By Mariam Ghaidan
Wedding season is approaching! Some brides are preparing their “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” while others are stressing over venues and finding perfect organic flower arrangements. But no matter who the bride may be, there’s one key factor that every woman focuses on most on their big day: The Dress.
The sustainable design philosophy that has permeated the mainstream world of luxury fashion has also entered the realm of bridal wear, and there’s now an increasing number of designers determined to make gorgeous gowns that don’t cost the earth. Here’s our selection of who we feel are the best and most sustainable wedding dress designers for 2015.
1. Sohad Acouri
As eco-friendliness is still sometimes seen as an unusual approach to fashion, especially in the Middle East. But one pioneer of ‘eco-couture’ is Lebanese-born designer Sohad Acouri, one of the many shining stars in the UAE fashion scene.
His collections, which have been showcased in Dubai‘s Fashion Week Middle East and other major couture event across the Middle East and Europe, have left a sparkling impression. His distinctive creations are made with the use of gorgeous but eco friendly fabrics, along with elaborate embroidery and embellishment. Acouri also manages to recycle some of his own fabrics, remoulding and reshaping them into new designs with respect to the theme of his next collection.
Ann Wiberg Bridal Couture is both poetic and contemporary. Their unique wedding gowns are imbued with romance and created with a symphony of laces, embroideries and silk materials. The personalised white robes are all sewn by hand to capture the individual beauty of each bride.
Given the uniqueness and beauty of each dress made by Trash Couture, it’s no surprise that Hollywood celebs place their orders with Ann Wiberg. In fact, the popular TV series, Desperate Housewives even commissioned the couturier to design Susan’s wedding dress for the episode, where the main character was to marry Mike.
3. Leila Hafzi
The future of ethical and eco-conscious bridal design has found just the lady to lead the way to ethical sustainability.
Leila Hafzi‘s latest bridal range is called “Royaye Sefid” (Bright Dreams), and features a stunning line of innovative bridal dresses and evening gowns for a grand entrance. Its classic fabrics are lovingly woven and tailored into uniquely delicate creations with exciting new textures appearing in the form of hand-made silk lace, embroidered silk and beaded details.
As per her trademark, the designer has again enhanced the collection by mixing elements from different cultures. The inspiration for the Royaye Sefid V collection comes from the designer’s mix of childhood memories: the Norwegian snowflake and the Iranian wild rose. These memories have been interpreted through the intricate handwork of the Santal women in Bangladesh and their excellent craftwork, using local natural silks created in beautiful crochet.
Featured in top fashion publications such as ‘Brides’, ‘Elle’ and ‘Vogue’ this Finnish brand was started up by designer Minna Hepburn. Despite her lack of formal training, Minna translated her inspiration from living in the English countryside and admiration for vintage clothing into an eco friendly clothing line that is now world renowned.
Local manufacturing and zero waste pattern cutting techniques are just two ways she ensures her dresses are sustainable, but she also makes sure each garment is handcrafted and embellished with sustainable, organic, and recycled textiles. Minna also provides her customers with the option of having their dress custom-made using the sustainable/vegan friendly fabrics of their choice.
Hand-made from start to finish, high-end designer bridal brand Sanyukta Shrestha combines sustainability with elegance and luxury. The collection is comprised of delicately designed dresses using organic fair-trade fabrics flowing into eloquent shapes. Sanyukta, the winner of several national and international awards for her refined pieces, is devoted to empowering women in developing countries by giving them regular work at a fair wage. The designer has also been a pioneer in encouraging sustainability and eco-friendliness in the bridal fashion industry. So popular has she become, one of her masterpieces is kept at The Fashion Museum in Bath alongside other renowned designers of the world.
One of LA’s most sought after eco-friendly designers, Deborah Lindquist provides a range of clothing including her ‘eco-couture’ line which features a bridal collection all produced using an array of recycled, sustainable, and organic fabrics. Deborah has earned the title ‘Green Queen’ due to her being able to create such stunning pieces while remaining devoted to her passion for the environment.
She has designed for myriad celebrities including Sharon Stone, Pink, Jessica Alba, Christina Aguilera, and Rihanna to name a few, and her work has appeared in several shows and publications such as Elle, In Style, WWD, and the Rock&Roll Bride. Her wedding gowns, which are made to order upon request upon the client’s specifications, are created using a mix of vintage/upcycled fabrics and organic or sustainable fabrics with embellishments consisting of semi-precious stones, crystals or vintage jewels.
In addition to her exquisite designs and eco-friendly approach, a percentage of the business’ profits are donated to environmentally conscious and health organizations.
Best known for their Boho-chic, 70s inspired maxi dresses, this California based clothes-maker has now branched out into wedding design. As usual, their creations are all crafted from deadstock materials–that is to say, wasted fabric from the fashion industry that would otherwise be burned or thrown away. The result is super cool dresses for both brides and their bridesmaids that can be dyed, restyled and worn again and again.