With the increasing awareness of sustainability, how is the bridalwear industry implementing this into their practices?
This industry report covers what is currently being done so far within the bridal wear industry to make it a sustainable sector, as well as exploring ways in which it can be improved. With sustainability being at the forefront of people’s minds throughout the fashion industry, there is currently minimal research for the bridal industry, where the whole idea is an outfit designed to be worn on one occasion and then never worn again. One of the key theories utilised is the use of fabric, when using a more environmentally friendly fabric the final outcome automatically becomes more sustainable, other suggestions include the wedding dress rental, but this is addressed in a way that shows that it might not be the best option. It questions whether sustainability is a growing market within the bridalwear industry like the rest of the fashion industry. Examples will feature from IndieBride London who focus entirely on creating sustainable pieces that are made to order to reduce waste and that are made from environmentally friendly fabrics and are all made in London to reduce carbon emissions (IndieBride London, 2019). Primary research was conducted through a questionnaire sent to local bridal retailers to identify whether there is a growing market, if a market at all for sustainable bridalwear. The report concludes that over recent years there has been a growing demand for sustainable bridal wear with many designers choosing this to be a key focus throughout their brands but for the moment it is still lagging behind the rest of the fashion market.
Table of Images
This industry report will explore the ways in which the bridal wear market is trying to combat the sustainability crisis that has taken over the rest fashion industry, discovering whether the market is being left behind by the rest of the fashion industry or whether it is coming out on top at the moment, when it comes to sustainable fashion, and researching how some companies are trying to improve this, exploring the different materials being created, construction methods and why consumers think that buying a dress designed for one occasion is a good idea. Throughout history a women’s wedding dress has been their pride and joy, a new outfit for them on their special day, but has society reached a point where the gown itself is now contradicting everything that people are fighting for. With high streets lined in bridal shops is there enough done to encourage sustainable options, are people aware of what is available to them and how to go about purchasing a sustainable choice. With the current environmental issues that people are protesting about, are they then thinking about how their weddings are also adding to these issues. Consumers are opting for a more sustainable way of life from cutting out plastic to thinking more about where their produce is coming from, but this ideology is dismissed when it comes to bridal wear. With the increase in popularity for a vegan diet, the increase for a more sustainable way of life has also come to light Ehrenfeld states that “In defining sustainability as the possibility that humans and other life will flourish on the planet forever” (Ehrenfeld, J. 2008, CH.5) this suggests that a sustainable way of life is when humans and other species thrive together creating an ideal world, reducing the amount of waste produced and using animal friendly fabrics are some of the ways in which this can be achieved. With the interest of sustainability currently at the front of most designers minds, this should be helping to create a more environmentally friendly world, one in which man and animal can live together as one, proving Ehrenfeld’s statement to be achievable and attainable, which will continue to be discussed throughout this industry report.
Chapter 1- Solutions
Garment production has a substantial impact on the environment, but it also has a big impact on the people making them. Helbig (2018) describes “workers in developing nations often paid a pittance to labour” it’s shocking that for people to have the clothes they want when they want them, it comes at a greater cost for mankind, just for people to have access to fast fashion cheaply. The production of garments should not have a negative impact on people’s lives, but this is the way the industry is currently working. The faster the consumer wants the product the quicker the product has to be produced, which brings down the cost as not much detail is taken into account, but this shouldn’t be the case. The production of bespoke bridal doesn’t have the same effect due to the nature of making one off pieces, whereas when mass market brands that have started to sell bridal wear, which are made in the same way as most fast fashion, quickly and cheaply. This is bringing a negative light to the industry as much as it is making it more affordable and accessible is this worth the damage to the environment and the people in it.
Hand construction of garments gives a more bespoke finish, “using timeless style in hand-crafted production adds longevity in terms of its product life-cycle and its usually biodegradable too” (pg.156 Melanie Plank, 2011) this helps prove that there are more sustainable and ecologically better ways for garment production, many that prove the old techniques are the best techniques, years ago everything would have been hand sewn but with the growing demand to have everything now has stopped these techniques and saved them for some luxury goods, but not all. The time it takes does help the price tag rocket high, but it is a much more sustainable practice as no heavy machinery is used throughout the production, which is a big help the environmental crisis effecting the fashion industry today. The process of hand sewing is a more time consuming process, meaning less is made, the haute couture market features a lot of hand sewing most of the time in the finishes which helps to increase the price of the garment, due to the amount of man hours needed to complete the tasks, but also makes it more sustainable. Bespoke bridalwear is often finished by hand to make it that extra bit special for the bride’s big day, but these small details are helping to make the bridal avenue a more sustainable sector of the fashion industry.
The bridal wear industry is a very big market, with lots of different avenues for the consumer to buy their dream outfit. Figure 1 shows that consumers are more likely to go to a specialist designer rather than a high street, this suggests that people are subconsciously thinking about the environment as most specialist bridalwear designers focus on creating made to order, one off pieces, this helps to reduce waste as they aren’t creating for a market that is not there, they are just manufacturing for the market that is. This allows designers within the industry to be able to make environmentally friendly decisions throughout their work. The fact that 79% of people surveyed bought from a specialist show just how popular of an avenue this is. Knowing there is a market for this shows that there is a better chance for designers to focus on sustainable practice, most importantly minimalizing waste, the reduction in waste will help to reduce the amount that ends up in landfill, which is a win, win for the designer and the consumer, the bride gets an outfit that is sustainably produced and that is her dress, not one that has been mass produced, and the designer gets to know that they have done their bit for the environment.
Fabric productions is a massive concern to environmentalists who are analysing the industry and pushing scrutiny towards manufacturers to try and reduce emissions as “Textile Production creates an estimated 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent a year, more than the emissions from international flights and marine shipping combined” (Kent, 2019) These statistics raise the issue of the quantity of fabrics actually needed, currently there is too much waste occurring which would suggest that actually the industry has enough materials at the moment and instead designers should be focused on reusing and recycling to help create more environmentally friendly designs, which will in turn make the industry much more sustainable, a sustainable practice that would be here to stay. For many the idea that the production is producing more carbon dioxide than flights and marine shipping is shocking, far too much is being produced to help the fast fashion market, which is continually growing, but when it comes to the bespoke market, the amount that is being produced is far too much especially when the statistics of emissions is extremely high like it is at this time. The current state of the fashion industry environmentally speaking is very poor, everything is produced to cater for the fast fashion markets needs, trying to keep up with brands releasing new collections every few weeks, but not all sectors need this, reducing the amount of fabrics produced for certain areas of the industry will help to bring the overall level of sustainable practice up and will also encourage designers to look for different materials elsewhere either reusing or recycling or using fabrics that are made from natural materials.
