Fast Fashion and Weddings: You Deserve Better

I was afraid to write this article because I don’t want to come off like someone who doesn’t understand that not everyone wants or has the means to buy a wedding dress that costs more than $100. I know that I’m the person who loves making clothes so much that she’s made it her whole career.

But I’m also an experienced professional who wants, more than anything, for people to feel like themselves on their wedding day. And, unfortunately, the most popular option for a wedding dress is also the one that I most regularly see move a person further away from that feeling of bliss.

I am, of course, talking about fast fashion.

What is fast fashion?

This two-word term covers a lot of ground. In the broadest sense, fast fashion refers to clothing designs that hit the market quickly to make the most of popular fashion trends. These are clothes that are designed to not last. They’re expendable, consumable, and, often, extremely cheap both to make and to sell.

Much has been written about the negative impacts of fast fashion. It’s destroying the planet. It’s morally questionable. It’s not even good for the economy. All of this is depressingly true when we’re talking about fast fashion in the wedding industry but there’s another upsetting cost that doesn’t get a lot of attention: Fast fashion cheapens love.

3 reasons why fast fashion isn’t your friend for your wedding day

There is already so much pressure put on a person to find the perfect outfit to wear on their wedding day. In fact, “When should I buy my wedding dress?” is one of the most common questions I get from my clients. There’s an hourglass glued to the table that makes the whole search for The Perfect Dress feel that much more urgent.

This bums me out on many levels. Financially, it’s a horrible situation. So often the dress that a bride buys doesn’t fit properly but the price tag is so low that she understandably assumes, “Well, alterations can’t be that much.” Bad news, my friend. Hundreds of dollars of alterations is one of the many hidden costs of fast fashion: What seems cheap on the rack, often doesn’t stay cheap.

More than money, though, fast wedding fashion kills my vibe because these dresses are mass produced. That on its own isn’t that horrible — people got to wear clothes — but when it comes to the outfit you wear on your wedding day, it should at least fit you! That’s not asking too much, right? 

When a bride brings me her off-the-rack dress, I often spend hours figuring out how to make her unique and special body fit what she’s bought. This is totally backwards! What I should be doing — what I love to do — is start with what makes my client unique and design from there. The dress should work for her. She shouldn’t work for the dress.

Which brings me to the third and biggest reason why fast fashion isn’t your friend on your wedding day: It boxes you in.

Let’s think outside the box

I’ve already written about why it’s so important to see yourself in wedding media but long story short: If you don’t see yourself celebrated, it’s easy to think that you’re not worth celebrating. And fast fashion offers a never-ending stream of cookie-cutter options that not only ignore what’s so great about you but often make you feel bad about it. 

Screw that! You are worthy of celebrating and I’m here to make sure your clothes help, not hinder, that party. 

Fast fashion may have its place in the world but when it comes to your wedding, it’s not as expensive, hard, or time-consuming to go custom as the world would have us believe. In fact, from what I’ve seen working with hundreds of clients, designing your own wedding outfit is often one of the best ways to slow down and enjoy the journey of planning your wedding and, more importantly, starting your marriage.

Want to slow down? Let’s talk.

Rent, Buy, or Make – Wedding Dress Options

So, you need a wedding dress. Should you buy, rent, or make it?

For most people, the first answer that comes to mind is, “Well, I’ll buy my wedding dress. That’s what people do, right?” This line of thinking leads to a quick trip over to Google and… well, so many options that it makes my eyes cross just to think of them.

Other folks aren’t interested in buying a wedding dress. They’d much prefer to rent. They have too many vivid childhood memories of decades-old dresses moldering at the back of closets. They too turn to Google only to realize that renting a wedding dress is, unfortunately, not really an option. 

And as for making your wedding dress? If only this was the first thing that came to mind for more people! You know I’d love it, wedding dress fashion designer that I am.

More confused than ever on how to find your dress? I get it. Based on what I know as a designer, I’ve listed the pros and cons of each option, and, of course, if you ever want to chat more, please let me know!

Buying a wedding dress: pros and cons

The biggest pro is that the process of buying clothes is likely a familiar one. You may never have bought a wedding dress before but I imagine you’re well-versed in the process of going to a store, trying something on, and buying it. 

Unfortunately, this familiarity is also the biggest con of buying a wedding dress. Some of my clients find me because they’ve purchased a pre-made dress but need to have it altered. I’ve already shared what it can take to alter a wedding dress but long story short: It’s often more time and money than the person originally bargained on.

Renting a wedding dress: pros and cons

Renting a wedding dress has one huge benefit: more closet space. After your wedding, you give the dress back, which means you don’t have to worry about storing it or preserving it (if you’re into that kind of thing). 

The downside to renting is that your options are limited. While more companies are offering wedding dress rentals — Rent the Runway being the best-known — it remains a newer option with less inventory. This reality is limiting in a lot of ways especially if you don’t fit the very particular (and, I would argue, narrow) view that the wedding fashion industry has about what a wedding dress is “supposed” to look like.

Making a wedding dress: pros and cons

I know, I know. I design wedding dresses for a living. Of course I think making your own dress is the best option! I won’t deny this is true but I also like to be upfront about why I believe what I believe. 

For one thing, designing your own wedding dress isn’t as expensive as people think. It also doesn’t require as much knowledge of clothes as it might seem; I’m right there with you the whole time to guide and share my years of experience. Most importantly, though, making your own wedding dress allows you to celebrate what makes you you.

And that’s why no matter what option you pick — buy, rent, make — I just want you to enjoy the process of finding your wedding dress. It’s so easy to feel boxed in when planning a wedding. As a big believer in fashion as a means of expression, I don’t want you to feel forced into wearing one particular thing because you “have to.” I want you to feel amazing! I want you to feel bold. I want you to feel like yourself.

Still curious about your options? Let’s talk.