Friday, December 26, 2008

GREEN CHIC: New Eco-Friendly Fabrics for 2009

If you’re eco-conscious about the fabric you want to incorporate into your wedding gown, are you ever in for a treat this season. Some of the green finds for 2009 are truly remarkable and I can’t wait to introduce these new gems to my clients, not only for their look good factor but also for sustainability. So what makes for an eco-friendly fabric?
1. Production of fabric follows fair trade practices (read: no prison contracted or sweat-shop labor involved)
2. Free or low on chemicals and pesticides
3. Eco-conscious land management practices
4. Sustainable farming
5. Animal friendly practices

Amy-Jo Tatum

Believe it or not Eco-friendly is now including polyester on its list. That’s right. If you can find a way to recycle a dress (or anything) from something polyester, you’re helping make the world a greener more livable place. Actually, this ‘re-sourcing’ of fabric can apply to any fabric that gets recycled like the 100% Swiss cotton Summer dress above.

Amy-Jo Tatum

Hemp and silk always top the list for luxury like the gown pictured above and below in hemp and tea-dyed silk gauze. Since some weddings are going a little more casual lately, we’ve also seen some gorgeous cotton, linen and bamboo dresses.

Amy-Jo Tatum
Here's a close up look at some of those fabrics making the Green Designer A-List (Okay, okay, okay: Amy's personal favorites Green A-List).
Dharma Trading

HEMP SILK and Hemp Charmeuse. (above) Here’s a fabric getting some rave reviews these days, combo hemp and silk. The silk has a luxe sheen while the hemp provides strength and body. Like silk charmeuse, Hemp Charmeuse has a shiny side and a matte side. Both sides highlight that slubbiness hemp has. This is really going to be a popular fabric for bridal wear in the next few years.
Dharma Trading
BAMBOO-(above) Some Bamboo drapes and acts like silk but has a stronger make-up. Bamboo also has a property called, Bamboo Kun, a micro-bacterial. Because of its nature, bamboo can be washed, go through fifty washes and still hold onto all its anti-fungal properties. I’ve also heard it prevents body odor . . . . well, all I can add to that is, we’ll see.
Dharma Trading
ORGANIC COTTON-(above) Here's a question I get all the time. What’s the difference between organic and regular cotton? First answer: it has been grown free of chemicals and pesticides. Second: If whitened, it’s done so via a peroxiding process (approved method of G.O.T.S.—Global Organic Textile Standards) not bleach. One of my own contributions to going green is replacing some of the collection samples with crinoline petticoats in 100% organdy (stiff cotton).
Dharma Trading

COTTON OR RAYON VOILE- Ahhhh! Any chance to show the famous Letty Lynton dress (right and below) from the comparatively obscure 1932 classic film! When I first laid eyes on this design by Hollywood costumer, Adrian, I never forgot it. And how could I? Made of light weight cotton voile, this gown sold copies in record numbers back in the depression when Macy’s—in a special arrangement with MGM was able to offer it to the public. Both Rayon and organic cotton voiles are making comebacks this season in daytime formals, maybe not as exaggerated as this one but light weight and flowing.


A last word about silks. With all the new fabrics out from soy to bamboo, when it comes to bridal wear, silks still rule whether organic or not. If you’ve been wondering why everything is going down in price while wedding gowns keep those high price tags here’s a bit of info from Dharma Trading that might help. Not to long ago China revalued their currency; once they did, the price of silk yarn went up so naturally shipments to our manufacturers and designers cost more. Once silk prices go down (if they do) hopefully the cost of a wedding gown will come down as well. Till then, be prepared to pay more on most fabric imported from China which would include hemp, bamboos and silk.

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