The wedding dress is often only worn once and then sits in its packaging, most wedding dresses aren’t made with the intention of it being able to be worn again like it used to be, a “popular option in the early 30s was a silk crepe or chiffon floral tea dress that could be worn any day after the wedding” (Vintage Dancer, 2019) showing that during the 1930s clothes had more than one purpose and though a new dress was bought for the wedding it was then worn a lot after, making it a dress with more than one use compared to the dresses designed today. But there are other options than just having it packed away, many choose to keep it as an heirloom to pass on to future generations or have it made into another garment for a child or grandchild’s’ christening. But if this isn’t the option chosen there are still plenty of others including donating or selling. “By donating, selling or purchasing your wedding dress from us, our customers and supporters have the ability to impact the lives of other girls in need” (Brides Do Good, 2019) shows that there is a better alternative than letting the dress catch dust, one which helps others. There initiative provides funds from each dress sold to be sent to help charities that are helping girls at risk of being married very young, to be safe and have a future worth living. Although a lot of brides are not that willing to buy a pre-loved outfit for their wedding day, the idea of it helping others should help to see an increase in sales. Buying a pre-loved second-hand outfit helps create a more sustainable practice as less garments are being made for one occasion, then either thrown away or put in a box, each small step is a step in the right direction, it is just an added bonus that Brides Do Good are helping the girls of the world with each purchase.
Nowadays there is such a wide range of fabrics and new ones are emerging all the time, people are finding new ways to create fabrics that are less harmful to the environment or are made from waste, reusing what is no longer needed to make something that is needed. Figure 2 explores how different companies interviewed by McGregor for Drapers (2019) are trying to combat the sustainability issues facing the fashion industry. It is interesting to see that 18.1% are turning their focus to sustainable fabrics and fibres, this is a vital part to fixing the sustainability problem. With so many different options available now including fabrics made from orange fibre. Qmonos is a new synthetic silk made from microbes and spider silk genes “No spiders are farmed or harmed in the manufacturing process, making Qmonos a more sustainable and ethical alternative to silk and nylon” (Rauturier, 2019) The development of materials like this is having a positive impact on the world. A lot of these new materials created are able to be used within the bridal industry, at the moment a lot of these fabrics are not readily available but with a growing demand it will not be long until they are, meaning consumers will be able to make more sustainable choices a lot easier.
Currently there is a big push for recycling and reusing in everyday life, this is the case for the fashion industry as well Figure 2 shows that 25.2% of companies are focusing on re-using and recycling, as well as having a take back scheme, a big company doing this is H&M, their recycling scheme is a good way to make sure that the items of clothes that consumers are trying to dispose of stays out of landfill. With “an estimated £140 million worth of clothes that goes into landfill each year (WRAP,2019) this is a shocking statistic as it shows just how much the united kingdom throws away, with the introduction of take-back schemes this level of waste is slowly being lowered allowing a much more sustainable practice to take place. The clothing is recycled responsibly and is used to create recycled fabric, the most common is recycled polyester fabric, this can then be used to make new clothes, helping the environment in a new way. Creating a new fabric out of old garments allows new fabric to be produced but not using new materials, instead reusing people’s aged clothes that would most likely end in landfill. Fabrics like recycled polyester can now be used and are being used in bridal wear, showing that the industry is heading in the right direction to having a more environmentally friendly practice.
Buying a wedding dress can be and usually is really expensive, nowadays its becoming more and more popular to hire the wedding outfit “At Vonlee Bridal Hire not only is the wedding dress itself for hire but an all-inclusive package which includes the hire of a wedding veil, tiara, underskirt and even jewellery if required, at no extra charge” (Vonlee Bridal Hire, 2019) Hiring a wedding dress often is the cheapest solution especially when it comes with all of the add on options included. The day is an already expensive one so it helps when small things that can come at a big cost are given as part of the hiring package. When the bride is buying her wedding outfit a lot more is needed to be bought not just the dress, the idea that Vonlee Bridal provide these things at no extra cost helps to make the process as seamless as possible. Having all extras included helps to make the process a lot more sustainable, the bride is not buying anything new, instead the options are being reused to be able to make the most out of each thing. Veils are another common traditional accessory that has been used throughout time, but it is also an item that only gets worn once and it is very rare to find another day that they can be worn, making it possible to hire these allows for them to have more use and not just be packed away after the big day.
Although wedding dress rental seems like the easiest alternative for a more sustainable option, it does come with its own draw backs, “Even if you do find a gown you like, it may not be in your size and you’re usually not able to make alterations, so it fits you like a glove” (Hoffower, Kellogg, 2019) suggests that when the consumer is shopping for her dream dress the fit is one of the most important factors, but when it comes to hiring they cannot always be that picky, it is more of a get what there is. The limitations within the rental of bridal wear can and should be a massive consideration, if the customer cannot get the dress that they desperately want altered they are then left without a dress. The consumer does not get the biggest selection when it comes to hiring it all depends what the supplier has in their size, this can make it very difficult and not the most enjoyable experience of shopping for a dress. Once the bride has found a dress it is not all easy from there, when it is their own dress that they have bought whatever happens to the dress that day happens to the dress, however when it has been rented there is a certain level of stress for the bride on the day as they “responsible for the cost of the dress if there’s any significant damage” (Hoffower, Kellogg, 2019) showing that if there is damage to the dress the bride may be required to pay for the dress which in the end can make it a lot more expensive than if they went and bought a brand new or even a second hand dress.
