More and more bridal designers are adding sustainable practices into their business; some more than others. If this is important this is to you, you will need to ask the right questions before choosing your sustainable wedding dress. This is also vital if you’re an eco-bridal boutique. However, it is also a good idea to remember that adding some sustainable practices is also a step forward so don’t be put off if they cannot answer all these questions in the way you’d like. Small steps can lead to a big change! Here are 6 questions to ask your bridal designers.
Who made the dress?
It is more than likely that an independent bridal designer made your dress themselves! Or if not, outsourced it to someone local. This is great as not only will you know that standards are high and no one has been taken advantage of but also that, in the latter case, the designer is supporting local seamstresses. If they do manufacture overseas, ask who made the dress. How do they know that person has been paid a fair wage and works under safe and ethical conditions?
Where is the dress (or materials) shipped from?
Ask how far the wedding dress has travelled. If it is coming from the other side of the world, what is being done to offset the footprint? There are amazing indie designers all over the globe, creating dresses and shipping them to the UK meaning that they will need to be sent to you – so ask whether it is shipped using sustainable methods, such as carbon-neutral shipping or through a local supply chain. The same goes for the fabrics used in the dress.
What materials are used?
Ask what materials the dress is made of. Are they natural, organic, or recycled? For example, some designers use sequins that are plastic but are saved from landfill offsetting the plastic issue. Some designers use vegan silk. Some use offcuts from other pieces to create overlays.
What is done with any offcuts?
There can be a lot of waste when making wedding dresses so ask your designer what they do with it all. Some create appliques from offcuts of lace to use in flower girl dresses. Some send offcuts to charities who then make cushions or other products.
What packaging do you use?
The wedding dress may be sustainable but what about the packaging used; from the dress bags to tissue paper to hangers? And what are their recycling practices throughout the whole process?
What are your overall company policies about sustainability?
While everyone makes strides to be more sustainable, many can’t tick all the boxes. Ask the bridal designer what else they do that is sustainable or ethical. Maybe they give to charity or plant trees for every dress sold. Ask to see their sustainability pledge if they have one.
We recognise that not everyone will be doing all of this but the good news is that most independent designers do want to make a difference. And those will probably answer some of these questions on their websites as they will be proud to share their eco credentials. That’s why we have added sustainability to our GOWN member listings.