Real Talk: How to Know a Wedding Dress is Sustainable with the Global Sustainability Director of Maggie Sottero Designs
The wedding planning industry is seeing many exciting changes of late, closing or narrowing many gaps that have been in existence for far too long, and among them is an environmental consciousness. What do we mean? The wedding planning process is now making room for more sustainable choices. We’ve seen venues taking on missions to reduce their footprint, select decor or invitations being swapped out for more sustainable materials, but most excitingly one of our beloved designers is now making a commitment to our planet. Extra points if you know who we’re talking about, but if not, we’ll tell you anyway — Maggie Sottero Designs. In fact, I remember the first time I was in a bridal shop and pulled a dress from the rack; it was a Maggie Sottero gown and it was magnificent! I was in love and knew this was my passion — weddings and fashion. If I wasn’t already obsessed with Maggie before, then once I heard they broke the mold with their new goals this year, I knew I would’ve been because it’s a focus not addressed nearly enough.
Of course, our team had to dig a little deeper and get with Maggie Sottero for more information on more sustainable wedding dress options, so we connected with Patricia DeLaunay, the Global Sustainability Director of Maggie Sottero Designs. And now we’re sharing everything we learned about lower impact wedding dresses and materials with you!
Let’s start with the materials, a natural starting point when thinking about wedding dresses. DeLaunay shares that couples looking for more sustainable materials for their wedding attire would look to materials that are plant-based or made with recycled fibers. For plant-based, we’re talking organic cotton or linen, and when it comes to fabrics made with recycled fibers, we’re talking those in which help support a circular supply chain, she explains.
“For example, [at Maggie Sottero Designs],” DeLaunay says, “we’ve introduced recycled polyester produced from post-consumer plastic waste rather than virgin resources. The fabric creation process has quite an impact, too; that’s why we’re also leveraging yarn-dyed materials, where our mill partner has achieved a greater reduction in water and energy usage compared to standard methods!”
What Makes a Wedding Dress Sustainable
DeLaunay tells us there’s no official approved standard for describing a gown as more “sustainable”. Indeed, the wearer “should expect a sustainable wedding dress to feature materials with a lower impact on the planet and production processes that aim to minimize environmental harm, [but] another element of sustainability is the quality of a garment; is it well-made, and, therefore, will it have longevity?
“In the case of a wedding gown, can another bride inherit it? A gown already in existence, whether hanging in a boutique or vintage shop, is also considered a more sustainable option,” she points out.
Now one way to know if a dress is more sustainable or has a lower impact is to look to see if the dress (or designer) is GRS certified — which certainly takes the guesswork out of it. DeLaunay explains that GRS certification is when certain, specific criteria is met according to the Global Recycled Standard. A dress can be GRS certified if the garment “‘meets specific criteria for using recycled materials in its production, ensuring a certain level of environmental sustainability. The certification requires the dress to contain a minimum percentage of recycled materials and adhere to social and environmental criteria throughout its entire supply chain. To obtain GRS certification, a designer must work with suppliers that meet these standards, provide evidence of material origin, and undergo a verification process by an accredited certification body to ensure compliance with GRS guidelines.’”
Now while Maggie Sottero Designs is admittedly not yet certified as a brand, DeLaunay shares, “We’re doing our best to respect guidelines set by certification bodies like the GRS!” And so she tells us that couples will see Maggie using a number of GRS-certified materials in the Spring 2024 collection. Maggie Sottero has also partnered with the non-profit One Tree Planted to plant a tree in honor of every Maggie Bride.
Don't miss the new Maggie Sottero Spring Collections debuting on October 10th, 2023! Can’t wait to see it all?! Neither can we, and as soon as we get a preview, we promise to share it with you!
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