All our dresses are made in London, in our own studio by our team, employed by us and paid fair wages for their skills and roles. We do not outsource any element of our production.
Our main fabrics are natural silks and fibres, both outer layers and lining. Our silks are all produced by suppliers we have visited in person, have met the owners and workers and have long term ongoing relationships with. They are working in good conditions and paid responsibly and fairly for their work. We work with mills both in Asia and Europe.
Our outer layer silks for all our collection dresses are 100% natural silk. Our linings have been a silk and bamboo mix until recently, where we are planning to change to a 100% sustainable bamboo lining in 2021 for all our garments, working with a sole mill who are producing sustainable bamboo products, from fabrics to packaging.
Our laces are all French, from mills we have worked with for a long period of time. Lace does create real challenges with sustainable production. Many are made of or contain Viscose derived from cellulose (wood-pulp), which does have potential for sustainable principles. The main issues with Viscose are based around the production of the fibres and the demand for such fibre. We have already reduced these fabrics, but will be looking to move away from laces which contain any man made fibres or where the viscose content is not certified, using alternative organic viscose or organic cotton embroideries for collections in the future.
We also use interlinings (layers between silk and lining) with some designs, of which are all natural cottons. We will be moving to a more sustainable cotton product in 2021, as cotton production has been highlighted due to its water consumption. Cotton equates to approximately 5% of the fabric we use, but remains an important aspect and an area we want to improve our sourcing.
For our toiles (prototypes) we have moved since 2019 to using our larger silk offcuts and cottons. Reducing off cut waste and reducing the use of any man made fibres for prototype toiles. We have not purchased any polyester fabrics for prototyping or toile since November 2019.
We want to publish and share our sustainability approach with our brides and future brides to inspire a more conscious sustainable approach to wedding planning and purchases. We hope all of our efforts will make brides aware and more conscious of what they are purchasing, where it was made, how it was made and what it is made from.
What about silk production?
Silk production does not escape without its critics. These aspects include, water consumption, energy usage, workers conditions, chemical usage and silkworm treatment. We have worked to ensure our suppliers are meeting and addressing all of these ancient issues and meeting the requirements we expect.
Our silks are made from raw silk without any dyeing or softening processes. This removes large amounts of water consumption, energy usage, labour and chemical usage, seen with comparative cotton, linen and man made fabrics.
What about ‘peace’ silk? We have seen the use of ‘peace’ silks (Ahimsa silk) for wedding dresses. Peace silk is produced from a process that allows the silkworm to emerge from their cocoon and complete their natural life cycle. This in theory creates a better process for silk production, but in practise can be a very different outcome. Silk worms have been domesticated for thousands of years and cannot survive in most settings. Further, they are known to create issues damaging other insect habitats and environments. ‘PETA opposes the use of Peace Silk simply because there is no certification process to ensure the worms weren’t mistreated.’ (medium.com)
A good read in regards to silk production ‘Materials Index: Silk’ found on The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA).
Can you make Vegan wedding dresses?
Yes. We have and we do already make vegan dresses for our brides. Our silks are exchangeable for other sustainable fabrics, such as organic cotton, organic bamboo silks, Tencel and others. We can source the fabric which is right for you and your wedding dress, whilst adhering to our sustainable approach and principles.
We are actively looking for ways to continue improving our sustainability. We approach it as a continuous work, never with a perfect answer but always room for change and improvement. With consideration for the options available to us, at our level of trading, with view across our industry and garment production as a whole, we feel we are doing many of the important things at this stage. Our approach to sustainability will be constantly reviewed and published to ensure our brides and our future brides understand our practises and the future changes we are working on to improve this further where possible. We will update and focus on individual elements regularly on our blog. You can find this here.
AH Tree Project:
One further step we are making from 2021 is our Tree Project. We will be planting a tree for every new AH bride who purchases their special dress with us. We are also committed to planting a tree for every bride who has had their 2020 wedding postponed to the future. Find out more about our project here.
Read more about our sustainability approach on our blog HERE