Chapter 2 industry efforts
Many high street chains have been struggling in recent years due to the increase in online sales and the lack of consumers, so they have tried to make their way into other sectors of the fashion market including the bridalwear market, however many have struggled and have had to stop, J.Crew Clothing have decided to “focus on what women like to wear to someone else’s wedding, versus what they would wear to their own” (Rupp,2018) going back to their old ways proving just how tough the market really is. The Bridal market is currently coming under a lot of pressure, especially as “Millennials get married in fewer numbers and later in life than previous generations” (Fromm, 2018). Making the market a lot harder with less consumers happy to buy, sadly this is having a detrimental effect to brands “David’s Bridal Inc., a chain that sells gowns and accessories, also has struggled- another sign of how perilous the market has become.” (Vasquez, 2018) with the decrease in consumers who are actually getting married, the brands are having to fight harder and harder for a reason to gain consumers. Although many companies are struggling at the moment within or outside of the wedding industry, it is looking like things are looking up, “Through the next 5-year period ending in 2023, the wedding dress industry is expected to see an average annual growth rate of 6%” (Gaille, 2018) with the industry increasing each year, this should also see an increase in the number of sustainable companies entering the scene. The industry growth shows how popular the market is becoming which would explain why so many companies are struggling under the pressures that the market brings.
Rainbow Shoes are another company who are trying to do their best efforts for the environment. The Brides wedding shoes are another fundamental component to the outfit, but once the day is over there is often no need for them as they are too special and usually white, however this doesn’t have to be the case. “Customise your wedding shoes for free with Rainbow Club” (Rainbow Shoes, 2019) they have created an initiative to stop shoes only being worn once, the shoes bought from them for the big day can be sent back to be recoloured and then sent back for free. This is giving shoes a new lease of life and helping to give them more uses, subsequently these shoes are having more than one use and are not being thrown away or put in storage, this is a more sustainable practice as nothing Is being bought for just one occasion it is having a lasting impact on the environment but also the wardrobe, helping people to save money as well. From a space point of view, the minimalist way of life is coming into practice, having a pair of wedding shoes sat around becomes a waste of space so if they can be turned into something more wearable it will help the industry to show that it is moving in the right direction.
Indiebride London is a new sustainable and ethical bridal design company in London formed of Minna and Indiebride, the joining of these two brands has brought a vintage and bohemian aesthetic together whilst being completely sustainable. “ The most important dress of your life can be made respecting the environment and people on it” (IndieBride London, 2019) this shows that there is an awareness surrounding the importance of the brides wedding gown but that they are also aware of the impact that the outfit is causing. All the dresses are hand made in London and all adjustments made are done so on site, making the brand have a much lower carbon emission. They also know where all their fabrics come from and how they are produced helping them to overcome the ethical battles that the fashion industry face daily. Indiebride London are just one bridal design company who are turning their attention to the growing issues regarding sustainability especially within the wedding industry. Figure 3 shows the IndieBride London showroom, great care and consideration has been taken to the space to make sure that it matches the aesthetic of the brand.
According to hitched magazine, who surveyed 2800 couples, found that when paying for the wedding on average £1313 is spent on the brides’ outfit (Hitched, 2019) this shows just how important the dress is to the bride and just how willing to spend they are. But does this have to come at such a cost to the environment. With brides happy to spend big for their wedding, this raises the point of why producers are not trying to find more alternatives to the fabrics and constructions methods of their garments to help the environment, as the client is still going to spend regardless as they want an outfit for their wedding day. When it comes to the bride’s outfit designers should be thinking more about how they can be producing it with the most sustainable practice, they already have their consumer, which is one less thing to worry about. People are becoming more conscious about what they are doing focusing in on their spending habits and whether they are the most environmentally friendly purchases, this doesn’t change when it comes to buying a wedding dress, in fact brides are becoming more aware of what they are buying, researching how to make more green choices.
Many people nowadays are trying their best to be as sustainable as they can, with an increase in purchases from second hand shops and websites, this isn’t just in normal every day clothes but “There has been a 93% increase in views of pre-owned wedding dresses” (Lyst,2019) as well, this suggests that as well as saving money brides are becoming more conscious of their purchasing habits in relation to the environment. This huge percentage increase shows that even though the consumer might not have gone through with each and every purchase there has been a change to the stigma, especially with the wedding dress. One that will most likely just sit in the wardrobe for years to come. With an increase in views it is becoming a popular option, taking the name of pre-loved shopping, continuing the love of the garment helps environmentally conscious people to go through with the purchase. There are lots of benefits to buying pre-loved including cost, the consumer can often find very expensive designer gowns for a fraction of the price, which is very helpful for the bride who is focusing on trying to keep her wedding as budget friendly as possible, and it comes with the added bonus of being worn again, giving the gown a new lease of life. Due to the increase in pre-loved sales the industry is able to focus in on this sustainable practice, helping to make sure that this number continues to rise, keeping old clothing out of landfill instead giving it a new loving home where it can be treasured.
Lots of bridal companies all around the world are exploring different ways to create designs that are environmentally friendly and sustainable. Figure 3 is an example of one of these companies, Lost in Paris is an Australian brand that has a unique design handle, with a clear message “It’s not about us. It’s about the lace. Unearthed from antique markets in Paris, each piece has its own story to tell” (Lost in Paris, 2019) they collect lace from Paris and then make it into a one-off design that are filled with history and travel. Although this might not seem like the most sustainable option with the flights to and from Australia to Paris, the use of antique lace becomes a more environmentally friendly solution, not producing new fabrics but instead recycling vintage fabrics allow for a more carbon neutral way of garment production. A lot of bride’s look for dresses with a vintage feel, with Lost in Paris using recycled antique lace they are getting this as well as helping the environment. Finding solutions to the sustainability crisis that also work with the consumers wants and needs help to maintain a productive practice combating these issues.
