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Fast Fashion in the Wedding Industry (& The True Cost Trailer)

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 Fab-You-Bliss-Grey-To-Blue-Photography-Celia-Grace-Malala-Dress-31 Photo Credit: Grey to Blue Photography via Fab You Bliss 2. Kendal Leonard Designs 131008-Modern-Eco-Farm-Wedding-171 Photo Source: Kendal Leonard Designs 3. Pure Magnolia 11875082_10153537888593996_509601149155249177_o Photo Source: Pure Magnolia 4. Lindee Daniel  1017081_546437442081484_1217929619_n Photo Credit: Jason Hales 5.  Tara Lynn 12232788_1110007019016994_7351823104052684154_o Source: Tara Lynn 6. Minna Hepburn bridal2 Source: Minna Hepburn 7. Lena Medoyeff corey_3-1500x590 Photo Credit: Corey Bruce Photography 8. Samantha Sleeper 12489388_763788457099166_6314925933676784042_o Photo Credit: Mayden Photography 9. Rebecca Schoneveld 12111908_10206817152260041_8876589592622512717_n Photo Credit: Rachel Gomez Photography  10. Lakum  11004618_846305842127497_5322887586708841843_o Source: Lakum  11. Natalie Daemi  MIEGO+(SELECTS)+018 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!  

Stylishly Sustainable Wedding Inspiration – Houston, Texas

When our BSB Vendor, Smith House Photo, submitted this Sustainable Stylized Wedding Inspiration Shoot we were awe-stuck by the dainty, industrial, organic softness that came with such a big message: You don’t have to sacrifice beauty and details to have a sustainable wedding! Here is what she shared with us about their vision:  ‘Our goal in planning this inspiration shoot was to encompass all that Black Sheep Bride stands for: Gorgeous weddings that support and give back in the community. We wanted to show that simply by selecting vendors who GIVE BACK, your wedding day can make a huge impact.’   2015-06-13_0001 2015-06-13_0002 2015-06-13_00112015-06-13_0012 2015-06-13_0003 2015-06-13_0004 2015-06-13_0005 2015-06-13_0006 2015-06-13_0007 2015-06-13_0008 2015-06-13_0009 2015-06-13_0010 2015-06-13_0013 2015-06-13_0014 2015-06-13_0015 2015-06-13_0016 2015-06-13_0017 2015-06-13_0018 2015-06-13_0019 2015-06-13_0020   Participating Black Sheep Bride #VendorsThatGiveBack : Celia Grace Wedding Dresses We were so excited to include Celia Grace for our bridal gowns and we couldn’t possibly describe her business better than the designer does herself on the Celia Grace Website , “Each Celia Grace wedding dress is exquisitely handcrafted using vintage-inspired lace, exclusive hand woven silks, and stunning beading and detail work. Celia Grace wedding dresses are made in safe, fair, and empowering Fair Trade conditions and we give back locally with each dress sold. Our eco silks respect and protect the environment.” On top of that, each and every gown is totally swoon-worthy. Metalicious Metalicious is an incredible, hand made jewelry company that aims to leave the world a better place for our kids and future generations. Recycled materials are used in each step of the process, from the metals to the materials they’re shipped in. Not to mention, every single piece is gorgeous. Plan Our Day Event Services Inspired by the eco-friendly wedding trend, Samantha decided to push her creative boundaries to design a wedding that would reduce waste, and support sustainability without sacrificing a gorgeous detail. Vintage plates and silverware graced the picnic-style Bride and Groom table, and each place setting had a gorgeous stemmed glass. Scrap wood placecards were adorned with names and napkins were made of recycled materials. Smith House Photo From the moment the planning process began with Samantha, Becki knew her job of capturing the details would be easy. There is nothing more exciting than connecting with other vendors who have a heart for our community, giving back and perfectly planned details.   Other Local Participating #VendorsThatGiveBack: Floral Concepts by Cynthia Cynthia, Owner of Floral Concepts by Cynthia was an easy choice for our bouquets and floral arrangements. As a small, local business owner she aims to use in-season flowers to promote sustainability and always goes above and beyond for her clients. Jolly Roger Sweets Every couple wants something unique at their wedding, and Jolly Rogers Sweets is bound to be making appearances in the upcoming wedding season. This newly launched business is Houston’s first bicycle cart that serves vegan raw cookie dough! Jolly Rogers also makes delicious Jams that would be a perfect wedding favor. Allison Katherine Designs It’s no secret that calligraphy is a hot topic in the wedding world, but Allison Katherine is not your average calligrapher. While her paper goods are beautiful, we especially love her recycled mediums and unique signage. Plus, we never turn down the opportunity to work with another local business! Tout Suite Ever since this bakery opened up in our neighborhood, we’ve been fans. They use support local farmers, serve on recycled paper goods, and have a menu that tastes as good as it looks. Model: Annie C Patten

