Woohoo! Today we are so excited to talk about sustainable plus size wedding brands. It’s plus bridal week at The Curvy Fashionista, and we’re bringing you ALL the plus size bridal resources!
Before we get going with photos of fabulous plus size wedding dresses — I want to make sure we’re all up-to-date on the latest info!
When talking about sustainable plus size wedding brands, it’s important to know a few key things. “Greenwashing” is pretty common in fashion, wherein brands use language or marketing to act like they’re being more sustainable — but they’re actually being incredibly misleading!
Tips for Sustainable Plus Size Bridal
To give you a brief overview, here are some tips when shopping for sustainable or ethical plus size wedding dresses:
- Look for Sustainability Reports or Practices: A great way to see how sustainable a brand is to go to their website footer (the bottom of their website) and look for a link or direction to a “Sustainability Report.” The more honest a brand is about their limitations or issues, the more I’m inclined to believe them. Overall, I’ve found that if this report or info is missing — the brand is probably greenwashing!
- Fabric vs. Labor: In fashion, there are a lot of different parts that impact people and the environment. Specifically in bridal, most fabrics (probably) aren’t made using sustainable environmental practices — but their labor practices (paying a living wage, etc) are ethical.
- Deadstock: When it comes to more sustainable fabric choices, you can look for designers who source their fabric from “deadstock,” fabric that (for whatever reason) is headed for a landfill. Designers who source from deadstock are EXTRA committed, as this type of sourcing takes additional work!
- Reuse! You can also be more eco-friendly if you plan a way to rewear your dress! Some brides choose to get their gown made into other clothes with the help from a tailor, other brides dye their gown a fun color for another event, etc. There are a ton of great ideas out there on how to do this!
When shopping for sustainable wedding wear in plus sizes, specifically, I think your best bet is to go with an independently owned plus size wedding designer, or a plus size indie brand.
Depending on the designer you work with, you can:
- Pay ethically for the labor of the sewists who make your plus size wedding dress
- Design a dress that can be worn again in the future (we love a non-traditional plus size wedding gown)
- Brainstorm fabric options with your designer to find (more) ethically made fabric. Consider using deadstock fabric!
These tips definitely aren’t a comprehensive guide sustainable or ethical fashion, but I do think they’re super helpful for a plus size bride looking for sustainable or ethical wedding dress!
Alright, let’s talk BRANDS!
5 Sustainable Plus Size Wedding Brands
Sustainable Plus Size Wedding Brand #1: LOUDBODIES
We are so jazzed about this sustainable plus size wedding brand that we made them #1 on the list!
Based in Romania, this brand is known for creating gorgeous show-stopping pieces in up to an 10X, with additional or custom sizing available. We’re such a fan of this brand, and you can see all the info on their latest plus size wedding collection here!
Here’s a sustainability overview (from the brand’s webpage on sustainability efforts):
- SIZING: Up to a 10X, which corresponds to a 71.6 inch waist (additional and specialty sizing for petites/tall available!)
- LABOR: “All my employees are paid a living wage – the starting salary for someone joining our team is more than twice our country’s minimum wage, which according to the workers & suppliers, it is greater than a living wage.”
- FABRICS: “Since 2020 when we first took the plunge, we have only been using natural and certified sustainable fabrics. All our cotton is organic and carries the GOTS certification, we only use Ecovero viscose certified by Lenzing as well as Tencel/Lyocell exclusively certified by Lenzing.”
- ADDITIONAL DETAILS: We are proud to say that there is no plastic whatsoever involved in our packaging process.
Check out the LOUDBODIES bridal collection here!
Sustainable Plus Size Wedding Brand #2: Hannah Caroline Couture
Next up, let’s talk about Hannah Caroline Couture!
Hannah Caroline Couture is a custom wedding gown designer based in Nebraska, offering custom wedding gowns, bridal jumpsuits, capes, veils, and other bridal pieces to brides of all sizes. Hannah Caroline Couture creates bespoke pieces for all sizes and styles with a special passion for plus-size brides and non-traditional tastes.
