I have the remedy for your Monday blues, in the form of something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue!
It’s bridal week here in New York, which means that all the bridal designers and labels in the U.S. are showing their Spring 2014 collections to wholesale buyers and brides. This Saturday, Features Editor Jen Kurdyla and I headed to the Garment District for Wed Altered‘s Pop up bridal show/shop. Wed Altered is a collective of eco conscious designers who source and produce their collections ethically. And let me tell you, we were blown away by the craftsmanship, creativity, passion, and sheer prettiness of everything shown. Because I couldn’t imagine not giving everyone their due, I’m going to break down the coverage by themes (coming later this week are cotton dresses; reclaimed and vintage fabric dresses; and Tara Lynn designer profile). Here’s a general wrap of what we saw. Warning: the following content has extremely pretty photos of beautifully made wedding things. Viewer discretion is advised.
Our first stop was at Lindee Daniel, an LA based designer who produces domestically from peace silk and wild silk from India. In peace silk production, the moth is allowed to break the cocoon and hatch before the cocoon is collected; wild silk is quite literally made from those cocoons left after hatching, foraged in the wild. These fibers are then woven by village artisans on hand looms and colored with natural dyes. She even prints her price tags on 100% recycled paper and donates 5% of sales to in-need youths! I was really impressed by how Lindee commits to these eco friendly, socially conscious practices, but even more by her breathtakingly beautiful designs.
This one was Jen’s pick–embroidered peace silk dress with asymmetric straps, $3000.
This one was my pick! Raw edged strapless peace silk dress, $3,800. I absolutely adore the draping of the skirt–very Grecian, sensual, and yet contemporary at the same time. It would be perfect for a fairy tale ceremony in a moss-covered forest grove. (Yes, I get carried away matching dresses with dream ceremonies. It’s just how I think, okay?!)
These necklaces are by 31bits, a designer collection dedicated to bringing works by women artisans in Uganda to the international market. Each piece is handmade using beads made of 100% recycled paper, and brings economic independence, autonomy, and self development opportunities (even English lessons!) to these women. Not only is this an amazing story, I was completely won over by their modern, bold, colorful aesthetic.
Like, see what I mean?? You have a white crew neck T shirt or sweater, right? Put on this outfit-maker necklace and a pair of any bottoms (black for work, jeans for play, or a red skirt for date night), and voila! Instance chic. 31 Bits Bonanza bib necklace, $68.
Next, we saw the presentation of Rania Hatoum Spring 2014 collection. Here is “Vela,” rhinestone and crystal floral and vines beaded sheath with straps.
“Radiance,” a sleeveless V-neck geometric beaded mermaid gown which is a bit reminiscent of the Jazz Age.
“Regal,” a strapless sweetheart mermaid with deconstructed French Alecon lace and flower appliques.
After watching the presentation, we were getting a bit hungry so we headed over to Bread and Spoon, a vegan-friendly catering company. Here is founder Colleen Christi Willett (right) explaining her menu. Colleen is herself a vegan and specializes in local and organic menus for parties and weddings, with plenty of vegan and gluten free choices, like Zucchini “carpaccio” with marinated white beans, Chickpeas and tomatoes with cardamom and cinnamon, or Whole wheat couscous with dried apricots and herbs. While Jen nibbled on a vegan blueberry cornmeal muffin, and I scarfed down a vegan almond frosted cupcake, she told us about a recent all-vegan wedding she did, and how the groom’s Scottish family came around to appreciate the menu.
…and then towards the end of her story I accidentally dropped my half eaten cupcake on the floor, and shamelessly asked if I can have a blueberry cornmeal muffin too. They were both amazing but I especially adored the moist, wholesome muffin, pictured at top left with the orange wrapper.
Let’s talk wedding hair. These bun belts and crowns by Whimsy Do by Rebecca Sigl are inspired by the Victorians and the pre-Raphaelites. I see these as perfect accessories for the off-beat, romantic and bohemian bride. Seattle-based sustainable label Cicada Bridal by the designers Jennifer Gay and Elizabeth Klob. They also produce their collection domestically.
We spent a long time chatting with jewelry designer Barbara Michelle Jacobs, who makes her beautiful, botanically inspired pieces from recycled silver and gold, and sustainably sourced gemstones. Some of her pieces are made from molds of twigs picked up in Central Park cast onto wax; she has also designed a private label collection for the New York Botanical Garden cast from objects found in the garden. Barbara also specializes in custom jewelry and engagement rings. She sources her diamonds from mines in Canada, which means each of her gemstone pieces can be traced back to a specific mine. I really loved her conscious sourcing and her design approach and ended up making a total impulse purchase–a beautiful yellow citrine necklace.
Last but not least, we chatted with Columbus, OH-based designer Christen Schneider of the label Solitary Pearl. We have featured her dresses on Peaceful Dumpling before so it was such a pleasure to meet her in person, and hear her inspirational story. Though she’d been a seamstress since childhood, Christen originally trained as a math teacher until she realized that her true passion was in bridal design. That was the beginning of her collection, Solitary Pearl, which uses fair trade silk that is handwoven by artisans in Cambodia. Christen is inspired by vintage Vogue covers, but her choice of shape, fabric, and construction makes her dresses have a more contemporary rather than retro sensibility. The understated elegance of her collection bring to mind a very sophisticated, modern, and feminine bride.
In summary, what really struck me about each of these designers is how passionate they are about both aesthetics and sustainability. People might assume that choosing an eco friendly option will compromise the sophistication or glamour, but seeing these extraordinarily unique and gorgeous designs will banish that misconception. Not only will you be helping the environment, giving artisans fair wages, and boosting our local economy, you will also get a piece that you will likely see on no one else. For more information on these and other vendors, check out Wed Altered’s website.
Stay tuned for the next in our wedding week coverage: Cotton wedding dresses! (Here’s a sneak preview).
More in Weddings: 5 Stunning, Conflict free Engagement Rings for Vegan Brides
Photo: Please feel free to distribute photos with credit to Peaceful Dumpling