Let’s get something out of the way: between trying to find a dress that’s both beautiful and affordable, boutique contracts and multiple dress fittings, shopping for a wedding dress is difficult enough without someone shouting “you’re a bad person” into your ear. For that reason, we understand if you sighed or aren’t too thrilled with the thought of adding more time and energy to your dress search. But let’s ask you this: do any of these dresses look beautiful? What if we told you they were all made by adults, in factories with proper wages and safety protocols, and are good for the environment?
A bit more interested?
No law or high moral authority demands that you add “socially responsible” to your long list of wedding to-do’s (we imagine it’s long enough as is). But if you’d like to know more about it, and why it’s important, here’s the basics.
What is Fair Trade?
Simply, it’s people deciding to vote with their wallet. When protests and calling for wage and worker rights reform aren’t enough, they decide to take matters into their own hands. Fair Trade organizations partner with manufacturers to ensure safety conditions are met, living wages are paid and that child labor laws are respected. Money spent on Fair Trade products is money that isn’t going to companies that don’t (or refuse) to practice these standards.
How is a dress eco-friendly?
Many wedding dresses are made with petroleum based polyesters. That is to say, the same drilling that literally fuels most cars also gets interwoven into the clothes we wear. A single dress by itself doesn’t really cause any harm, but when you add together the hundreds of thousands of wedding dresses produced each year, that’s a large carbon footprint for something that’s typically worn once. Eco-friendly dresses are made with natural fibers or from small-batch textiles to reduce the strain on our environment.
Is there a way to tell?
While it can be tempting to take a boutique at their word, the best way to be sure is to look for certifications. Fair Trade USA and the Global Organic Textile Standard are non-profit organizations that inspect and certify companies that prove ethical working and environmental conditions are met. You are always free to ask if a boutique (or email a website) to see if they have any of these certifications or similar ones.
Huh, that’s…kinda’ neat, actually. Any more resources to learn more?
Oddly specific question, but yes! Here’s some links to learn more as well as business and manufacturer recommendations:
8 Eco-Friendly Wedding Dress Designers You Should Know
What Is An Ethical Wedding Dress?