We love this brand so much, and you can read a full interview with Hannah about her work here!
- SIZING: The size chart at Hannah Caroline Couture goes up to a size 38++, with additional and specialty sizing available (all HCC gowns are custom made).
- LABOR: All Hannah Caroline Couture gowns are ethically produced in the USA by the designer herself and her small production team based in Nebraska.
- FABRIC: Hannah Caroline Couture is open to sourcing sustainable fabrics for eco-conscious brides. Due to the custom nature of their work, the designer is open to sourcing sustainable and/or vintage/deadstock materials for use in custom pieces. Also, specific materials are ordered for each gown, helping to minimize textile waste. Hannah Caroline Couture also donates leftover textiles to multiple fashion arts non-profit organizations, so these materials are diverted from landfills and are used to help the next generation of sewists.
- ADDITIONAL INFO: She also makes an extra effort to design dresses that can be worn for other ocassions, as well as two piece (or three piece!) looks where different components of your wedding look can be worn elsewhere!
Check out Hannah Caroline Couture here!
Sustainable Plus Size Wedding Brand #3: Nerecina Couture
Let’s talk, LA, babes! Nerecina Couture is a made-to-order, size inclusive fashion brand designing customizable and sustainably produced bridal and formalwear that makes a statement. Nerecina Couture was founded by Jenine Nerecina (full interview with Jenine, here!).
- SIZING: Nerecina goes up to a 6X in their RTW pieces, and additional sizing is available for brides getting a custom gown.our studio)
- LABOR: All pieces are made using ethical labor practices in Los Angeles.
- FABRIC: Nerecina is able to source from deadstock fabrics. Adds Jenine, “Also when working with a custom client they have the option to use existing garments (like their mother’s wedding dress) as a part of the dress. I love repurposing and would like to incorporate that more into my brand in the near future. I am open to using sustainable fabric, but it’s tough since most of my designs are lace and satin; there’s rarely sustainable options for those.. for now.”
Check out Nerecina Couture here!
Sustainable Plus Size Wedding Brand #4: byVINNIK
Are you looking for a non-traditional wedding dress that’s sustainably made — that you can wear elsewhere easily? Then let’s talk about byVINNIK!
Founder of the brand, Suzanne Vinnik, shared additional info in her email that we thought was FASCINATING, so we’re reorganized our format a bit to allow space for this.
Suzanne started her career as a professional opera singer (so cool!!), and her work with costuming and performance eventually led her to fashion, founding her brand in 2019!
SIZING – byVINNIK
byVINIK has different size charts based on the piece. Some pieces can fit up to a 5X or 6X, while others fit more close to the body.
The brand’s RTW size chart goes up to a 52″ waist (their size 3), with additional sizing available for custom orders.
“Unlike other RTW brands,” shares Suzanne, “we also offer add-on tailoring services to serve petite, tall, and extended sizing which is available by request on just about every design.”
“I’m going to be brutally honest and say, there is no such thing as ‘Sustainable Fashion’,” shares Suzanne, “as I am in the business of designing and manufacturing a physical product. I prefer the term ‘Mindful Fashion’ because it allows me as a designer to acknowledge that I am making something that will exist for a long time and will create waste no matter what.”
Suzanne went on to add, “I try to mitigate waste by using only the highest quality textiles, fibers, trims and slower sewing techniques which sustain a garment’s lifecycle.”
When it comes to finding fabric suppliers, it can be challenging.
Explains Suzanne, “At this point, I really only work with a few different fabric suppliers because I know the quality of what I am purchasing will last for years, decades and lifetimes to come.“
“I’m also not shy and will walk into a business not knowing what it is if it says something fashion related on the sign. Last year, I found a warehouse that had decade old Swarovski crystal trim, insane 1970s Italian Gold Vermeil and Gold Plated buttons and some of the last natural fiber fringe produced in the USA just outside the fashion district.”