Lenka Couture is another Australian sustainable bridal design company, “I Believe in embracing individuality and creating conscious beauty that inspires positive change for people and the planet” (Lenka Couture, 2016) this shows that new designers who are entering the market are trying to make a change from the beginning of their careers, as well as helping the planet they are also trying to help the people on the planet to. Events especially weddings have such a clear focus on the brides outfit, there is lots of talk about what the bride is going to be wearing, “using recycled, vintage, sustainably sourced and only natural materials, Lenka’s mandate is sustainability and she aims for zero waste with every creation, leaving the environment as unharmed as possible” (Preston, 2018) this shows different ways in which she can make her designs sustainable, making sure that there are lots of different avenues of ways to do this helps to make it an achievable practice as there will never be an end to the amount of resources available. Working with a zero-waste goal helps to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, each designer that is making this a goal is helping the bridalwear industry to have a more sustainable practice for garment production. Not stopping production but instead working with vintage and or recycled materials encourages the routine of having minimal waste helping the environment one garment at a time.
When interviewing Anna Hare, Owner of Pure Bridal it was clear to see that she had been doing a lot of research herself to find out how the industry can be made sustainable “We need to look at producing more gowns in the UK again and using recycled fabrics or carbon neutral processes wherever possible” (Hare, 2019) Most things are made outside of the UK which then comes with the added cost of transportation, bringing production back to the United Kingdom would make it a much more sustainable practice as well as bringing more jobs, which should help to reduce unemployment rates. UK manufacture has a good reputation for being well made and of excellent quality, bringing this to the bridal industry then allows the title of being British, something that stands the test of time. According to Hare (2019) “Brides mindsets would need to change significantly in order for it ever to be realistically viable” this suggests that at the moment the problem isn’t just with the manufacturers and the suppliers but actually with the consumers as well, making sustainable options more readily available will increase the consumers interest allowing a future of sustainable bridal wear. Currently Sustainable fabrics and eco-friendly options come at a greater cost but with more of an interest in these solutions prices will begin to fall due to an increase in demand. This shows a positive sustainable future for the bridal industry is on the horizon as long as the clientele change their mindset but with the right advice and choice this is extremely possible.
Within the Bridal Industry there are many brands who are trying to break the mould of what has come before and there are many who are trying to give a more positive impact to the environment, things are beginning to go in the right direction and hopefully it will continue to improve as time goes by. Overall plenty of consumers are beginning to understand how their purchases are affecting the environment and over time this will only improve. I hope to have raised some awareness to this topic through surveys that make consumers think. In conclusion, it was clear to see that a lot still needs to be done get where the industry needs to be if it is going to compete with the rest of the fashion industry. The first thing that needs to change is the bride and her mindset (Hare, 2019) once brides start a demand of sustainable options more will be done to accommodate this request, nothing happens without the cliental. Many Companies are beginning to think of ways to create a more environmentally conscious way of design, but it was interesting to see that a lot of these companies were based in Australia (Lost in Paris, 2019) (Lenka Couture, 2016) for this to be a viable future more will have to be done around the world, although there are a few in other countries and many more coming to the scene at the moment Australia is ahead compared to the rest of the world at the moment. In conclusion the way the industry is at the moment is showing clear signs of improvement and that it is beginning to research (Hare, 2019) new alternative solutions to help improve the sustainability rates. Researching the industry at this present time and the way that it is currently running, it is clear to see that there is a long way to go before the industry can be classed as environmentally friendly, it is definitely not the most impactful sector of the fashion industry. The bridal wear sector stands alone from the rest of the fashion industry, as a whole the idea of buying an outfit for one occasion that would not then have another function to be worn to would hint at being a very unsustainable practice, but after researching in depth it was clear to see that actually, it is further ahead than most sectors. Yes, it is an outfit for one occasion, but the garments are made in a more environmentally friendly way than fast fashion, and with the invention of many new materials the future is bright for a completely sustainable practice within the bridal wear market.
Total word count: 4924
Interview with Anna Hare, Owner of Pure Bridal Norwich
What do you think it takes to make a product sustainable? To be made with recycled materials/to rework an original garment or to reuse fabrics by dismantling a garment making something new. Do you sell any bridalwear that is made from a sustainable material? Not at the moment
If yes, does it come at a greater cost to that which is not? I am currently exploring the possibilities, but yes it does seem that additional costs are likely
And what sustainable items do you sell? None at present
If not, would you consider selling some? Absolutely Do any future brides come in requesting sustainable bridalwear? None thus far In your opinion, how can the bridalwear industry be made more sustainable? Hiring would obviously make a huge difference, but this isn’t a realistic option for most dress styles. I think we need to look at producing more gowns in the UK again and using recycled fabrics or carbon neutral processes wherever possible. Most brides are not currently receptive to the idea of previously worn gowns and want a new dress and as the cost of manufacturing is so high in the UK almost all gowns are made overseas and shipped to the UK
Do you think there is a future for sustainable bridal wear? Brides mindsets would need to change significantly in order for it ever to be realistically viable in my opinion
Barefaced Bride, 2019, available at: https://thebarefacedbride.com.au/ourimpact/ (Accessed: 24-4-2019)
Brides Do Good, 2019, available at: https://www.bridesdogood.com/were-a-mission-change-lives (Accessed: 6-5-2019)
Girl Meets Dress, 2019, available at: https://hire.girlmeetsdress.com/collections/dresshire/products/mackayla-white-wedding-gown (accessed: 26-9-2019)
Indiebride London, 2019, available at: https://indiebridelondon.co.uk/pages/handmade (Accessed: 24-4-2019)
Lenka Couture, 2016, available at: https://www.lenkacouture.com/
Lost in Paris, 2019, available at: https://lostinparis.com.au/pages/about-us (accessed 1-11-19)
Rainbow Shoes, 2019, available at https://www.rainbowclub.co.uk/colour (Accessed: 30-09-2019)
Sanyukta Shrestha, 2019, available at: https://www.sanyuktashrestha.com/about/our-story/madewith-ethics/ (Accessed: 24-4-2019)
Sustainable Development, 2019, available at: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/biodiversity/ (accessed: 27-10-19)
Sustainable Development, 2019, available at: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld (accessed: 10-10-19)
The Natural Wedding Company, 2019, available at: https://www.thenaturalweddingcompany.co.uk/directory/wedding-dresses/ (accessed: 27-10-19)
UN, 2019, available at: https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/envision2030.html (accessed:10-10-19)
Vintage Dancer, 2019, available at: https://vintagedancer.com/vintage/1930s-wedding-history/ (Accessed 10-11-19)
WRAP, 2019, available at: http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/valuing-our-clothes-the-cost-ofuk-fashion_WRAP.pdf#page=10 (accessed: 27-10-19)
BOoks and E-Books
Ehrenfeld, J. (2008) Sustainability by Design: A Subversive Strategy for Transforming Our Consumer Culture. New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press. Available at: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,sso&db=nlebk&AN=278459&sit e=eds-live (Accessed: 10 November 2019).