Guest Post: Karissa Barber | 3 Tips to Finding Ethical Bridesmaid Dresses

guestpostkarissa

Bridal fashion is a huge industry with many manufacturers, designers and retailers all trying to tell you, the bride what you should wear and how you should style your bridesmaids. Your wedding is about your style and what you find important. Do you not feel dressed up unless you are wearing heels? Does the idea of a strapless gown make you gag? Do you break out in hives in lace? Ditch all the wedding magazines and fashion suggestions on theknot.com and think about what you want your day to say about you. Since you are visiting The Black Sheep Bride, it’s safe to assume that you want to give back to the world around you. That is the message you want to send about who you are by the way you plan your wedding. Way to go! One way to give back while still retaining your sense of style is to choose bridesmaid dresses that are eco-friendly and ethical. Ethically sourced online boutiques are all over the Internet and make great fashion AND fair trade available wherever you call home. Say good-bye to the local cookie-cutter bridesmaid dresses and hello to a style that is all your own.   3 tips for finding ethical bridesmaid dresses   1. Buy a fair Trade Dress Typing in a quick Google search with “fair trade” will bring up a lot of options, which is a great thing. It’s exciting to see so many people paying attention to the wages of the artisans, seamstresses and garment factory workers that produce the clothing we put on our backs. Here are a couple of our favorite fair trade options.
  1. Mata Trader
  2. People Tree
  3. Imagine Goods
  4. Nomads
  5. Passion Lilie
_96A9666__13187.1412476081.1280.1280 2. Search for organic cotton or made in the UK/USA Organic or USA/UK are great ways to keep your carbon footprint to a minimum. Without the use of chemicals to grow the cotton, you are reducing the amount of run-off pollution needed to produce the dresses your bridesmaids will wear. And by purchasing dresses that are made in the USA/UK, you are ensuring that the company is paying their employees equitably. Here are a few USA companies that caught our eye:

1. Dainty Jewell

2. ModCloth

3. EcoSkin

  3. Try gently used bridesmaid dresses Usually worn once for a couple of hours, bridesmaid dresses can have a new life in your wedding. Instead of filling a landfill, you have an opportunity to revive gowns that are finished their first wedding by making them apart of your’s. This is a great environmental choice as well as a budget friendly one, since you are not paying full price. Here are several used bridesmaid dress listings:

1. Tradesy

2. Used Only Once

3. I Do Gowns

There are so many more options out there for sustainable, ethical and eco-conscious fashion. Do a little research before you take the plunge. And ask your bridesmaid for their input! After all, the best bridesmaid dress is the one they will wear again. Happy hunting!   ‘Karissa Barber is an actress turned mother of 4 navigating life’s adventures of adoption, intentional living and the stage. Adopting from the country of Uganda changed her views on how and where her clothing is made. Her passion has become fair trade and eco-friendly fashion on a teacher salary budget. She writes about fair trade fashion, adoption/motherhood and central Florida fun at www.theactingmom.com.’