The green dress address

Green is the new white, when it comes to ecologically minded matrimony. Martha Stewart Weddings-touted lists sustainable couture bridal gowns by the likes of Annatarian and Olivia Luca. Luxe fabric choices include fair-trade hand-woven silk organza, soy knit and Hempcel.

“Grace” pleated wedding gown: Organic-cotton jersey with floral embroidery, a center inset of cascading hemp silk pleats, a hemp-silk rose detail at the waistline, and a chapel-length train. (Model: Ariel Sanders)

Other ways to keep the apparel eco-friendly? Renting is one option. Guys have been doing it for years, and ladies not prone to sentimentality can cut costs and save resources by renting a gown. For those who don’t want to give the dress back, inheriting or borrowing from a family member adds to the emotion of the day. Often, an outdated gown can be altered by a seamstress for surprisingly little cost. Finally, a second-hand gown means new-to-you without increasing your carbon footprint. Vintage dresses provide bygone-era romance, while online retailers sell gowns worn only one time.

Want to do even more good? After your wedding, donate your dress to organizations like the I Do Foundation ( and Brides Against Breast Cancer (—both resell used gowns to fund charitable programs.

Of course, sometimes nothing says you like the bespoke gown. Keep it green with sustainable fabrics, and support local merchants. Here, Poetic Justice Gowns—fashioned by Marylou Marsh, co-owner of Asheville’s eco-depot Spiritex (61 1/2 N. Lexington Ave., 254-8949)—shows off the best in sweatshop-free green-wedding fashion.

Photos by Maggie West, makeup by Val Ingram (, hair by West One Salon (43 1/2 Broadway St., Asheville, 254-5633), fresh flowers by Shady Grove (65 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville, 236-1713), setting provided by Cedar Crest Victorian Inn (674 Biltmore Ave., Asheville, 252-1389). All gowns can be purchased at Spritex.

• [left] “Harlow” bridesmaid gown: Diagonally draped multitextured clover bamboo and organic-cotton blend can be machine washed dried. (Model: Janelle Kaczmarzewski)

• [right] “Elizabeth” bridesmaid gown: Crinkle-stretch organic cotton with billowy sleeves and a deep décolleté, cinched with high waist. Soutache and pearl detail at the waist and hem add a touch of elegance. (Model: Janelle Kaczmarzewski)

• [left] “Camille” bridesmaid gown: Turquoise hemp silk draped from a wide fitted waist with white soutache loops. (Model: Nina Shirkey)

• [right] Black hemp jacket sport jacket and dress trousers by Ecolution. Vintage tie by A Women’s Touch. White organic-cotton dress shirt by Spiritex. (Model: Zach Blaylock)

• [left] “Lacy” chapel wedding or bridesmaid dress: Organic-cotton jersey with insets of knit organic-cotton lace, with a lace belt and lace detail at neck. (Model: Nina Shirkey)

• [right] “Gabrielle” halter wedding gown: Organic-cotton jersey with all-over floral embroidery and layers of flounces feels soft as a T-shirt and can be machine washed. (Model: Ariel Sanders)


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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. She is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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