Fletcher, K 2008, Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys, Taylor & Francis Group, Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. (22-9-2019)
Fletcher, K, & Grose, L 2012, Fashion & Sustainability: Design for Change, Laurence King Publishing, London. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. (22-9-2019)
Foster, H. B. and Johnson, D. C. (2003) Wedding dress; across cultures. Berg (Dress, body, culture).Available at: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,sso&db=cat06378a&AN=nua.97 81847888983&site=eds-live (Accessed: 9-10-2019) Gardetti, MÃ, & Torres, AL (eds) 2013, Sustainability in Fashion and Textiles: Values, Design, Production and Consumption, Routledge, Saltaire. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. (22-9-2019)
Gibson, R (ed.) 2015, The Memory of Clothes, Sense Publishers, Dordrecht. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [22-9-2019)
Le, BC 2014, Fashion Marketing: Influencing Consumer Choice and Loyalty with Fashion Products, Business Expert Press, New York. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. (22- 9- 2019)
Minney, S. (2011) Naked fashion: the new sustainable fashion revolution. New Internationalist. Available at: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,sso&db=cat06378a&AN=nua.97 81780260617&site=eds-live (Accessed: 26-9- 2019).
Otnes, CC, Pleck, EH, Otnes, C, & Pleck, E 2003, Cinderella Dreams: The Allure of the Lavish Wedding, University of California Press, Berkeley. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. (22-9-2019)
Annabel, 2019, Indiebride London: Sustainable + ethical wedding dresses, available at: https://www.lovemydress.net/blog/2019/04/indiebride-london-ethical-wedding-dress-sustainablebridal-fashion.html accessed 25-4-2019
Bird, Natasha, 2019, 30 affordable wedding dresses, because the perfect wedding dress doesn’t have to bankrupt you, available at: https://www.elle.com/uk/fashion/what-towear/articles/g29167/affordable-high-street-wedding-dresses/?slide=8 (accessed: 25-10-19)
Bride Magazine, 2016, How to choose the perfect wedding dress available at: https://www.bridemagazine.co.uk/articles/how-to-choose-the-perfect-wedding-dress (accessed 2710-19)
Chan, Emily, 2019, 8 Wedding Dress Brands that eco-conscious brides will love, available at: https://www.vogue.co.uk/article/sustainable-wedding-dress-brands (accessed 27-10-19)
Cockett, Sophie, 2019, Wedding dress hire: the best places to rent a wedding dress, available at: https://www.hitched.co.uk/wedding-planning/bridalwear-articles/wedding-dress-hire-where-torent-a-dress/ (accessed 10-10-19)
Donohue, Cathy, 2019, The biggest wedding dress trend of the year here and it’s absolutely stunning, available at: https://www.her.ie/style/biggest-wedding-dress-trend-2019-absolutelystunning-462263 (accessed 27-10-19)
Forage and Sustain, 2019, 8 Sustainable Dresses to Wear to a Summer Wedding, available at: https://forageandsustain.com/8-sustainable-dresses-to-wear-to-a-summer-wedding/ (Accessed 254-2019)
Fromm, Jeff, 2018, Millennials shaking up the wedding industry, available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jefffromm/2018/08/15/millennials-shaking-up-the-weddingindustry/#571a6e3720e0 (Accessed 25-4-2019)
Gaille, Brandon, 2018, 23 wedding dress industry statistics and trends, available at: https://brandongaille.com/23-wedding-dress-industry-statistics-and-trends/ (accessed: 24-1-19)
Helbig, 2018, Shop Less, mend more: making more sustainable fashion choices, available at: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/feb/10/shop-less-mend-more-making-moresustainable-fashion-choices (Accessed: 15-1-19)
Hitched, 2019, available at: https://www.hitched.co.uk/wedding-planning/organising-andplanning/the-average-wedding-cost-in-the-uk-revealed/ (Accessed 10-10-2019)
Hoffower, Hillary and Kellogg, Krisit, 2019, Should you rent your wedding dress? Pros & Cons to help you decide, available at: https://www.brides.com/story/should-you-rent-your-wedding-dress (accessed: 10-11-19)
Kent, Sarah, 2019, UK Takes aim at fashion’s sustainability problem, available at: https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/news-analysis/uk-takes-aim-at-fashions-sustainabilityproblemhttp://dwha.co.uk/bespoke-eco-bridal-designers (Accessed 25-4-2019)
Klerk, Amy de, 2019, Pre-owned wedding dresses are growing in popularity as brides support sustainability, available at: https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/bazaar-brides/a26958773/preowned-bridal-dresses-sustainable-weddings/ (Accessed 25-4-2019)
Lyst, 2019, Weddings the most powerful fashion event of the year, available at https://www.lyst.co.uk/wedding-report-2019/ (accessed: 27-10-19)
McGregor, 2019, Drapers Research: How Sustainable is the fashion industry, available at: https://www.drapersonline.com/retail/drapers-research-how-sustainable-is-the-fashionindustry/7035974.article (accessed: 17-10-2019)
Pye, Helen, 2019, How much does a wedding cost? The UK average revealed, available at: https://www.hitched.co.uk/wedding-planning/organising-and-planning/the-average-wedding-costin-the-uk-revealed/ (accessed: 23-10-19)
Rauturier, Solene, 2019, What are the most sustainable Fabrics? available at https://goodonyou.eco/most-sustainable-fabrics/ (accessed: 10-11-19)
Smith, Katie, 2017, The business of marriage: retailing weddings, available at: https://edited.com/blog/2017/04/wedding-retail-trends/ (accessed: 25-10-19)
Vasquez, Justina, 2018, Gap Follows J. Crew in Exiting Challenging Bridal-Wear Industry, available at: https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/news-analysis/gap-follows-j-crew-in-exitingchallenging-bridal-wear-industry (Accessed 25-4-2019)
Wexler and Donovan, 2019, How to choose your dream wedding dress: 70 things to know, available at: https://www.brides.com/gallery/wedding-dress-shopping-tips (accessed 27-10-19)
BBC News, 2018, Fast Fashion: Do you shop ethically, available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/business-46366149/fast-fashion-do-you-shop-ethically (accessed, 25-9-19)
Figure 1, Bridebook. (2018). Preferences on wedding dress designer among individuals in the United Kingdom (UK) as of 2018. Statista. Statista Inc... Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/910600/wedding-dress-designer-preferences-united-kingdom-uk/ Accessed: (October 17, 2019)
Figure 2, McGregor, 2019, available at: https://www.drapersonline.com/retail/drapers-researchhow-sustainable-is-the-fashion-industry/7035974.article (accessed: 17-10-2019)
Figure 3, Kaye, Rachel, Lost in Paris, 2015, available at: https://lostinparis.com.au/pages/our-brides (accessed 1-11-19)
