How to find a vegan wedding dress

October 11 2010 | Guest post by Jana Morgan
This vegan wedding dress from Etsy seller jordanderuiter features a faux-fur cowl!
This vegan wedding dress from Etsy seller jordanderuiter features a faux-fur cowl!

When I recently went shopping for a vegan-friendly wedding dress, I knew that I wanted to go to a bridal boutique to try on dresses and get the feel for them. The first thing that I did when I walked into a store was to talk to someone and brief them on what my needs were.

What to avoid…

Avoid dresses that contain the mixture of silk, chiffon, taffeta, leather, wool, pearls, and feathers. Once you know what to avoid, just keep an eye out for materials that you do want, like polyester, cotton, linen, lace, etc.

When shopping at bridal stores…

When shopping at bridal boutiques, be sure to let your dress consultant or sales person know the following…

  1. That you are specifically looking for a dress with no silks, or any of the above mentioned fabrics.
  2. If you are comfortable, feel free to explain that you are vegan and do not wish to wear anything that has any animal products.
  3. The environment of your wedding (beach, church, high end resort, park, etc)
  4. Weather of location (hot, humid, cold, etc)
  5. What you're looking for (style, colors, fit, etc)
  6. Budget

I would definitely recommend finding a boutique with a trusting person to work with and try on a variety of dresses. Once I started showing her dress styles that I loved, she was able to instantly suggest, "well, that dress has silk, BUT I have one that looks just like that and would be perfect for you." This exact dialogue helped me to find the dress that I ended up buying which was made with 100% polyester and was light as a feather.

Vintage lace wedding dress from Tara Lynn Bridal.
Vintage lace wedding dress from Tara Lynn Bridal.

Vegan wedding dress resources…

Check out some of these designers who offer eco-friendly wedding gown options:

Other eco-friendly options…

If you MUST have silk, but don't want to contribute to the market and corporations, I would really recommend either looking for a dress that is made with eco-friendly peace silk or buying a used dress. Try these online website to shop for beautiful used wedding dresses:

They ♥ OBB; we ♥ themThis post features Offbeat Vendors! Check out their vendor listing to see how they cater to Offbeat Brides:

  1. That's a great list of things to tell your stylist. Thanks.

    Re: chiffon and taffeta:
    Those are types of fabrics that aren't necessarily non-vegan. Although traditionally made of silk, they're commonly made of polyester or other synthetics now. So, if you are looking for a vegan dress, you can still get one with that type of look, just made with the synthetic versions. For cheaper dresses, that is probably what you're getting. For more expensive, the provided questions will help narrow that down.

    8 agree
    • Yes, most taffeta and chiffon are polyester if the dress is under a certain price point – most bridal websites will say silk chiffon or mention silk specifically if its silk and the price will be double what the poly version is. My dress is taffeta and as polyester as the day is long!

      3 agree
  2. Peace silk is also known as Ahimsa silk & is common in India as it is worn by Jains & other vegans. Its easy to purchase online & have made into a dress.

    3 agree
  3. Vegans should be aware that peace silk still involves the death of thousands of silk worms – the worm who spins your cocoon survives and lays eggs (each fertilized female moth will lay between 200 and 1000 eggs) but those resulting worms starve (the eggs do not undergo the refrigeration and feeding process as there are just too many resulting worms. Something to consider.

    8 agree
    • It's important to trust your source, and to be informed, because the peace silks we use allow all the moths to emerge/live. And, when there is a partial peace silk fabric, we say that. To add a personal note, I'd much rather wear true peace silk or wild silk (organic and peace by nature) than a chemically created fabric, i.e. synthetic and this includes bamboo- a great resource but not when it's turned into fabric. I know it's tough sorting through all the information out there and the 'greenwashing' . (I've been a complete vegetarian since I was 13 yrs old.) Thank you Off Beat Bride for your post. ~ peace & love

      3 agree
    • i REALLY wanted a particular organic bamboo dress i found on etsy for a while, but had some body image issues and it's such a drapey fabric that i couldn't do it. i still drool over the designer's products though. her username is "econica". worth checking out for anyone else interested!

      1 agrees
    • Kavisa!! You wore the gown by Mnemosyene on Etsy! I saw your wedding profiled on OBB and thought… her dress looks so much like mine! And smiled at the end when I saw the etsy link. I'm sooooo excited to get my dress.. I've added a sash and pockets to it too 🙂
      This is a nice article, too. I struggled a LOT finding a happy fabric dress that was in my fairly low price range.

      1 agrees
  4. Great post! My husband is vegan so I definitely sympathize with this struggle. I wanted to add that many independent designers (including myself) will work with clients who have needs for alternative fabrics–sometimes it goes a long way to just ask!

    2 agree
  5. Any Custom Gown Designer worth her chops should be able to make anything in Vegan fabrics all the way down to the linings for you -To Order!

    Fabric types like Taffeta for instance, do not always refer to the Fiber Content btw: Taffeta comes in acetate, rayon (which comes from vegan wood pulp, same very toxic chemical process produces ALL Bamboo fabrics), and pure silk. Same with Chiffon which is manufactured in many fiber contents.
    For more hardcore fabric geek info look up Fashion-Incubator.com.

    1 agrees
  6. Since i make recycled wedding dresses i love the idea of looking for a used dress, especially since you can then revamp that dress into something completely unique that no one else will have (unless you sell it to them! and re use all over again!)

  7. Thank you for this.

    I like good fabrics so I didn't want to go with any kind of polyester blend. I ended up going with a used J Crew silk dress. Very happy with it.

  8. Check out some of these designers who offer eco-friendly wedding gown options:

    Oh HAI.

    We've been making eco-friendly (including vegan) dresses since 2007. Granted, we were located in the UK for much of that time, but we're in the US now.

    1 agrees
  9. Cripes. Before wearing polyester, you might want to make sure it's made from recycled sources. Some don't.

    The devastation cased by plastics to the environment is the worst – it kills many animals and destroys their habitats.

    2 agree
  10. I found this article while I was on the hunt for my dress. It is truly a blessing to have found other offbeat brides. I am a cruelty free veggie-ma-tarion, but when it comes to clothing I lean vegan (the only concession I make is wool). I cannot bear the thought of what they do to silk worms. I hunted online for hours on end trying to find designers that use vegan materials. I hit the jack pot this weekend with a Moonlight gown (model T524 if your interested) and jumped up and down when I saw it was 100% Polyester!!!! Yay!

    1 agrees
  11. Lace is not always vegan. And Chiffon and Taffeta are not always non-vegan. All three may or may not be made from silk, which is a very cruel material indeed. One has to be very careful with those; I personally avoid them all and stick with what's surely to be vegan. 🙂

    1 agrees
  12. That's really a great post. Thank you very much for sharing with us. I love the idea of looking for a used dress. I will look forward to do it!

    1 agrees

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