If you’re planning your wedding with sustainability in mind, there are ways to reduce the eco-footprint of your big day. One way is to choose a sustainable wedding dress or suit. A wedding dress is usually worn only once and is often made of resource-intensive materials like silk. Wearing something old or borrowed makes the most sense from a sustainable point of view.
If you do want a made-to-order dress or suit, there are a number of designers working in the sustainable field who use natural materials. On the surface, a made-to-order item may seem extravagant, but it is an investment piece that will last a lifetime. At the end of its life, the item will naturally biodegrade with no microfiber issues.
Here are some of the best sources to look for environmentally-friendly purchases.
Women’s sustainable wedding dresses
Pre-worn wedding dresses
The best thing you can do for the environment when it comes to choosing a wedding dress is to find something pre-existing.
Once-Wed is an online store that was launched in 2008. When searching for a wedding dress, you are able to filter your search by material, size, style, price, designer and more. The dresses are like new and go beyond tradition and trends. On the website are also many resources to use for inspiration and tools to plan a dream wedding.
Still White is a large resale site for bridal gowns. If you’re on the lookout for pre-worn dresses, they have over 53,000 to choose from. You can save up to 80% on popular brands, such as Vera Wang.
You can chat about a dress with the seller, exchange photos, confirm measurements and negotiate a price before pressing that buy button and purchasing your dress securely online.
Remodeled wedding dresses
Real Green Dress
Erica Arnold started Real Green Dress, a vintage bridal studio, in 2012. It is based on a converted farm in Hampshire. Brides have two collections to choose from. Pure is original restored vintage gowns and Evolution is a collection of remodeled gowns made from vintage fabrics. The least invasive processes are used to clean and restore the pieces.
Reformation is an L.A. brand that came into being in 2009 and has a commitment to responsible production practices. The company is moving towards being entirely zero-waste and is careful about choosing low-impact fabrics.
Close to 15% of their products are made from “deadstock” fabrics. They buy verified over-ordered, leftover fabric from fabric warehouses and other designers.
Vintage pieces from wholesalers are also repurposed into new pieces. They emphasize “the perfect fit” and creating stunning silhouettes that accentuate the natural curves of women of many shapes and sizes.
New wedding dresses
Mother of Pearl
Amy Powney, Creative Director of Mother of Mother of Pearl in the U.K., struggled to find a sustainable wedding dress when she got engaged in 2017. Designing her own dress was the birth of Mother of Pearl’s bridal collection.
Each piece is made-to-order and crafted from organic peace silk. Silkworms don’t suffer in the creation of this silk. The whole company has an eco ethos with the London studio running on green energy and using compostable packaging.
Wear Your Love
Wear Your Love is a Northern California based bridal brand that specializes in dreamy, romantic wedding dresses made from silky soft bamboo or organic cotton. The dresses embody femininity in a classic, understated way.
You can buy these dresses online and all you have to do is give your custom measurements so they will fit perfectly. These dresses move away from the stiff look that is unforgivably difficult to wear.
The emphasis is on beautifully wearable organic fabrics and perfectly stretchy dresses that leave boning, buttons, zippers and clasps behind.
On Etsy you will find vintage and handmade wedding dresses. This global online marketplace is for everyone with its variety of styles and sizes. Every Etsy shop has customer reviews to help you make your decision.
It’s pretty cool that you can buy from smaller businesses and you’re sure to find something in your price range that’s eco-friendly and ethical. You can also find dresses for bridesmaids or flowergirls and wedding accessories. A lovely shabby chic rose flowergirl dress with a full, puffy skirt available in white or ivory is a best seller.
Pure Magnolia is based in North Vancouver, Canada and produces made-to-order wedding dresses. These dresses are not your traditional white wedding gown in that they incorporate colorful patterns, Indian silks, European laces, organic cotton and vintage fabrics into the designs.
Each dress is tailor-made to perfectly fit the bride’s priorities. The company is happy to work with you remotely if you don’t live in the Vancouver area.
