The sustainable and ethical wedding industry is fast-growing, so you can be sure that there are options for conscious consumers. But first we need to address the elephant in the room. Is buying a dress that you’ll wear once sustainable? Of course not. But that doesn’t mean you have to wear something you already have in your wardrobe. There’s a couple of things you can consider to ensure you end up with a dress that doesn’t compromise your values.
1. Can I rent this item instead?
There are a number of clothes renting and borrowing platforms online now that make it really easy to loan big ticket items like the dress for your big day. Instead of forking out thousands of dollars you’ll be looking at a couple of hundred, and you won’t have the burden of it sitting in your cupboard after the event. Keep reading to find specific bridal rental platforms and second hand marketplaces.
2. Would a nice formal dress do just as well?
Lots of brides are opting for less traditional wedding dresses these days and it’s easy to understand why – if you’re spending a lot of cash on it, you want to be able to wear it more than once. There are a lot of great ethical designers in Australia producing stunning formal and evening wear (check out my list here!) which could easily double as wedding dresses.
3. What can you do with it after the big day?
If you’ve decided you definitely want a classic, traditional wedding dress that’s tailored to you, consider if there’s any way you can extend the life of the garment after your wedding day. Options here include tailoring it into something less formal to be worn for other events, renting it out to other brides, or on selling it.
Ready to search? These are Australia’s top brands for ethically made wedding dresses and bridal wear.
10 places to shop for ethical and sustainable wedding attire
Lusting for lace? Then this brand is for you. Lost in Paris seeks out stunning vintage lace from Europe to hand craft their dresses here in Australia. Each dress carries its own story of the fabric that has been expertly crafted on century-old machines no longer in operation, or handmade with love by Nanas long passed. These one-of-a-kind dresses are perfect for feminine brides looking for custom bridal wear.
Price point: $2500-$5000
Lenka Couture is Australia’s first Ethical Clothing Australia accredited bridal label. It was born of a desire to reduce waste and create lasting positive change in the fashion industry by delivering couture bridal designs which don’t compromise on integrity. The stunning bridal wear features laces and silks, in cuts to suit brides of all shapes and sizes.
Photo by Madly Studio
Dreaming of a bohemian wedding complete with custom denim jackets? This one’s for you. Rue De Seine is an edgy bridal label out of Auckland, New Zealand that is focused on creating unique pieces for unique brides. The dresses are made up of stunning hand-embroidered fabrics, pieced together in the brand’s Auckland studio. More modern than classic, the dresses are romantic and bold but most of all – comfortable! Rue De Seine has retailers across Australia where you can try on styles and sizes.
Price point: $2500-$5500
If you’re looking for a gown “as unique are you are” Clara White Bridal is for you. Clara White gowns are created for the rebel bride who loves luxury without sacrificing comfort. Handcrafted in Queensland, these dresses are made to order in the style and shape to suit the bride. Head into the Sunshine Coast store or shop the pieces online.
Pearl Button Bridal specialises in bespoke bridal wear and made-to-order wedding dresses. Certified by Ethical Clothing Australia, the pieces are all made in Australia from silk or repurposed fabrics. Pearl Button Bridal also offers bridal separates, saying that wedding dresses shouldn’t escape single use scrutiny. The brand can also help you upcycle an existing dress or repurpose your wedding dress so it can be worn again.
Price point: Bespoke services start from $4,000.
Perth-based bridal label Arcaro Couture has a dedicate eco bridal collection. Featuring 20 couture bridal and evening gowns with a difference, the Arcaro label specialises in environmentally friendly creations that are ethically made in Perth. The latest collection is inspired by the uniqueness of the seasons with an all natural edge, highlighting natural elements such as silks, Merino wool, ostrich plumes, gemstones and more.
Sydney-based luxury designer MacGraw is focused on onshore production and creating quality garments. The brand opts for luxury fabrics like silks, lace, tulle and beading in white, gold and baby blue making for the perfect albeit slightly less traditional wedding dress. I’m a fan of these frocks.
Price point: $1000-$2500
This Adelaide-based designer has hit the ground running with its luxury wares for the modern woman. The Autark pieces are boasted to be super wearable and well made, made with exclusively natural fibres. The blush-hued silk and ivory cotton/linen blends are just some of the options this brand has for ethical-minded eco brides.
Price point: $400-$800
If you have decided you’d like a secondhand or up-cycled wedding dress OR you want to sell your dress after your big day – check out Love Me Twice. The Melbourne retailer offers luxury pre-loved, up-cycled and designer wedding gowns for ethical, eco friendly and last minute Brides.” With the growth and popularity of the concept of purchasing a pre-loved gown by brides, Love Me Twice has been Melbourne’s premier destination for designer pre-loved wedding gowns since 2008.”
Price point: $50-$2500+
Another place to find preloved wedding dresses is the online marketplace for exactly that. Still white is the largest global marketplace for preowned, used and second hand wedding dresses. “With over 44,165 wedding gowns for sale, you can find your dream wedding dress at a fraction of the cost of retail.” As it’s a double-sided marketplace, you can sell your dress on here too.
Price point: $500-$5000+
OK so it’s not a dress but Azul Denim vintage jackets are the perfect pre-loved addition wedding photoshoots, hen’s parties and of course your wedding day. Azul is the first Australian brand to specialise in vintage denim jackets for weddings and makes them available for hire as well (for bride only, couples or entire bridal parties). The jackets are all second hand and hand picked and sourced especially for you. Each piece is decorated with your custom lettering, ironed and hand stitched with embellishments to suit your needs.