Figure 4, Kaye, Rachel, Lost in Paris, 2015, available at: https://lostinparis.com.au/pages/our-brides (accessed 1-11-19)
The online world. A place where everything is possible right from the comfort of the consumers’ home, questions have answers, people want the latest gadget it is right there at a click of a button easy access to the latest fashion trends, but this accessibility comes at a greater cost than people think, leading the world to try and come up with yet another solution to a completely man-made issue. From packaging to distribution, the purchasing of goods online has a negative impact on the environment with plastic landing in landfill and fumes given off from all the delivery vehicles that are harming the health of the human race (DeWeerdt, 2016). When looking for a better alternative it is often just thought buy everything in a physical store but is there an answer that means people can still do it online just with less of an impact to the environment, from advancements in packaging or the increase in popularity of renting clothes the ignorance of online shopping might be no more. Looking to the future there needs to be a solution so that humans don’t completely destroy the earth allowing it to live a long and happy life. Making sure that appearances are met a lack of care of fashion and the construction methods comes at the cost.
People are now more than ever looking for more sustainable clothing and items found within the slow fashion industry, strong built to last clothes are being favoured over fast production clothing which is unsustainable, although it is hard to find value clothing within the slow fashion industry people are still favouring that way. “We want to do more, own less and spend time on the things and people that matter to us. We were brought together by this love of simplicity” (ADAY, 2019) This showcases how the brand ADAY are combatting the issues surrounding the sustainability of peoples wardrobes, they look at how people own way too many clothes, that they will hardly ever wear but, they are also noticing how that is starting to change as people get more aware of how they are affecting the planet. With more and more people beginning to look at their wardrobes and decide that they need to get rid of things and only buy a few things that will last a long time they are jumping on this trend and creating a wardrobe for the busy people who are trying to do their bit for the environment with seasonless garments that are made to last. With the introduction of seasonless garments it will see a decrease in the waste of fast fashion, more thought will be taken into what people purchase but they will also know that what they buy will last and will stay in fashion for as long as the garment lasts, for a wardrobe staple it is the best way. Figure 2 shows one of their many seasonless garments, its fashionable and chic silhouette focuses the consumers minds to how garments don’t have to be just one season wear.
Having too many clothes is a very common problem that a lot of people find themselves with, and one that is finding quite difficult to solve, a lot of clothes lie around forgotten about when they could have gone to better use. “In the UK, an estimated £30bn of clothes hang unworn in bulging wardrobes” (Siegle, 2018, a) This shows the ridiculous amount that is just sat around waiting for their owners to one day find them and put them to good use. Online shopping has become so popular over recent years with its easy access but is this causing more problems than it should. As people are able to buy anything, they want at the click of the button is it increasing the amount of purchases that are made, this in turn means there are a lot of purchases made that did not need to be made and which then lines people’s wardrobes with clothes that are just never worn. This is very surprising, that people do not seem to care that they are wasting their money when they seem to be so careful with their spending on everything else so why are clothes different, this leads onto to the fact that the clothes are not even worn let alone just forgotten about or out of season, they just have never been put to use instead they just take up room.
The idea of renting a wardrobe is becoming a slightly more talked about topic nowadays, for years people have been all about owning the latest thing and having it being only theirs and brand new but, this is beginning to change people are now more aware of how wasteful it is to have a full wardrobe and only wear 10 items, making the idea of renting clothes seem a bit more reasonable. “Love what you wear every day. Get an endless wardrobe from £60 per month” (Wear the Walk, 2018) This shows that for a monthly subscription fee you can have access to the latest clothes by your favourite designer, something only dreamt about for many years. This is one of the better ways to combat online shopping as it still allows people to shop from home but also make better decisions about what they are ordering, people will take more time to think and plan what they would like in their wardrobe that month. This is the beginning of how online shopping is used and one of the ways to combat fast fashion.
When it comes to money many think that renting a wardrobe is an expensive way of going about shopping, but they never consider how much they already spend on clothes “British women spend an average of £74 per month on clothes” (Crisell, 2017) this suggests that people have the money to spend. Renting a wardrobe can be a cheaper alternative and then you can mix it up each month with new items to give your wardrobe the revamp that it wants, people are always wanting the latest designer pieces and with renting there is access to just that, no more looking at the pieces from afar they can become part of your wardrobe for a monthly fee. Subscription packages continue to grow from food to television there are so many different types, which people will happily pay, but clothing is always looked past, people for some reason shy away from the idea of renting clothes but could it be another way for humanity to combat fast fashion and have a better understanding of the consequences the actions of online shopping actually has. There will always be that designer coat that costs thousands that you wish you could own but with the accessibility you get from renting a wardrobe you would actually be able to have the item for a while until it goes out of fashion then you can swap it for the next big thing knowing that someone else will be able to enjoy it just as much as you did.
