Our favorite wedding trend that we've been willing into fruition? Eco-friendly weddings. We're so thrilled it's catching on.

Dresses by Loulette Bride photographed by Chellise Michael via Bridal Musings

We've covered so many ways you can be environmentally conscious while you plan your wedding – from venue choice, to rentals, to sourcing local foods & florals, to purchasing biodegradable products and hiring vendors who care about the planet. The fashion industry – wedding & bridal included – is its own dirty beast when it comes to carbon emissions and waste.

Luckily, we have friends like Marteal, designer of Loulette Bride, to spill the secrets on the fashion industry & help us all be more eco-friendly with our wedding wardrobe choices.

Often featured on Bridal Musings for her sustainable & inclusive bridal collections, incredible ethics & insight on fabric choices, Loulette Bride makes us feel good about the future of bridal.

Dresses by Loulette Bride photographed by Chellise Michael via Bridal Musings

Loulette Love Letter: The Dirty, Dirty Fashion Industry

There is no way around it: the fashion and mass-market bridal industries are dirty. Both physically and metaphorically, the fashion and mass-market bridal industries are full of dirty practices, dirty secrets, and dirty behavior. Let’s spill some tea!

Dirty Practices

The fast fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. Here are a few fun facts to remember the next time you check out David's Bridal, H&M, Zara, Target, Walmart, Shein, Asos, Old Navy, Madewell, J.Crew, Gap, Levi’s, Uniqlo, Michael Kors, Victoria’s Secret, etc.

  • Fashion production makes up 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions.
  • 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year. Synthetics fibers are petroleum-based and will take hundreds of years to biodegrade.
  • Clothing manufacturers use toxic chemicals at several different stages, from coloring fabrics to finishing pieces.
  • Washing synthetic fiber clothes releases 500,000 tons of microfibers into the ocean each year — the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles.
  • Textile dyeing is the world’s second-largest polluter of water since the water leftover from the dyeing process is often dumped into ditches, streams, or rivers. Cotton farming has also created a water crisis in many regions.
  • Sweatshops still exist. 75 million people are making the clothes we wear and 80% of them are young women, typically just 18 to 24 years old. Most of them earn under $3 a day, working on average 14 hours a day. Child labor is still common practice, and working conditions are often dangerous.

Dirty Secrets

There are SO many tricks that the fashion industry has tried to pull on us. And a lot of them have unfortunately worked. But knowledge is power, so let’s get powerful, shall we!?

  • ”Designer Outlets” are anything but. We are made to believe that Designer Outlets are high-end designer items at a lower price, but 85 percent of the merchandise sold in outlet stores is manufactured exclusively for these stores. They are cheaper pieces at a cheaper price, just with a designer tag.
  • Vanity Sizing: In true patriarchal form, fast fashion execs have manipulated women’s insecurities in the form of vanity sizing, a practice in which the sizes are scaled so the consumer feels better when she fits into a smaller size item. (This is also why you may be a larger number size in bridal because we aren’t trying to trick you!)
  • Greenwashing: As sustainability becomes trendy, fast fashion has wasted no time jumping the bandwagon, while not actually doing anything to BE sustainable.
  • Trademarks don’t exist in fashion, which means it is basically the wild west of knock-offs and designers can’t do anything about it.

Dirty Behavior

The fashion industry has long been an unsafe place for women, making models and talent particularly vulnerable. From sexual abuse, mistreatment, abuse of power, manipulation of jobs, underpaying, the list goes on and on.

In my own time in the fashion industry, I had my work stolen by JLM Couture. One company stopped paying everyone completely and canceled our health insurance without telling us. One company would work with a sample room, not pay them, and then work with a different sample room next time. Oh, and obviously no one so much as recycled cardboard boxes. It all sucked so much.

What you can do?

1. Research, research, research, and share your knowledge!
As consumers, we have to support brands that manufacture sustainably, have fair labor practices, are transparent about where and how their clothes are made, and use organic, recycled, or sustainable materials!

2. Quality, not Quantity!
Buy less overall, and buy better pieces. Loved clothing lasts.

3. Wash Less Frequently, and Hang Dry
This means fewer fibers leaching into the water and using less energy to dry.

4. Vintage, Vintage, Vintage!
Secondhand and vintage are just cooler in every way. Trust me.

Dresses by Loulette Bride photographed by Chellise Michael via Bridal Musings

Ok, that’s it for your lesson today, fellow eco-friendly friends! Want more wedding dress shopping tips? Sign up for weekly Loulette Love Letters!

xo, Marteal