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Traditional Bridal Wear vs. Sustainability

In a world where trends come and go with the latest social media post and Amazon can deliver a brand new outfit to your doorstep in less than 24 hours, fashion and sustainability don't often go hand-in-hand. Convenience and instant gratification have us in a stranglehold, which is great for the fashion industry and not so much for the world it exists in (read: Earth).

Maybe we're not consciously thinking about our environmental impact, but we care, right? We're bringing canvas totes to the grocery store, using our mason jars, and buying “green” alternatives to products we use, et cetera. It's just that we're not thinking about the environmental impact when we've finally found the absolute perfect-holy-grail-makes-my-butt-look-fabulous pair of jeans and that rush of dopamine hits.

So here is the issue: the wedding gown industry vs. sustainability. Buying a dress that will only be worn for one day is pretty much the definition of unsustainable. While some designers are combating this issue by creating wedding separates or pieces that can be worn after the wedding day (which is amazing), there still lies a major issue. Are all brides on board with that idea yet? Modern brides tend to defy tradition, but this more sustainable bridal option to re-wear is slow to be adopted en mass.

At Barbara Kavchok Couture, we create beautiful, one-of-a-kind, pieces of wearable art for brides to experience on their wedding day. There is certainly no way we can convince our brides that their custom Mikado ballgown can be worn to their best friend's wedding or that fancy business dinner, so we had to throw that sustainability solution out the window. When Barbara began designing her new collection, she intended to find a method of sustainability that worked for us and our brides.

A couple years ago, Barbara created the Phoenix gown. She is an immaculate, avant-garde, high-low, tent dress covered in what looks like feathers in shades of purples and greens. Those feathers are all hand-painted scraps of fabric (and there's a million of them). It's almost poetic, pieces of what would normally be trash were turned into something so beautiful.

Repurposed and recycled materials are used throughout the designs of the new collection. Just like the Phoenix, one of the gowns in the collection is primarily constructed from repurposed material. Ruched panels of fabric cover the gown to create the most gorgeous texture. Scraps of crepe, chiffon, and other fabrics usually considered unusable are given a new life through fabric manipulation.

At Barbara Kavchok Couture, we believe in doing what we can in our little corner of the world to promote positive outcomes. Sustainability is one of our core values as we operate in this often not-so-sustainable industry. Although we can't control the trends, what brides want, or the industry around us, we have the power to create the designs we dream up in sustainable ways; including traditional bridal gowns. Sustainable bridal wear, no pants suit required (unless that's what you want, because they are pretty awesome).

Keep an eye out for Barbara's new collection, debuting this spring. You don't want to miss this.


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