April 6, 2009

Adventures in Making an Eco-Friendly Wedding Dress [Glamorous Fashion with Organic Fabric]

I was recently approached by an earth-minded bride-to-be who wanted her choice of wedding gown to be as organic and unique as the rest of her life (and the rest of her wedding!) Kristin was frustrated by the online choices, which were either out of her budget or out of style -“Potato-sack Dresses”- and she ultimately wanted to support a local designer. She wanted something contemporary and classic, but didn’t want to feed the corporate wedding machine. I happily agreed to work with her to create a one-of-a-kind, eco-conscious wedding dress for her June nuptials among the Redwoods.

There are many different ways to go about creating an earth-friendly wedding dress, beginning with where you source the materials. One way is to deconstruct vintage gowns or use vintage fabric to create a new design from recycled materials. Another is to order organic fabrics online to create a new gown from consciously produced materials. Kristen opted for ordering new organic cotton and hemp-silk fabrics, so I set out to find the best resource on the web. Although there are tons of producers, I liked Near Sea Naturals’ online store and variety the best, and in addition to a pretty rockin’ “Yard Sale” discount section, they allowed us to order samples of any materials for a small fee. Another good resource is Green Sage Fabric Store, and while searching online for organic bridal fabrics, I also stumbled across Harmony Art Fabrics. They sell the cutest patterned organic fabric in funky, modern designs, perfect for anything from pillows to a new outfit.

Kristen and I met to discuss the style of the dress and talked about the prefect silhouette and material for the simple and elegant design. The samples arrived in a few days, and when we agreed on a beautiful organic cotton poplin and a herringbone light knit for the dress, she was able to order as little as a yard of each. The only slight snaffoo was that the fabric we wanted was on backorder, so we have a wait a little longer to receive it, so make sure you order earlier than you think! I will keep you posted on the progress of the dress as the fabric arrives and the big day nears.

Unique handmade wedding gowns made using recycled material and organic fabrics.

If you are interested in a one-of-a-kind dress of your own, contact me or ask your favorite local designer if they could custom make the earth-minded wedding dress of your dreams, without having to brave bridal shops or roll the dice with an online order. And you’ll be sure no one else will be wearing the same dress;-)

My sister Sarah's wedding dress was made from with parts of my mom's wedding dress and vintage lace of my Grandmother's from the 1890's!

Rachel Znerold is an artist and independent fashion designer living the good life in San Francisco, CA. www.rachelzart.com

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