Solitary Pearl is offering discounts and deals on their ethical, custom, or DIY indie wedding gowns!

This business paid a fee to be listed on Offbeat Bride because they feel their products and services are a great fit with offbeat philosophies… and we agree. Learn more about our ads.

0012Now don't get me wrong, I love the dress I got married in, but sometimes when I see a dress like this one from our sponsor Solitary Pearl, I think hmmm… I wish I had known about this dress with that holy-crap-gorgeous back details years ago!

Solitary Pearl offers comfy and eco-friendly dress designs like my new favorite up there. Much like that dress, all these Solitary Pearl dresses are just so incredibly beautiful but still indie, and just feminine enough to please princesses and tomboys alike.

I hope you haven't found your wedding dress yet, because there are three reasons you're going to be seriously tempted by Solitary Pearl…

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Solitary Pearl is all about ethically sourced and made wedding dresses

Remember when we told you about Wed Altared — the eco-friendly collective of 20+ designers and vendors? Wed Altered is organized by Christen, the designer behind Solitary Pearl! So clearly, Christen has a passion for sustainability and social justice. Whether you're purchasing a dress from their collection, or having a dress custom-made, Solitary Pearl uses all natural materials — many are Fair Trade — and dyes — any dress can be made in any color! Which means, all their dresses not only look good but feel amazing.

Here is a sketch of the dress that you'll be making with the free pattern.
Here is a sketch of the dress that you'll be making with the free pattern.

Solitary Pearl is offering Sew Along patterns to introduce their upcoming line of DIY wedding dress kits

Solitary Pearl is creating a line of DIY kits and Sew Alongs — putting together kits of a muslin pattern, fabric, notions, directions, and a personal Q&A sessions — so that all brides can afford eco-friendly wedding dresses, and experience slow fashion. In honor of this new business endeavor, Christen is offering a special dress pattern for free, exclusively for Offbeat Brides:

The Sew Alongs will usually cost $149. But I'm doing a pattern for Offbeat Brides free! It'll include the digital files for the pattern, a whole lot of instructions and videos, and live online Q&A with me once a week. While it won't include the fabric and materials, I'll be happy to help source fabric and everything they need for the pattern.

This pattern will be one that they can make for an everyday dress, honeymoon dress, bridesmaids, rehearsal, whatever! So even if you already have your dress you can still join us!

Head over here for more info on the Sew Along.

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Solitary Pearl has limited time discounts on their Etsy site

OFFBEAT DISCOUNT: For those of you who don't have the skillz to make your own dress, Solitary Pearl is offering two discounts over on their Etsy site:

  • 20% discount until July 12, 2013: Use the code Offbeat20 at checkout.
  • 10% discount until September 1, 2013: Use the code Offbeat10 at checkout.

Alison Real Bride

Whether an eco-friendly dress is your top priority, or a dress made by your own hands is more your style, Solitary Pearl has your back covered. (Beautifully beautifully covered in exquisite style. OMG, look at that dress up there!) Get in contact with Christen from Solitary Pearl and rock the ethically-sourced dress of your dreams.

  1. Just chiming in with a couple of questions–I thought the answers might be useful for other OBBs to know, so I figured I'd ask here instead of asking in an email.

    This OB vendor seems very anti-sweatshop, which is awesome, but I'm a little confused about the word "ethical" in its listings. Is this what ethical means in this context–non-exploitative labor? The reason I'm confused is that the listings mention silk, and silk that's made from silk worms are, in almost all cases, pretty much unethical by definition (the exception is short-strand "peace" silk, which is harvested from vacated cocoons). Up to 15,000 silk worms are boiled alive to make a gram of silk, and silk worms do respond to sensory stimuli the same way we do, so it's pretty likely they feel pain.

    I saw hemp silk mentioned on one of Solitary Pearl's listings, and I'd love to know if this is a silk-worm-free alternative to silk, which would be really cool! However, I also saw just plain silk, so I'm curious if this is peace silk or if it's traditionally made silk, which unfortunately involves a lot of animal cruelty.

