Kate the owner of Bridal Reloved was invited to talk on a panel of experts about sustainability in the wedding industry.

The Sustainable Wedding Alliance is a collective of businesses with the joint purpose of creating a more sustainable, environmentally conscious wedding industry.



The 2024 Summit was held at BMA House, London 

Here’s what she had to say about bridal:

Bridal Reloved has a focus to work with what we already have rather than creating more, this lowers the demand for new.

Sadly, what we have (ie perfectly good wedding dresses), is abundant.

How abundant is abundant? Well, we have 20 Bridal Reloved boutiques in the U.K., and I have currently have access to enough stock to open 1487 boutiques. That’s just stock in the U.K.  right now. Each year this number grows and this does not include dresses that are currently in people’s (may be even yours) lofts or spare rooms waiting to be discarded, or hopefully sold or recycled 

So what are we saying?

  • There are to many wedding dresses made each year
  • There are to many overnight novelty designers with un ethical practices 

There are probably to many bridal boutiques who don’t have the sales or marketing skills to keep up with the designers and industry’s demands. I say this, as it’s an industry that sees a lot of boutiques open and close with out success, We get about 30 emails a year from boutiques that are closing down, asking us to buy their stock and we are regularly contacted by liquidation companies to who have wear-houses full of dresses.

Why is this happening?

This industry has no censorship, literally anyone can do anything they want when producing one of the world’s fastest fashion garments. There is no transparency or accountability.

Who knows how many bridal shops there are?

Who knows how many designer there are?

Who knows how many dresses are made a year?

Who knows how many dresses are wasted a year? 

The answers to the all these questions are: “no one knows”, because it’s not policed, there’s no register, no board or organisation to monitor it.

Isn’t that a worry? When this industry,  the fashion industry is the second largest polluter this planet has, and the items we are talking about here are large once worn items. The worst offenders of all.

Let’s talk about Water for example:

2700 lts of water is used to make a t-shirt, that’s 4 years worth of your daily water intake 

7600 lts of water is used making a pair of jeans, that’s 10.7 years worth of water 

Now, both these items will generally get many uses over many years. 

 There is 20,000 lites of water used in the production of a wedding dress which is intended to be worn once, thats almost 30 years worth of water.

That’s just Water , we don’t have time today to talk about the other facts like carbon emissions, production, transport, but I can tell you the figures aren’t an easy read.

So, we have talked about the environmental impact of producing a dress, but what happens after the big day?

I will leave you with the thought of what happens to a gown once it’s for-filled it’s purpose:

if it’s not re used, re sold or recycled it eventually ends up in land fill, where it can take up 200 years to decompose depending how ethically it has been made.  So the dress a person gets married in this year will still be harming the planet for your great x 4 grandchildren as it breaks down and releases harmful gasses in to their ozone long after you and i have turned to dust.

This kinda takes the edge off the romantic notion of a wedding and finding your dream dress doesn’t it, which might be why it’s something that hasn’t really been acknowledging publicly enough…. Till now.

Bridal Reloved is currently doing the research to find out the answers to the questions above and will share the findings and recommendations in due course.

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