The wedding dress business is a notorious rip-off; most are made in China by workers paid minimally (and sometimes less) from low-quality materials, yet they command high price tags and are sold as a luxury, with the average cost about $1,050, according to "One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding" by Rebecca Mead.
Fortunately, there are alternatives; domestically made dresses created from lower-impact fabrics. Below, a sampling of those that are available - but there are many more (and working with a local dressmaker is a low-impact way to go too).
The Athena hemp wedding dress by Tara Lynn is made from silk and hemp, by hand in Vermont (and still clocks in at only $1,100); available in sizes 2-14, it can be special-ordered to your exact measurements for an additional fee.
Eco-Bridal gowns includes consignment of used gowns as well as new ones made from upcycled materials and made-to-order gowns.
Threadhead Creations specializes in unique gowns made with low-impact materials, like this dress, which is fashioned from hemp silk and made by hand.
Leanne Marshall was a Project Runway winner who designs bridal gowns as well as collections in the spring and autumn. Her dresses run the gamut from short and sweet cocktail-type dresses, and more traditional lace versions like the one above.
Pure Magnolia dresses come in classic styles, couture, and (as shown above) vintage designs. Made with silk and lined in organic cotton, each dress is made to order.
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