Eco-friendly weddings might evoke biodegradable invitations, locally sourced bouquets and thrifted mason jar centerpieces. But what about the wedding dress?
To some degree, the wedding gown has escaped the scrutiny fashion has put on sustainability in recent years. For brides who don’t want to wear a cosigned dress on their big day, some designers are starting to incorporate sustainable elements into new garments.
That’s where David’s Bridal‘s new recycled polyester bridal collection comes in.
The bridal and special occasion giant debuted Reimagine by DB Studio, its first-ever eco-minded collection of gowns made from recycled fabrics targeting the sustainably modern bride.
“We are always listening to our customers’ needs. She told us that eco-mindedness is important to her when selecting retailers to shop with, especially for a significant purchase like a wedding gown,” Nancy Viall, chief merchandising officer at David’s Bridal, said. “It is important we deliver styles that represent who our customers are, many of whom are eco-conscious, environmentally mindful and trendy. This Reimagine by DB Studio collection achieves all. We are so proud of the collection and thrilled to bring even more diverse value to our customers.”
According to a recent survey done by David’s Bridal in partnership with market research firm First Insight, 58 percent of brides consider the sustainability of the apparel they purchase important, and one-third make a point of shopping with brands that offer sustainable products and place value on eco-minded initiatives. And low-waste weddings were a predicted top trend on Pinterest in 2020, with searches up 235 percent the year prior. Thrifted wedding dress searches were up 41 percent.
Ranging from $299 through $599, the collection was curated by David’s Bridal in-house team of designers and merchants and features current trends for this season, such as dramatic necklines, intricate back details, versatile sleeve options and modern takes on the classic lace look.
The collection features recycled polyester, making up, on average, 40 percent of a gown’s lining and 36 percent of its shell, in combination with traditional polyester. The percentage of recycled polyester varies throughout the eight-piece collection, as high as 100 percent in some products and as low as 27 percent in others. One dress features recycled nylon as well. These recycled materials are sourced from pre-existing relationships with suppliers. Depending on how well the collection is received, David’s Bridal said it will potentially expand its Reimagine offering for future seasons.
Reimagine is the latest development supporting the bridal brand’s eco-minded initiatives. Since launching Frontline Fierce last February, the retailer’s philanthropy program has donated over 13,000 gowns and dresses to organizations, including the First Responders Children’s Foundation and Operation Deploy Your Dress. David’s Bridal also launched its Reclaimed Beauty initiative, which repurposes deadstock fabric into new dresses, currently for the bridal and flower girl categories.
Sustainability in the wedding industry has gained traction in recent years. Last May, online boutique selling wedding and special occasion dresses Azazie implemented the reverse logistics service Happy Returns to improve the returns experience for brides in what shaped up to be the biggest wedding season in the wake of pent-up pandemic demand. As of last September, Azazie improved returns processing efficiency rates by 8 percent, according to its vice president of operations, Jeff Cardoso. And in 2019, fashion search platform Lyst found a 93 percent increase in views of pre-owned wedding dresses year over year. Stella McCartney broke into the bride-to-be industry with a 17-piece “Made With Love” collection in 2018, featuring gowns produced with sustainable viscose.