    If I've misunderstood the listings, and all of Solitary Pearl's listings are for peace silk or hemp silk, then apologies for all the questions! I had never even heard of hemp silk before, and I imagine other OBB readers are new to it too. (I had also never heard the term Slow Fashion–this sounds awesome!)

    Happy Friday!

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    • Hi Elizabeth!

      Don't apologize, those are all fantastic questions! I'll do what I can to answer them, and then you can let me know if there's more info I can give…

      You're right, we are very anti-sweatshop…it's the biggest cause we work toward. Sometimes certain types of silk can't be made in a handloom setting (like charmuese or chiffon) and they haven't really hit the Fair Trade market yet. Since we have to buy them from a conventional factory setting (that is still, as far as we can tell, non-exploitative), we just use the word "ethical" because we put a lot of effort into finding the best company we can, but they aren't certified Fair Trade or anything. It's our attempt at being totally transparent and accurate in our labels and descriptions.

      We do use traditionally made silk, and I completely understand the movement behind peace silk. We have sources for it and we're happy to make dresses from it, as well as some great organic cotton. However, the Fair Trade silk we use (which makes up almost all of our dresses) is made in a village that relies on the silk worms used in the process as an important part of their diet. (I know to a vegan that doesn't help, but it was something I found interesting and encouraging).

      Unfortunately hemp silk just means a blend of hemp and silk, so it carries the same issues for brides looking for vegan options. It's great for brides who aren't, but still want eco-friendly and fair labor options, though!

      Slow Fashion is a fantastic movement! Google it sometime and I promise you'll be reading posts and articles for hours. A great book to start with is "Overdressed – the Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion".

      The questions you asked are super important for everyone to start thinking about, and more importantly, acting on. We're constantly trying to get better materials and better practices. We have realized that it's pretty impossible for everyone to cover all the bases though (i.e. support a village economy that's been based on silk production for generations, or protect the dignity of the living creature that provides it?). That's actually a big part of why we started Wed Altered. All of the designers support a variety of causes, and as a group we can help more brides find something that really fits them and their values!

      Happy Friday to you as well! I get to look forward to a long weekend of family reunions and 4th of July parties :) Hope you have something fun to do to!

      Again, please send anymore questions my way here or at info@solitarypearl.com

      (Also, thank you for obviously taking a good chunk of time and effort to look at our site!)

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      • Thanks for answering my questions, Christen! I hope more peace silk finds it way into your line, and I'm glad you're also working with organic cotton.

        I am starting to read up on Slow Fashion, beginning with a couple of articles by the author of the book you suggested. This stuff is frightening. My husband is French, and he has been horrified by how Americans buy a lot of cheap, low quality clothing ever since he came to this country. So this shouldn't have surprised me, I suppose. I just didn't realize how bad it was, and it makes me cheer on independent artisans even more than I did before.

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  2. On the sew along page it says i need a code from obb, but I cant seem to find it ( treasure hunt!) can you point me towards it?

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    • Thanks for pointing that out Sierra! Instead of making everyone find the missing code (that I forgot to ask the lovely Megan to include), I just took that part out. If anyone signs up and hasn't seen Offbeat Bride, we'll just make it required reading :)

      Just enter your email in the space on the page and you'll get the information you need for the Sew Along. Looking forward to it!

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  3. Hi Christen,

    I am amazed to see your blog and ofcourse your efforts!

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  4. Thanks Moh and Elizabeth!

    Elizabeth, I was amazed and scared when I started reading all of that info too! I was raised by discount clothes bargain pros, so against my learned habits I'm trying to train myself to buy less and buy better. My parents were also big on reuse and second hand though, so that's a good habit they gave me :) That's great you have your husband's perspective too, I've always wondered how we differ from other countries.

    I was thinking today that I might be able to talk the co-op I partner with into learning how to make peace silk…that might be a solution to the support them vs. peace silk conundrum. As always, there's a lot to learn and look for! Thanks again!

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