Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi's secret wedding in July 2020 was very unique compared to other royals - and one of the major differences was that Beatrice chose to upcycle a dress from the Queen. The royal is not the only one to champion sustainability on her wedding day; Lyst reports that searches for "vintage", "second hand" or "pre-owned" wedding dresses are up 38% year on year.
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This is not surprising considering wedding dresses are by default, unsustainable. You'll likely only wear it once, while materials often used for bridal dresses such as silk are the most resource-intensive and thus have the biggest impact on the environment. Beyond the dress, wedding waste runs the gamut from food to single-use decorations and creates more carbon emissions than one person produces in an entire year.
Luckily, a burgeoning group of bridal designers are making a powerful call to arms and bringing environmentally conscious styles to the fore. Here's our edit of the very best to buy for your eco wedding now...
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Venetia Dress, £605, Reformation
LA brand Reformation has been carbon neutral since 2015, and its eco-friendly ethos spans everything from zero-waste production practices to low-impact fabrics, while it publishes quarterly reports outlining its sustainability goals. The bridal line is also available to shop in its store in London's Westbourne Grove as well as online.
Image: Benjamin Wheeler
Instead of opting for a brand new wedding dress for her nuptials to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Princess Beatrice wore a Norman Hartnell gown that was loaned to her from the Queen. The royal bride paired her dress, which Her Majesty originally wore to a state dinner in Rome in 1961, with the Queen Mary diamond fringe tiara, which the Queen wore on her own royal wedding day. Sentimental and sustainable! Etsy is home to a range of stunning vintage bridal gowns just like Princess Beatrice's.
Mother of Pearl
Mother of Pearl's bridal line was born out of creative director Amy Powney's struggle to find her own ethical wedding dress. Now, the brand offers made-to-order wedding dresses in a bid to avoid wastage, while pieces are crafted from organic peace silk which doesn't harm the silkworm in production, and designs are intended to be worn more than once. The wider company encompasses a similar eco-friendly agenda; the London studio is solar powered, uses compostable packaging and offers vegetarian lunches with local seasonal produce.
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Meghan Markle demonstrated her ongoing commitment to sustainable fashion when she changed into a Stella McCartney gown ahead of her evening wedding reception at Frogmore House. Stella was one of the first designers in the industry to embrace a sustainable business model and said: "I design clothes that are meant to last. I believe in creating pieces that are not going to get burnt, that are not going to landfills and that are not going to damage the environment." Her bridal line is stocked online at various retailers including MyTheresa, Net-A-Porter and Harvey Nichols, and can also be in found in Stella McCartney stores.
Harlow Dress, £1600, Indiebride London
British label Indiebride London prides itself on its no waste approach. Designs are made-to-order according to exact measurements, while anything that might be left over is used to make accessories such as veils, sashes or headpieces. All cut offs that cannot be used are donated to students or organisations for their own fashion design projects. The brand has a showroom in South London and can also be found online.
Dress, £1,750, Kate Halfpenny at Net-A-Porter
Kate Halfpenny has designed the wedding dresses of Millie Mackintosh, Vogue Williams and Emilia Fox, and now she's changing her business' approach in a bid to reduce the impact on the environment. "We've changed all of our packaging to recyclable or eco-friendly materials, including the inks we use," she told HELLO!. "We're designing with a conscience so try to minimise waste and repurpose offcuts of fabrics to create new garments or embellishments and, of course, one of the big things is that we make our bridalwear in England instead of shipping it in from overseas. There is always more you can do but it's something that’s at the forefront of our minds."
Vera Wang Gown, £510, Still White
Still White is the largest resale site for bridal dresses and, though not its own brand, it's lauded for high-quality secondhand pieces that could save you up to 80% on high-end labels including Berta and Vera Wang.
Bow-shoulder Dress, £1,247, Roland Mouret at Matches
Meghan Markle's go-to designer Roland Mouret creates bridal gowns with a focus on longevity in the hope that brides will rewear their dress again and again. The range features everything from modern jumpsuits to statement-making gowns.
Dress, from £90/day, Atelier Colpani at By Rotation
By Rotation works as a platform for people to list their clothing on for others to rent and return. The initiative includes wedding dresses, with designer labels such as Ganni and Gianvito Rossi available to hire for as little as £40 per day, and it has had a hugely positive reception so far. Naomi lists her own bridal gown on the app, and said, "My wedding has been hanging in my wardrobe for nearly two years. While I hold sentimental value towards my dress and love it, I'm happy to rent it out for someone to have the opportunity to feel the same way on their special day. Also, if I don't rent it out, it will just be in my wardrobe!" We concur.
Much like Still White, eBay offers a hub of secondhand wedding dresses available at a fraction of their original price, while the business has a goal to use 100 per cent renewable energy to charge its data centres by 2025.
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