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Sustainable wedding dresses: the new conscious bride.


Have you had to cancel or postpone your wedding for the COVID-19? Are you getting married in 2021 and the period of confinement has made you change the way you think and act? Maybe you just have more time to think these days, and you are considering how to organize a more conscious wedding. Maybe, you are looking for a more sustainable wedding dress.

Photo: Angie Couple. Styling: Marta Toviv. Vintage dress: L’Arca

If that’s the case, we hope that soon, you can think of your wedding with the same enthusiasm as you did before. Remember, THE ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT of your wedding on the planet has become important.

There is nothing less sustainable than a wedding dress or veil if you only wear them for a single day of your life. Then, one ends up shoving them into a closet, never to see the light of day again.

There are wedding planners who are specialized in sutainable weddings and find eco-friendly ways to incorporate unique signage into your wedding or event. Think about the ecologic footprint of your celebration, while choosing your vendors.

In this post, we can offer you some clues on reusing fashion, and help you focus on how to choose and wear your wedding dress more sustainably.

WEDDINGS CHANGE: A more sustainable dress

“Slow” (sustainable) dress versus “industrial” dress

Fast Fashion, also known as industrialized fashion, has spread in the last decade and has sadly been implanted in bridal fashion. International chains have forcefully entered the profitable bridal sector, and have almost completely taken over.

Wedding dresses are known to follow the annual trends. After a trend has died out, the bridal designs become outdated, and not desired by the mass public. Due to this, any dress surplus ends up in landfills, simply clogging up our home.

Were you aware that around 80% of the wedding dresses that are sold are made in China?

Unlike fast fashion, SLOW FASHION takes care of every detail, making it both ecological and socially acceptable. To put it simply, they are garments that last.

Photo: Milena Zeloni. Sustainable clothing: L’Arca

“The crux of the matter is how to feel unique, but at the same time safe not only for the planet but for those who produce the dress”

Dresses for the New Conscious Bride

There is still a lot of uncertainty about the impact that coronavirus will have in the bridal world. Everything points to the fact that it will change the way we are a consumer and protector of the planet.

We will face consumer acts with less frivolity and with more environmental awareness.

Perhaps, events will have far fewer guests. The frivolous tendency to marry on the opposite side of the world will surely stop. Perhaps you, the reader, will become more cautious with your choice of providers.

Some wedding-planners have been offering sustainable wedding planning for a long time, where design, space, catering, or flowers leave a smaller carbon footprint on the planet.

After COVID19, think more about your safety. If you choose a small workshop, the treatment will be more personalized. They will adapt to you and your safety. The dress will have gone through fewer hands. In short, it is about feeling unique but safe and calm with the choice of dress.

Many brides opt for a “ready-to-wear” dress in order to avoid stress, but one must find the right provider and reflect on how the dress was created. Continue reading, and we will give you some clues so you can better choose the dress before your wedding, and you can also give it a second chance afterward.

BEFORE THE WEDDING: How to choose a sustainable wedding dress?

If you want to buy your dress more consciously and positively to reduce your environmental footprint, then we give you ideas to select your store or atelier for your wedding dress.

RE-THINKING THE WEDDING DRESS: Choose a vintage wedding dress or a new one?

A vintage wedding dress: The most sustainable option?

A far more ethical trend is to buy second-hand dresses, to give the products a fresh opportunity. In recent years, we have witnessed a boom in FASHION VINTAGE, well regarded by millennials. There are old dresses of design and very careful preparation, which can be updated with contemporary accessories.

On platforms like ETSY, you can find vintage wedding dresses. Some companies resell current second-hand wedding dresses, which have only been used once, such as, or shops linked to NGOs such as Humana.

There are also lace lingerie dresses from the 30s and 40s, or rhinestones from the 20s, which were not wedding dresses before, which can be given a new life. It is about recovering authentic vintage pieces that had another use, such as summer walk or dance dresses. At L’Arca we are specialists in transforming 1920s dresses and Edwardian dresses into bridal gowns.

Sustainable vintage wedding dress: L’Arca. Photos: Angie Couple

Buying a vintage dress has become a reaction against mass fast fashion, and also a way to have a unique piece without necessarily spending a lot of money

Cassidy and Benet

Do you prefer a NEW and sustainable wedding dress?

Not all brides identify with vintage style. Normally, you want to wear a dress during one of the most important days of your life. Fortunately, there are more and more eco-friendly designers who are designing sustainable wedding dresses.

Photo: Milena Zeloni. Sustainable clothing: L’Arca.

What is a sustainable wedding dress?

Sustainable fashion is associated with caring for the environment, but it is much more. Not only fabrics and materials must be respectful of the planet. Local trade is also preserved and local workshops maintain their artisan production. Ethical production that improves people’s lives is valued.

How can I take these theoretical factors into account when choosing my wedding dress? Think about the following specific aspects when choosing the designer of your outfit and accessories. We can offer you some answers:

1.-Manufacture of low environmental impact

Some designers focus on ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY design and tailoring, both in the choice of non-aggressive dyes and in the use of sustainable fabrics.

