I recently turned 27 and all of a sudden it seems as if everyone around me is getting married and having babies. My life partner and I are very consciously and happily opting out of those big life decisions for now, but that doesn't mean we aren't excited for our loved ones! Weddings are joyous, love-filled affairs that call for everyone involved to get dressed up and dance the night away - who wouldn't be into that? Personally, I love the opportunity to put together a glamorous outfit and am therefore giddy with excitement each time another invitation pops into our mailbox.
With the summer wedding season coming up I've found myself contemplating the most sustainable way to look and feel great for each nuptial celebration. As a conscious consumer (and as an entrepreneur on a very slim budget) I immediately thought of this "buyerarchy of needs" graphic by Sarah Lazarovic. The "buyerarchy" suggests that when you need something, you first look at what you already own. Then comes borrowing, swapping, buying secondhand, making it yourself, and finally as a last resort, buying something new. This method of determining whether you actually need to buy something is a great way to prioritize the most eco-friendly and ethical decisions. It's also a great frame of mind for anyone looking to downsize their closet, live a simple, minimalist lifestyle, and stick to a budget.
So when planning my outfits for a few upcoming weddings (and assuming I'll be attending one or two more in the next few years) I began with what I already own. I have a lovely, hand-me-down dress that fits easily into the camp of an outdoor, farmhouse wedding, a Kamperett jumpsuit that is perfect for an urban environment (I wore it to EcoCult's post-wedding dance party in Bushwick last year), and a black & white Amour Vert number that is great for a more formal situation. I'll definitely be calling on those pieces for some upcoming wedding celebrations. Next up I plan on checking out a few of my girlfriends' closets to see if we can swap or share a dress this summer wedding season. I'll also be keeping my eyes peeled while perusing my favorite secondhand retailers, both online and IRL (Mirth Vintage in NYC is to die for!) and have been scrolling through rental sites like Style Lend and Rent the Runway since those are also great options for shopping mindfully and sustainably. Lastly, despite having a degree in fashion design there is no way that I'm making my own clothing anymore - so that brings us to buying new.
As it turns out, the sustainable and ethical fashion world is large enough to offer a number of excellent options for summer weddings and fancy affairs in general. I think these dresses are perfect for a modern, sustainable woman celebrating love in 2018. I'm not quite ready to make any purchases yet myself, as I still have time to hunt down a borrowed, swapped or secondhand piece, but I thought I'd do a little research (read: shopping) for y'all anyway. Below are my favorite eco-friendly, ethical, and sustainable dresses, jewelry, and shoes that fit the bill for this summer wedding season. Happy shopping and mazel-tov to all of the happy couples out there!
About the brands in this post:
AMOUR VERT - The name means "green love" in French and the brand is all about California cool mixed with Parisian chic vibes. Everything is made out of sustainable materials (mostly natural), dyed in a bluesign certified dyehouse, and manufactured in California.
ARTEAGA - Inspired by culture and traditional artisan textiles, Arteaga weaves a dreamy, romantic, worldly, and modern vibe. All of their pieces are produced ethically in a small factory in India which the designer visits on a regular basis.
AURORA VESTITA - Inspired by Aurora, the Roman goddess of the dawn, Aurora Vestita creates ethereal, wearable beauty. All of their clothing is designed and manufactured in New York.
DOEN - Inspired by the vintage aesthetics of California's past, Doen manufactures most of their garments in the US. Any garments made outside of the US are produced with ethically-run factories, mostly owned and run by women. The brand is committed to women's equality and fair treatment throughout the garment industry. They also partner with Room To Read, a nonprofit supporting girls education and literacy around the world.
DATURA - A brand inspired by women who love clothing rather than fashion, Datura upholds the philosophy of slow fashion. They produce everything in an ethically-run factory in Barcelona.
ERIN CONSIDINE - Slow, conscious luxury from an artist's point of view. These pieces are all made by hand in New York out of a combination of eco-friendly and reclaimed metals. Fiber pieces are made from natural fibers and colored with natural dyes.
FREDA SALVADOR - Edgy, boho, feminine. This brand makes the it-girl shoes of the day and they're extremely high quality. Their shoes are all hand made in a small family owned factory in Spain.
J.HANNAH - J.Hannah is actually a fine jewelry designer (they make all of their jewelry by hand, made to order in Los Angeles) who recently came out with a line of nail polish last year. All of their polishes are 7-free.
KAMPERETT - Based in California, this brand creates pieces that exude a subtle luxury and elegance. All of their pieces are produced ethically in California.
LACAUSA - Romantic, bohemian, modern, easy clothing made in Los Angeles by fairly paid workers. The brand also partners with a different charity each quarter, including the NRDC, Waterkeeper, and the ACLU.
LOQ - This LA based brand was founded on an appreciation for unconventional forms and an attention to detail. All of their pieces are made in Spain in an ethically run factory.
MACHETE - Luxury at a lower price point. These earrings are all made from a cellulose acetate which is a non-petroleum based, renewable material.
MARA HOFFMAN - What began as a conventional fashion brand has since pivoted to put sustainability and ethics at the top of their priority list. The brand is exploring the use of different sustainable materials like recycled polyester and nylon, natural materials that have a low carbon footprint, and low-water usage printed fabrics. Everything is manufactured in facilities that are ethically run and often audited. Most production is done in New York but some pieces are made in artisan workshops around the world.
MIISTA - Modernist, female, surrealist. Miista shoes are all hand made in a small factory in Alicante, Spain.
NILI LOTAN - Luxurious, chic, timeless wardrobe wonders that are made ethically in New York.
REFORMATION - A pioneer in the sustainable fashion movement, Reformation is committed to being eco-friendly wherever possible. They have a vertically integrated factory in Los Angeles where they pay their workers fairly and provide a number of programs for their benefit. They use eco-friendly materials or deadstock/vintage fabrics. The brand also measures their carbon footprint and water usage, presenting it in a report to their customers on a regular basis. Reformation has also recently expanded to include larger sizes.
YOUNG FRANKK - Effortless, thoughtful, and independent. Young Frankk jewelry is made entirely from recycled metals and locally sourced materials. Their pieces are all hand made in Los Angeles.
THE ZIRAN - With a mission of weaving tradition into the modern world, The Ziran creates gorgeously constructed pieces inspired by nature. All pieces are made from xiang yun sha silk and produced ethically in China.