This past fall Black Sheep Bride was able to participate at the 2015 New York Bridal Fashion Week. I went with the intention of showcasing the charitable, sustainable stories, designers, people and products that are not often highlighted at events like these. At each interaction I introduced myself as such, ‘Hi! My name is Danielle. I own an ethical and socially conscious wedding publication, called Black Sheep Bride. We are at NY Bridal Fashion Week to highlight ethical wedding designers and domestic labels that have hearts for giving back to others and the environment. Is that something your company does?’ It was not to my surprise that most brands were without a giving back element and were mainly manufactured overseas (‘in Asia’, as most would say). My intention wasn’t to put them on the spot, make them uncomfortable, feel guilty, or let them think they were anything less than ‘FABULOUS’, however I did want to start a conversation, bring the topic to the forefront of their consciousness and possibly initiate internal reassessment of their supply chain strategies. So that had me thinking, why isn’t the wedding fashion world comfortable answering these questions? I believe there is a pretty simple explanation: Because they aren’t being asked! Blind fashion consumerism says ‘Wow, that is a gorgeous dress! I must have it! Can I afford it?’ and nothing else. With the average wedding costing over $30-80k (depending on the market) couples, up until now, have been more concerned with the cost they had to pay to have the dress, that most didn’t think to ask about the cost/lives others had to pay to make their jaw-dropping wedding gown a reality.
With that said, take a moment and watch the trailer for The True Cost (releasing in May of 2016), a documentary examining the Fast Fashion world we have come to love and learn about the impact it makes on others and the environment. Deemed the second dirtiest industry, first being oil, the environment and others have paid a heavy price for this over-consumption.
With over 80 billion pieces of clothing a year created by ‘Fast Fashion’ this does not exclude the wedding garment industry. I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t guilty of this myself, I am currently rocking a gnarly Mom-Top-Bun, tattered Old Navy jeans and a t-shirt I’m certain wasn’t ethically produced. This isn’t a post to make you feel like un-ethical chump change. We can’t just empty all of our closets and go on an ethical shopping spree, well at least I can’t… It’s a long term process, that requires conscious thought and effort. In the past two years, I have been buying less clothing, investing in ethical brands, and creating new styles out of my old options, in an effort to be more intentional with my consumer choices. This post is a wedding industry conversation starter with one topic: How can begin to change Fast Fashion in the Wedding Industry? Let’s start by celebrating those designers that are making a difference in their manufacturing, and sourcing strategies.
We are excited by all of the recent buzz and up and coming fair trade, ethical, domestically sourced and designed wedding labels growing in the market today and we think they deserve to be celebrated as well. Here are 11 designers we LOVE:
1. Celia Grace
Photo Source: Kendal Leonard Designs
Photo Source: Pure Magnolia
Photo Credit: Jason Hales
5. Tara Lynn
Source: Tara Lynn
Source: Minna Hepburn
Photo Credit: Corey Bruce Photography
Photo Credit: Mayden Photography
Photo Credit: Rachel Gomez Photography
11. Natalie Daemi
Photo Source: Natalie Daemi
Now that you’ve been inspired by these lovely designers, reach out to them and start your own conversation about a domestically made, or ethical/fair trade dress today!