Ask where the fabrics have been made and where the lace or tulle of the dresses are made. If you don’t see transparency, discard, and look for other clothing signs. The closer the provenance or designation of origin, the better.


2.-Local design of the wedding dress

A small bridal workshop in your city will be a more sustainable option than a multi-brand store of great bridal fashion brands.

Buy in small independent shops and make sure they have their workshop or sell local products.

You can make modifications and add creativity to the dress. You can create a unique piece that uses fewer resources and has more value and LASTING.


3.-Ethical preparation of the wedding dress

For a dress to be sustainable, not only is the fabric important, but you also have to look at its production. If you want your dress to be locally made, go to a bridal atelier or dressmaker, where they will design your dress to measure. The way of working, the environment and the working conditions of its workers are important so you know how your dress is made.


4.-Upcycling (recycling) of fabrics and lace

Designing your wedding dress from recycled fabrics or incorporating old elements is one way to have a sustainable dress.

Circling fashion is part of sustainable fashion. Using existing fabrics means less impact on the planet because those fabrics have a fresh life again.

If you have inherited an ancient dress, some ancient fabric, or lace, you can incorporate them into the design. Ask at the workshop of your choice. That will make the dress more unique.

There may be artisan lace close to where you live. The towns of Camariñas and Arenys de Mar, for example, have a long tradition of handmade bobbin lace.

If you incorporate local crafts into clothing, you are collaborating to promote the country’s internal economy and the enduring time of its cultural heritage, in disappearing by FAST-FASHION.

Renting your wedding dress: an economical and sustainable option

Finally, consider the option of renting your wedding dress. It is very widespread in America, and that some companies are offering in Spain. You can rent a dress that has been previously used by other brides or opt for being the first to wear it.

If you want to rent also two options: reserve the dress you have chosen and that, from the signing of the contract, no bride will be before you or opt for a so-called OPEN RENTAL. That is the one in which the company, and always with a sufficient time frame, can rent the same dress to different brides throughout the year.

The company has its stores in different parts of Spain, so that, wherever you live, it will not be difficult for you to find a store.

AFTER THE WEDDING: a fresh opportunity for your wedding dress

Are you going to lock your dress in the closet after the wedding? Brides are increasingly concerned with having a sustainable wardrobe. Your responsibility with your wedding dress can go one step further. If you make sure that the fabrics and embroidery are of good quality, in an artisan way and good finishes, it is likely to last for many years.

In fact, in Spain it is a tradition that some accessories pass from mothers to daughters, such as bridal veils, but why not also recycle the dress?

Below we give you ideas so that your wedding dress continues on the fashion circuit

“There is a vast amount of resources in each dress and we would have to find a way for that garment to provide another service”

Gema Gómez, director of Slow Fashion Next

Sell or donate your wedding dress

If you don’t want to wait to leave your wedding dress in inheritance, or simply take up a lot of space in your house, the easiest option to keep the dress on the fashion circuit is to sell or donate it.

There are many specialized websites for sale between individuals or wedding dress rental stores that may be interested in recovering them.

Although the amount you receive is much less than what you paid, think about the benefit for the sustainability of the planet.

It is also possible to donate your dress. The English organization “Brides do good” encourages all brides to donate their wedding dresses and they see to it that they are resold and have a new life, at far more affordable prices.

Re-use the wedding dress informally

Choose a dress that you can reuse. If the dress is plain but with a lace over-dress, wear the dress alone. A two-piece bridal gown is also easier to reuse, you can wear a skirt for dinner, or the blouse with jeans.

Yes, when choosing the dress you can also wear it again for a party or a wedding, a ’20s type wedding dress, ideal for a more civil wedding.

With the right accessories, any dress can gain a casual-chic look, with a white shirt, a blazer, or sneakers. Before any event or party, think first about what you have in the closet, before buying a new garment. The one that already exists is always more sustainable.

Photo: Celia Suárez. Model: Mafiarty. 1920s casual dress: L’Arca

Dye the wedding dress

A great option is to dye the wedding dress in colors, having previously transformed it or not, with NATURAL DYES. Temperley in London was the first firm to renew dresses from previous seasons with trendy colors that season.

In Spain, the firm Camale-on offers a specific service for dyeing wedding dresses, with natural dyes, made with ingredients that come directly from nature, such as seeds, leaves, and plants, which they also incorporate into their creations.

Photos: Courtesy of Camale-on


The wedding dress is THE DRESS in capital letters, perhaps the most important of your life, created for a day and full of symbolism.

We encourage you to choose your dress to shine and feel special on your wedding day but also to do it consciously so it has precisely a greater symbolic load.

Photo: Genia Valla

“The present looks in the mirror of the past. In those beautiful things that make us feel that the soul endures.”

Everything in your wedding dress is important, the custom design, the choice of lace, the details handmade by a local embroiderer, etc.

It is the quality of all those details that make your dress something special.

If your sustainable wedding dress is quality made, you can reuse it, recycle it or leave it as an inheritance. Its ecological footprint will be more respectful of the environment and with the people who have worked in it. Subsequent generations will be proud to have it.

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