Choosing the fabric for your gown and bridesmaid dresses can be a maddening process. The fabric should reflect your wedding’s theme, the season, and your unique sense of style. For an eco-friendly wedding, you also have to consider where the fabric comes from and how it’s made. Most conventional fabrics have a negative impact on the environment, and in some cases this impact is significant and frightening. For example, I recently learned that rare earth platinum is used to make conventional denim. True, each pair of jeans requires a very small amount of platinum, but think of all the jeans in the world! Platinum mining is environmentally unsound, not to mention the humanitarian consequences of mostly unregulated conditions. You can make a real tangible impact by choosing eco-friendly, cruelty free fabrics (remember: vintage is always eco-friendly and cruelty-free). The best part? You don’t have to sacrifice beauty or quality—these fabrics are sumptuous and chic.
Conventional silk is made from the cocoons of silk worms—dead silk worms. Because the worms are harvested when they’re still inside the cocoons, they must be steamed or gassed before the manufacturing process begins. 3,000 silk worms are killed for every pound of manufactured silk. Many of us think, “well, they’re only worms.” For some reason we tend to value the lives of some animals more than we value others. But even if you can’t bring yourself to feel sad about worms, they don’t live in a vacuum—they’re members of a complex and delicate ecosystem, an ecosystem that suffers when millions of its residents disappear.
Fortunately, there is a sustainable and cruelty-free alternative. Peace silk is still made from silkworm cocoons but they’re harvested after the worms have emerged. After collecting discarded cocoons from the forest floor, fair trade workers in India weave the silk by hand. You can order gorgeous, designer peace silk gowns from Atelier Tammam in the UK.
Amour Sans Anguish
This Etsy vendor creates stunning shabby chic bridesmaids dresses and wedding gowns out of found fabric. The fabric is draped over a vintage slip, and then sewn to match exact measurements. These gowns are whimsical and individualist. The seller will work with brides and bridesmaids to create a custom dress that suits the wearer’s style. I love how these dresses highlight frayed edges, lace, and pretty vintage ruffles.
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