Sustainable fashion has become more popular in recent years with many designers opting to research new fabrics and ways to make them. Boztas (2018) explains that Anke Domaske- a biologist- who was developing a non-allergenic fibre from milk proteins for clothes, the research came from a technique in the 1930s this showcases some of the many different ideas that people have come up with, lots of developments in the production of fabrics has come from historical techniques that have been forgotten. When researching how people would have made and fixed clothes in the olden days it’s easy to see that the environment wasn’t as affected as it is today. There was a lot more care taken into how things were made and with a lack of machinery it was often all handmade at home, reducing the need for huge factories producing hundreds of thousands of the same item of clothing. With new research being collated more and more discoveries are being made into new production methods of fabrics, not only how they are made but also what is used to make them.
A generation of greed is now upon the earth with people wanting everything now, it has to be right there when they want it, and nothing is kept around very long “nearly a quarter of 16-24-year-olds said they would only be pictured in an item one to three times on social media before discarding it” (Lucy Siegle, 2018, b) this unfortunately is one of the biggest problems the fashion industry is facing day to day, and it is hard to see a way to fix this. People then throw the clothes out, they don’t think about charity shops of charity clothes banks, even clothes swaps with friends all things that would help to begin eliminating this problem. With the popularity surrounding social media, the fast fashion trend has really taken off, with the availability of clothes just a fingertip away, clothes have never been so attainable, for years people would save up for their one jumper or pair of trousers but now people just buy it straight away giving social media a lot to answer for, people are now more aware of their public image and who is viewing all of their profiles, keeping up with appearances is now more important to people and with this the negative of only wearing an item once before getting rid of it.
When buying online people rarely think about the delivery and how that affects the environment, they might consider how the garment is made and whether that is sustainable but hardly ever the delivery, “Delivery trucks also contribute substantially to the burden of fine particulate matter, known as PM2.5, in the air, which is associated with many effects on human health” (DeWeerdt, 2016) This shows just how bad online shopping is not just to the environment but to the health on humans, if people knew this would they still buy as much online or would it become a lot more frowned upon. When spending money online, the debate as to whether the delivery charge should be paid for or not can often decide if the purchase is made, many think that the charge can be ridiculous but if they realised how harmful the delivery is would the debate still be about paying the charge or would it move onto finding a solution that doesn’t affect the environment or human health.
The fast fashion industry is often discussed with a negative context towards the environment, but it’s not always talked about the effect it has on the people making it. Helbig (2018) describes “workers in developing nations often paid a pittance to labour” it’s shocking that for people to have the clothes they want when they want them, it comes at a greater cost for mankind, just for people to have access to fast fashion cheaply. With many high street brands looking to have all of their garments exported to be made overseas, often in very poor working conditions for the manufacturers and then they are paid poorly, the increase in popularity for fast fashion has meant that more and more companies are looking towards developing countries to get their clothes manufactured there for as little cost as possible. There are better options, not always the cheapest option, but they are better for humans and the environment which could include renting wardrobes that would reduce the need for fast fashion.
Black Friday has a lot to answer for especially to small companies who cannot keep up with the big online retailers. “The British Retail Consortium has said retailers had their worst Christmas in a decade” (BBC News, 2019) This shows how much online shopping can affect retailers, Christmas has always been the busiest time in the retail calendar, but people are now opting to complete their Christmas shopping on Black Friday with all of the discounts and deals that are available. People are always on the hunt for the latest and best deal, the cheapest way for them to be able to buy what they are after, which explains why people go mad for black Friday, they can get their Christmas shopping finished early and feel like they didn’t break the bank. But with the increase of people doing their shopping on this day or should it be said cyber week, it leaves the question as to whether it is the best way for shopping to be done, is it just causing more problems for later down the line. Not only is it showing the pure volume of people completing their online shopping it is also taking the customers away from small independent businesses who can’t keep up with the deals that the big companies are able to offer.
Online shopping has really taken off with people being able to spend their hard earned money right from their home and have their new wardrobe dropped off the next day, the world is now active 24/7 there is always something going on somewhere and peoples schedule are now a lot busier and they don’t have much free time which has had a real impact on the way that clothes are bought, people tend not to have big shopping days where they go into their local towns and cities and buy from local shops, it has become a lot more online. “Shoppers who once crowded malls are now ordering on phones, computers and tablets, siphoning sales from physical stores, which face growing pressure to reinvent their businesses” (Associated Press, 2016) This shows just how much online shopping has affected local businesses, this couldn’t have been predicted a few years ago but it is definitely going in the direction of everything being online as it is easier for people to fit around their busy schedules, although it is more practical as people can buy what they want when they want it and it will be on their doorstep the next day, without ever needing to leave their home or their pyjamas this allows people to spend more time at home and get everything they want without any hassle, shopping has never been easier.
Companies nowadays are more focused on cost and how to make their designs the cheapest they can so that they can get the best profit available, but this is beginning to change with some companies trying to find the best way to make their garments to the best quality for price for the consumer and also the best quality of life for those who make them. Everlane is one of the leading brands trying to explore this they “spend months finding the best factories around the world—the same ones that produce your favorite designer labels.” (Everlane, 2019) this shows that they know who their manufacturers are which gives assurance when the consumer decides to buy from this particular brand, which eliminates the ignorance of online shopping. Unfortunately, they are one of the very few brands who are so transparent within their sales, Figure 3 shows the full cost break down of their products, this helps to raise awareness of how other companies sell their products and shows just how much profit some companies add to their products. It also showcases how possible it is to make garments to a professional and sustainable standard for less.
Packaging is another big factor within the online shopping argument, with many companies opting for packing their products in plastic that can’t be recycled and which will just end up in landfill. But there are new alternatives, for instance made of mushroom roots and crop waste “Eco-cradle decomposes within weeks as against Styrofoam packaging that can take centuries to decompose” (We Don’t Have Time, 2018) this showcases the movement in packaging production and how new inventions are becoming more sustainable and environmentally friendly. With new options becoming available the impact that online shopping has on the environment should fall as less will end up in land fill, making the whole process a lot more sustainable. Figure 4 shows the disgusting procedures packaging goes through to be made but it also shows how Eco-cradle takes a much more natural approach
Plastic bags are still causing a lot of issues and with the rise of online shopping this isn’t going away anytime soon unless companies start to do something about it. It’s a difficult thing to sort out as “There are precisely zero opportunities to have a chat with a human to ask if they could kindly lose the excessive packaging and multiple carrier bags” (Siegle, 2018, pg. 132) unlike shopping in a physical store, but is there a way to sort this. With the lack of conversation between the consumer and the company, companies just have to make sure that the product they are selling is well packaged so that it arrives safely instead of thinking too much about the amount of packaging that is involved or the type of packaging that is used.
