In the past, most brides were limited in their options; you had local stores you could shop at, and they had relatively limited ranges and sizes, and you just had to accept the card you were dealt and buy the best dress they had, or find a custom dressmaker if you could afford it.
I asked my mother why she chose the gown she wore down the aisle, and her response was, "it was this or a pink midi. There weren't any other dresses that were considered 'wedding attire' in the store back then."
Fast forward to recent times, and we're living in an incredible time for choosing a wedding dress. No stores near you? No worries, shop online at any store, anywhere. No custom dressmakers near you? That's fine; you can use virtual consultations and get a custom wedding gown created online from the comfort of your home. We all know how excellent online shopping is, you don't need me to explain it, but within the scope of the e-com world, we're seeing the waste and damage the fashion industry causes increase year over year.
It's no secret the fashion industry, specifically fast fashion, has done near insurmountable harm to our planet, and unfortunately, it doesn't feel like it's slowing down just yet. But there's a whole range of brands in bridal doing their bit to ensure they don't add to the harm. If you're looking for a sustainable bridal brand for your wedding day, these are the questions you'll want to be answered before purchasing your gown.
If a brand claims to be sustainable, ask questions.
It's easy to say you're a sustainable brand or focusing on sustainability. Then, in reality, maybe it's just giving away all your excess fabric scraps or mass sales on overstocked gowns, but is that REALLY sustainable? Not particularly, no.
When you find a brand that you like, and they make claims around sustainability, ask them to elaborate for you. Brands that are genuinely focussing on doing less environmental harm will be able to give you answers that make sense without being vague or giving the classic 'smoke and mirrors' answers.
You can ask questions like:
Where are your fabrics from?
What do you do with excess fabric scraps?
Are your workers paid a living wage?
Considering a brand's supply chain, energy usage, and the materials or fabrics they use is essential if you are after an ethical and sustainable brand.
One of the most important questions to ask a brand is where the gown was created, not designed.
It's a common smoke-screen tactic for brands to proclaim their gowns are 'designed in *enter country name here*,' but they're neglecting to add the important part: where is it 'made in..'? If a gown were designed AND made in the same place, a brand would say so.
Knowing where your garment is crafted will play a part in whether it was ethically created.
Ultimately, shopping for a sustainably and ethically made gown will be more complicated than just choosing any dress. However, if it's important to you, it'll be worth the extra effort when walking down the aisle in a gown you are delighted with.