If you think that an eco-friendly wedding dress just doesn’t measure up to a traditional wedding dress we’re about to change your mind. The Elizabeth St. John Eco-Couture Bridal Collection proves that eco-friendly is absolutely gorgeous! In this interview she told us the inspiration behind her eco-friendly bridal collection, talked about her favorite “Green Celebrity”, and how you too can live an eco-conscious lifestyle. Read on to find out how you can look fabulous and minimize your wedding’s impact on the environment.
Celebrity Style Weddings Growing up, what was it like to be part of a family of master tailors?
Elizabeth St. John For me, it was always fun seeing the dresses, big, poofy, sparkly – when I was really little. As I got older, it was wonderful to be a teenager in the 80’s, and to be able to design my own dresses to school dances and special occasions – they typically something unusual or over the top.
CSW What sets you above the rest is that you’re a leading Eco Bridal Designer. Can you tell us what made you decide to launch an Eco Bridal Collection?
Elizabeth St. John Weddings are a perfect time to reflect the personal views of the couple – with so many people being conscious of how the decisions they make are having an impact on the planet (and the future)… green aspects of weddings are becoming more and more popular. Unfortunately, oftentimes, there is a perception that eco-friendly “fashion” means fashion that is ill-fitting, made from waste or leftovers (thrift store’up-cycled’ or even ‘trash’ in some cases), and one of a kind pieces with a home-made feel. I wanted to dispel these myths, so I try to design pieces that first are beautiful & feminine, with a clean and modern aesthetic; but also with superb technical design for a tailored and refined fit.
CSW How can a bride get hold of an Elizabeth St. John wedding gown and what can they expect?
ESJ Gowns are available at select boutiques around the US, at our design studio outside of Washington, DC or by special request. If you are not near one of our authorized retailers, have your local bridal boutique contact us with the style you would like to see, and we will do our best to have a sample gown shipped directly to them for you to try on in person.
CSW Do you have any advice to give a bride looking for her dream wedding dress?
ESJ Try on 2-3 silhouettes, no more. Once you’re selected the overall type of dress, make your selection from 4-5 total dresses. Oftentimes, brides try on so many different types of dresses, it makes the process overwhelming – and confusing. By narrowing your choices, it will help you to focus and find your dream dress more easily.
CSW What are your inspirations? Do they stay constant or do they change?
ESJ I find inspiration in all sorts of places – from flowers to wedding cakes, it could honestly be anything. Unlike most designers that sketch out a full collection before any sewing can begin, I often work in reverse… I like finding a special fabric, manipulate and drape it until the “dress” starts to reveal itself to me. I think this is probably a result of my upbringing, how I had to figure out what to make with cuttings that my mom would give me to play with.
CSW Do you have a favorite “Green Celebrity”? What do you admire about this person?
ESJ I very much admire Leonardo DiCaprio. He works tirelessly for numerous environmental causes, but particularly his efforts with wildlife – I feel he would do the same even if he weren’t famous.
CSW If you could give a bride-to-be 5 tips on how to incorporate eco-friendly elements into her wedding, what would they be?
1.Think about sourcing locally – flowers flown in from Ecuador are just as beautiful as those grown in the US….
2. Consider your venue – there are so many alternatives to traditional venues now, research local museums, schools or even private farms – where your venue costs will be reinvested into more socially conscious efforts
3. Gifts & favors – DIY is a wonderful way to let your personal style come out, one of a kind favors, that either you make or purchase from handmade sites like ETSY keep carbon emissions associated with manufacturing down.
4. Stationary – again, DIY and handmade are wonderful alternatives, or be more creative – some brides are even going completely digital.
5. And last but most certainly not least – your gown. Consider natural materials (they are typically lighter and easier to wear than synthetic polyester alternatives), buy locally and from small production houses – many of the larger designers manufacture in Asia, and just the carbon footprint of shipping your gown is surprising, not to mention the fact that thousands of dresses are actually manufactured, and many are never sold. Buying from smaller designers will allow you to buy a much better quality product as well as something made specifically for you.
CSW For those want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle like you are, how would you advise them to minimize their impact on the environment?
ESJ Just think of one small change you can make – multiplied by many people – it can have a big impact. Because is something small, after a while, you won’t even notice you’re doing it, it becomes second nature. I started by reading labels – and learning about the ingredients in my food, where they come from, and why they are in the food in the first place, for example. Turning off lights, turning off the tap, asking your power company if solar or wind power are available in your area, recycling….all can have significant impact if we all make an effort. Its also important to talk to your friends, you can learn from them, and they learn from you.
CSW You’re a fashion designer, an environmentalist, an entrepreneur, and a philanthropist. Do you plan to add anymore fabulous titles to your resume? What’s next for you?
ESJ Its hard to say! I love to make things with my hands, so maybe chef? I think my family and friends would like that….