Christy Dawn designs are handmade by local artisans in Los Angeles, California.
“Deadstock” and vintage fabric is used to minimize the environmental footprint.
Everyone in the Christy Dawn family is involved in the creation of the dresses and only a limited number are made. They reflect a feminine, boho vibe, inspired by the lifestyle and landscape of California.
Indiebride dresses are created by a London-based team. Their heirloom quality gowns are exquisitely handmade. Individuality takes priority over bridal trends in classic silhouettes with timeless elegance.
The dresses are bohemian inspired and will suit environmentally conscious and free-spirited brides who are looking for a precious dress with its own story. Eco-friendly silk and lace are used with zero waste cutting techniques and local manufacturing.
Rented bridal gowns
The trend for renting bridal gowns is on the rise and eco-conscious brides can save a fortune by renting. This means beautiful dresses can be loved and worn over and over instead of gathering dust in the back of a closet.
Girl Meets Dress
Girl Meets Dress is a large luxury dress hire service with an extensive bridal section. Renting one of their designer gowns is a great way to save, especially as it gives you the option to walk down the aisle in Amanda Wakely or Marchesa.
Rent the Runway
Rent The Runway is a good place to shop for sustainable wedding gowns, bridesmaids dresses and accessories. Customer service is good and the commitment is to send you the right fit, with a no-stress return, cleaning and insurance policy. At the end of every season, the company donates dresses to organizations like Operation Prom.
Men’s sustainable wedding suits
Times are changing and pre-worn and rental suits are gaining traction and becoming more commonplace. However, certain men still enjoy wearing custom-made suits they can wear for a lifetime.
Zeus Vintage is a U.K. website where men can shop vintage designer clothing from the 1940s to the 1990s. Amongst the amazing items, you may be able to find a suit with a difference. Iconic labels are found alongside handmade pieces.
Vestiare Collective is a luxury brand resale site with some formal menswear on offer. You can search by color, size, condition, materials used and designer. There are many wool suits on offer by well-known designers.
The Real Real
The Real Real was launched in 2011 and is a second-hand retailer dedicated to developing a circular fashion ecosystem. It sells luxury pre-owned clothing brands with a focus on vetting the clothing to ensure it is 100% authentic.
Men’s new shirts and suits
Arthur and Henry
Arthur and Henry sell quality men’s shirts in cotton fabrics certified as 100% organic. They are beautifully made, fit well and last for years. They are not only good for the environment but for the people who have had a hand in making them, from farmers to factory workers, weavers and dyers.
Brave Gentleman was the first vegan lifestyle menswear brand in the world. It is doing its part to develop clothing that helps the environment while also delivering high-quality clothing.
It openly supports a slow design process, uses vegan material for all its clothes and promotes ethical labor for workers. One of their ethical men’s suits is made from 100% Italian-milled bamboo. It may cost more but it will last a lifetime.
Moss Bros in the U.K. specializes in suits for men for formal occasions. It sells eco suits that are probably one of the most ethical suits on the market. They are cut from a recycled polyester blend with canvas and trims consciously chosen for their low environmental impact. The eco suits come in a number of different fabrics, styles, fits and designs.
Yardsmen is a U.K. company that offers men hirewear as well as ready-to-wear or bespoke services. The company has invested in classically understated hirewear with a modern twist. They never use synthetic polyblend fabric and their Savile Row quality suits are made from the best British fabrics, sourced directly from the mills.
Wearing separates to create the bridal look
The White Collection
The White Collection, by Roland Mouret embodies his philosophy which is that modern brides should wear different separates to create a bridal look. Each piece can be re-styled with other looks or re-worn for other occasions. All of his dresses, separates and jumpsuits have longevity and will work hard long after the wedding day.
A final word
Finding a sustainable wedding dress or suit maybe a little more difficult but it is becoming easier all the time. Eco fashion used to have the stereotype of itchy fabrics and beige color palettes but now there are plenty of ethical brands that prioritize environmentally-friendly thinking and practices but don’t sacrifice style.