Ethical & Sustainable Wedding Dresses for the Conscious Bride

Last Updated on January 20, 2023

For most brides, finding THE dress is the most challenging (and personal) part of wedding planning. For the sustainably minded bride, it’s even tougher! Sure, they might be pretty, but typical wedding gowns are made with synthetic fabrics and petroleum-based trims that require a huge amount of labour and energy for something that’s only intended to be used for one day. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 5 ethical wedding dress options for the bride with a heart of gold.

(please note: some affiliate links are used in this post which means we may get a small commission)

Option 1: Resale

An alternative to buying a new dress is secondhand. Resale sites, vintage stores and consignment shops are a perfect opportunity to snag the dress of your dreams for a great price. With websites like Borrowing Magnolia, Still White or Once Wed, you can browse through thousands of pre-owned designer gowns and find exactly what you’re looking for. Etsy is another fantastic option for eco-conscious brides. Besides having a huge selection of hand-made gowns, the eCommerce site also carries vintage and used wedding dresses. If you’re hoping for an in-person shopping experience, try searching for consignment bridal boutiques in your area. No compromise necessary! 

Image credit: The Fitzroy

Option 2: Rental

You’re already making a big enough commitment…why worry about the dress too?! Rental services are a great way to achieve the look you want without being stuck with a dress you’ll only wear once. Not only does this make sense for your finances, it has a pretty big environmental impact too. A rental dress can be cleaned and re-worn over and over, eliminating the need to create new garments. This saves labour and energy while keeping clothing in circulation for longer. And with the myriad of styles available, you’re guaranteed to find something you’ll love.

Rent The Runway, Best For Bride and Beyond the Runway are all great options for online shopping, while brick-and-mortar rental services like The Fitzroy are perfect for those in the Toronto area.

Check out our article on rental services for more tips and tricks! 

Image credit: Pure Magnolia

Option 3: Pure Magnolia

Calling all classic beauties! Pure Magnolia is a Canadian brand with a passion for ethical fashion. They focus on natural materials like silk and organic cotton and use recycled fabrics whenever possible. Their timeless styles are made in-house at their studio, limiting their overall environmental footprint. Scrap materials are either repurposed into new styles or collected and recycled through FABCYCLE. 

Price point: $450 – $3,300

Values: Local production, natural & sustainable materials, made-to-order, textile waste recycled through FABCYCLE

Size Range: 0 – 28

Availability: Based in Vancouver, BC, ships worldwide, stockists within Canada & U.S.

Image credit: Whimsy & Row

Option 4: Whimsy & Row

If you’re a laid-back bride with a preference for casual styles, Whimsy & Row could be a great option. This California-based brand creates high-quality pieces that can be dressed up or down for any occasion. They favor low-impact fabrics like certified organic cotton, linen, Tencel, cupro and silk, and they source deadstock and upcycled materials as much as possible. Their swanky cocktail dresses and stylish separates are all made in small batches within the Los Angeles area.

Price point: $110 – $319

Values: Local production, low-impact fabrics, carbon neutral, minimal waste, textile waste recycled through Marimole

Size Range: XXS – XL

Availability: Based in California, ships worldwide

Image credit: Leanna Marshall

Option 5: Leanne Marshall

Leanne Marshall is a bridal label with a passion for natural fabrics. Their stunning gowns and statement separates feature billowing sleeves, ruffled hemlines, and vintage silhouettes. Hello, romance! They focus on local production and minimal waste, with every piece being made-to-order in New York. Though their prices are on the higher end of this list, these beautiful designs are a must-see for the bride looking for something truly special. 

Price point: $680 – $4,240

Values: Local production, natural & sustainable materials, made-to-order, textile waste recycled through FABSCRAP

Size Range: 0 – 24

Availability: Based in New York, ships worldwide, stockists within US, Canada & UK

Finding a gown for your special day can be a tricky process. It’s one thing to find something that matches your style and aesthetic, but it can be equally challenging to find something that fits your values. Whether you’re on the hunt for something new, pre-owned, or one-of-a-kind, there are a ton of options available to today’s bride.

Did you/do you plan on wearing an ethical wedding dress for your big day?

We’d love to hear about it! Let us know in the comments below.

Looking for sustainable bridesmaid dresses? Check out this post.

Find more sustainable wedding tips here.

Follow Alexia Khan:
Alexia is a freelance content writer with a passion for sustainability, ethical fashion, and circularity. She is a lifelong fashion lover, an enthusiastic thrifter, and a sometimes sewist. When she’s not reading and writing about sustainable fashion, Alexia can often be found visiting her local vintage stores, trying out new coffee shops and snapping photographs of the city.

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