dress designers, using sustainable fabrics and fastenings

4 – Wear a family heirloom

This may already be a tradition in your family or could be the start of a new one. Wearing a dress of one of your family members, probably your mother’s or grandmother’s, can be a really nice way to be sentimental on your wedding day, fulfilling the ‘something borrowed and something old’ criteria as well. If you are not into a vintage or retro style, you could alter their dress into something new, meaning that you still have the sentimental value while having a new dress.

Where can I buy – alterations from Stunning Bridal (Midlands) or Oriole Alterations (Cornwall)

5 – Keep the cycle going

Your wedding dress is an item which carries a lot of sentimental value is indisputable. However, after having kept your dress for many years, it may be a good idea to donate your dress to one of the aforementioned causes, such as a vintage wedding dress store or to a family member to carry on traditions. Even if you do end up going down the normal route of buying a designer dress from a bridal store (which I have nothing against), you will still be able to achieve sustainability with your wedding dress if you follow this last step.

If you decide to keep your wedding dress for a future family bride, make sure it’s professional dry cleaned using a specialist wedding dress dry cleaner. Once it’s been cleaned, box it up using a wedding dress box – look for wedding dress boxes which are made from breathable fabric and supplied with acid free tissue paper.

Where can I buy – clean and box up your dress at Wedding Dress Cleaning Specialist (Midlands) or LJ Laundry Services (Cornwall)

Preserve your wedding dress by using a wedding dress box to protect and store your wedding dress

Contributor – Sylvie Therezien, journalist