- David’s Bridal debuted its first “eco-minded” collection of wedding gowns Tuesday, partly made from recycled fibers, including recycled polyester and nylon, according to a company announcement.
- The eight-piece collection, which ranges from $299 to $599, includes plunging and sweetheart necklines, beadwork, varying sleeve length options and lace, the company said.
- David’s Bridal said it built the collection to cater to brides who value brands that undertake climate initiatives and offer sustainable products. The company is following the lead of other brands that have created eco-friendly wedding dress collections.
In its announcement, David’s Bridal suggested it wanted to reach brides who cared about sustainable apparel, and who wanted to shop eco-friendly brands. The new collection is meant to provide wedding dress options “without sacrificing the eco-conscious customer’s core beliefs to make small changes to better the environment,” according to the news release.
In 2020, The Pronovias Group — a bridal conglomerate that owns several brands, including White One, Ladybird and Pronovias — set a goal to have sustainable gowns account for half of its collections within the next five years. Its first collection of sustainable options included embroidery and beading made from recycled materials.
Other brands are focusing on creating wedding dresses that can be worn more than once. Last year, for instance, Vivienne Westwood launched a couture bridal collection and offered to rework the dresses for customers after their weddings so they could be worn for other occasions.
Many consumers say these issues influence their shopping behaviors. In a 2021 survey from analytics platform First Insight and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, 72% of consumers said sustainability was very or somewhat important when they were considering a purchase. That’s an even higher share than the 56% consumers who placed importance on brand name, the survey found.
The survey also found that environmental issues were driving consumers’ preference for sustainable brands more than retail executives expected. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they shopped for sustainable brands to improve the environment, 23% said they aimed to reduce production waste and 22% wanted to diminish their carbon footprint.
"We are always listening to our customers' needs,” Nancy Viall, chief merchandising officer at David's Bridal, said in a statement. “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.”
All of the wedding dresses in the collection include recycled polyester, according to the product listing on David Bridal’s website.
Polyester, which is derived from petroleum, releases significant amounts of greenhouse gasses when it is produced. The fiber also leaks microplastics when it’s washed, which can eventually reach oceans and enter the food chain.
More brands have been looking to use recycled polyester, which has a smaller carbon footprint than virgin polyester. From 2016 to 2021, the share of global polyester that was recycled increased from 12.4% to 14.8%, according to a recent report from Textile Exchange.
However, some sustainability advocates argue that recycled polyester isn’t necessarily a better choice than the virgin material. Recycled polyester still leeches microplastics into the environment.
Moreover, the vast majority of recycled polyester is made from plastic bottles, which then can’t be recycled again, leading them to either be incinerated or tossed in a landfill when discarded. If they were remade into plastic bottles instead, they could potentially be continuously recycled.