Suzanne is also experimenting with “trash textiles,” sharing that she is ” making my own rolls of fabric after I’ve accumulated enough scraps to make 58”/60” rolls of fabric in sufficient yardage to work with. I loooove making my iconic piecework opera coats, belts and dream up new ideas for my ‘trash textiles’ that would otherwise go in the garbage from other brands.”
byVINNIK is really pushing the envelope on repurposing and upcycling!
LABOR – byVINNIK
Suzanne was eager to talk about ethical labor practices in fashion, sharing the challenges her line initially faced, “As byVINNIK has grown, we’ve gone from a made-to-order operation to small production manufacturing. I couldn’t keep up with the binge working cycles, fears of not having enough fabric to complete an order, and managing people to come in and work weird hours to get everything done if it wasn’t something I could do on my own.”
Since then, the brand has grown — and so has its production practices.
Shares Suzanne, “Now that we make everything ahead of time, we know EXACTLY what we have on hand and can ship immediately. This year, we started working exclusively with a three generation women-owned sewing studio in Santa Fe Springs. They recommended an incredible cutter where we just moved our production supplies.
Their team is utilizing some of the most cutting edge (no pun intended) techniques to digitally cut our designs. They also handcut our more delicate fabrics to ensure a better product. We also work with sample makers, tailors and digitization/grading/marking services who set their own prices.”
Finishing her (fascinating) explanation, Suzanne shared, “Our garment workers are paid a living wage and work in clean and safe facilities in LA. We believe every person who works to create our garments should be positively impacted.”
“We believe every person who works to create our garments should be positively impacted.”
Check out byVINNIK here!
Sustainable Plus Size Wedding Brand #5: Bridal Maven
A great way to find a sustainable plus size wedding dress is to buy one that’s already been worn. There are a variety of ways to do this, but we wanted to highlight one in particular: Bridal Maven in Pittsburgh!
From owner, Hannah Balash: “I started Bridal Maven in spring of 2021 after many years as a bridal stylist. I had always loved consignment, and I knew that Pittsburgh was a great town full of fashionable and practical minded brides who would be open to secondhand gowns, so I went for it! I started with a rack of gowns consigned by a salon that closed, met people in mall parking lots to pick up their gowns before I even had a storefront, and opened in a pop up space with about 75 gowns. We grew by word of mouth, and I have over 300 gowns now in a wide range of styles, sizes and prices!”
- SIZING: Sizes 0-32, and Hannah is always looking for wedding gowns above a size 24!
- Hannah had some great info to share about traditional bridal sizing, saying, “It’s important to keep in mind that plus size bridal size charts are completely detached from reality and based on almost 100 year old size charts and an hourglass body type that only 8% of women have! Aka sizing in bridal is an extra layer of stupid on top of the normal sizing BS plus size folks deal with! […] When buying secondhand, it’s always great to ask for the body measurements of the previous owner.”
- LABOR: Because the shop sells previously worn gowns, this section isn’t as relevant.
- FABRICS: Similar to above!
Check out Bridal Maven here!
Sustainable Plus Size Wedding Brand #6: The Cotton Bride
Next up, we have a new-to-me sustainable pls size wedding brand, The Cotton Bride!
From Fikre S. Ayele, owner of the brand: “The Cotton Bride is sustainable/ethical by default. Back in 2007, when we set out to develop a new bridal collection, we fell in love with beautiful, simple, natural fabrics, especially cotton, and the way it moved, breathed and felt against the skin. Our decision to make cotton the centerpiece of our collection was done out of love for the fabric itself.”
- SIZING: All dresses are made to measure
- LABOR: All dresses are sewn in NYC, by experienced seamstresses, each with over 30 years in the craft.
- FABRICS: We use only natural cotton, linen & silk fabrics & our laces are sourced from Europe & Asia.
Check out The Cotton Bride here!
More Sustainable Plus Size Bridal Wear Brands?
We’d love to keep adding to our guide as we discover new sustainable plus size wedding brands! If YOU know of a brand that we should include, we’d love to hear from you. You can tweet @TCFStyle or reach out to the writer of this piece @The_Huntswoman!
What to Read Next —>
Be sure to read up on all of the TCF Plus Bridal Week content, as we may have Just what you have been looking for!