Overall the whole idea of online shopping is one of the best ideas that the human race has come up with, the practicality and ease to be able to purchase anything you want when it is wanted or needed and know that it will be on the doorstep the next day is something that should be celebrated. Although it is a brilliant idea the execution of the process is something that needs a lot of work. Packaging is a very good place to start, finding something that can be re-used or will decompose quickly instead of sitting in landfill, but it just needs a better understanding from big suppliers who still rely on plastic. Renting wardrobes would help to eradicate the amount of fast fashion in supply but also the amount of waste or unworn items that sit filling up the wardrobe, being able to access the latest sought out designer pieces and stick to the fashion trends without the waste is the perfect option (Wear The Walk, 2018) . The ignorance of online shopping will disappear once companies stand up to the ignorance and do something about it. Future generations still have to live on this planet, luckily for them the world of online shopping is beginning to move in the right direction.
Hope you are enjoying the summer months, it's been a while since I last posted. This summer has been quite busy, I have been to France and just got back from a two week holiday in Crete, I have also moved form uni halls into private accommodation and completed my first dress commission; blog posts to follow shortly.
I have been really quiet on social media recently but I'm now getting back into the swing of things and when I start uni again in September everything will be a lot more regular.
Don't forget to comment and follow me on social media,
Love Eleanor xxx
This is my recipe for hoisin chicken with courgetti, it's one of my go-to meals because it's really quick and tasty. If there are any recipes that you would like to see me make please leave them in the comment section.I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.
Love Eleanor xx
I can't believe we are in 2018 already!
2017 has been quite the year and it has gone by so quickly. I have created my first bridal collection, finished college, moved to university in Norwich, and so much more. I have enjoyed 2017 so much and I look forward to 2018 and the adventures it brings.
My New Year's Resolutions
I want to take this new year as a chance to improve my blog, I will be uploading more content on a regular basis, so please leave a comment about what you want to see more of. I also want to improve my drawing, photography and digital skills.
Please leave a comment about what your New Year's Resolutions are and I look forward to reading them. I hope the New Year brings you lots of joy and happiness.
love Eleanor xx
I am a big fan of a risotto, so here is the recipe for one I made the other day, it took me about 45 minutes to make.
I hope you enjoy this risotto and don't forget to leave a comment on how you found the recipe.
Love Eleanor xx
This is one of my favourite meals, as it is cheap and easy, you just put it all in a tin and cook.
Hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do.
Love Eleanor xx
My favourite designer of all time and one of my biggest inspirations, due to the way he changed fashion after World War II. When I saw this exhibition advertised on Instagram I knew I had to go and see it at Les Arts Décoratifs , even though it was in Paris. It was 100% worth the trip and was by far the best exhibition I have ever been to. As you go around there is so much to look at from artwork to garments and speeches. I loved getting to see designs by Christian Dior, all of his drawings were really interesting to see what was going on in his mind to create such brilliant work.
I had two favourite rooms, the first was a long room that was filled with garments, pictures, miniatures, jewels and shoes it was amazing to see all of these things all in one place and it went around in colour from reds to pinks, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, purples, blacks and whites. It was truly beautiful.
The other was one of the last rooms and it was filled with dresses that were made for special occasions like big balls and award ceremonies. It was so sparkly and fantastic!
The outfits went all the way up to the ceiling giving a real insight into just how many different garments the Dior label has created, and showcasing just how magnificent they really are.
I really liked the room that was filled with toiles, for someone like me this was brilliant to see all of the stages that the big fashion houses go through and see all of the similarities of what I have to do.
They had thought of everything to make sure that this exhibition was excellent and it really showed, from the layout to the ceiling everything was beautiful. Here are a few more pictures that I took whilst I was there.
If you have the opportunity to visit this exhibition I highly recommend it as it was one of the best decisions of mine to go as I learnt so much whilst I was there.
Don't forget to comment and follow me on social media for updates.
Love Eleanor xx
This is a little bit later than I would have like due to some technical issues but it is here, my trip to Paris.
This was a trip that my mum and I took at the end of July, we went after I saw an exhibition on Christian Dior being advertised on Instagram, after going to the exhibition (which was brilliant and you can read all about it in my last blog post) we had more time to explore the beautiful city. This was my third time visiting Paris so I could go and see and explore different parts that I hadn't been to before.
The Basilica De Saint Denis
After watching the BBC series The Musketeers and learning about Marie Antoinette I have had a very keen interest in the French Monarchy, when doing my research on Paris I learnt that all the Kings and Queens of France are buried at the Basilica or at least have a statue, during the French revolution a lot of the monarchies tombs were destroyed, but since then they have been given a proper burial at the Basilica. It was so beautiful with huge colourful stained-glass windows and amazing Gothic architecture. The crypt was really interesting as it had the tomb of Marie Antoinette and other members of the French Monarchy. The statues of the Monarchs were amazing and really detailed. As the Basilica is in Saint Denis which is just out of the main city centre many people don't visit it but it is worth the visit as it is full of information and things to look at.
The architecture is very impressive, there are lots of historical buildings that are huge, and the palaces are just stunning. The exhibition was at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, from the hotel that we were staying in to the exhibition we got to walk past some beautiful scenery that Paris has to offer including the Pyramids at the Louvre.
We decided to have a sit down in the gardens by one of the fountains, there were lots of chairs that you could sit on to enjoy the gardens which was really relaxing. we decided to go and buy some pain au chocolate and then eat them in the gardens which was a really lovely thing to do whilst we waited for the exhibition to open. I really recommend the Tuileries Gardens as they are peaceful and relaxing and you can people watch in the sun (as long as it is shining).
Thank you for reading, please leave a comment about what you would like to see me do next or places you would like me to visit and review.
Don't forget to check out my social media.
Lots of Love
Hello, Eleanor here, I am currently at Norwich University of the Arts studying Fashion, please join me along my adventure.