We've said it before, and we'll say it again: When it comes to shopping, secondhand is always best. And that's not only because it's more affordable — it's also better for the planet, as you are essentially removing a garment from the waste stream, rather than creating demand for new resources.
Keep reading for a look into some of our favorite sustainable places to buy dresses, whether it's to wear to a wedding, work, or anywhere in between, at varying price points.
ÉTICA is a LA-based fashion company with a focus on denim goods. The company pledges to use fair labor and environmentally-conscious manufacturing practices; for example, when compared to industry standards, ÉTICA claims to reduce water usage by 90 percent, energy consumption by 63 percent, and chemical usage by 70 percent.
The company offers a solid selection of casual and work-appropriate dresses, jumpsuits, and rompers in denim fabrics (in various colors), as well as in knits.
Reformation is a go-to destination for high-quality dresses for all occasions, including work, brunch, and fancy events. The sustainable fashion brand even sells wedding dresses — and if you've been to a wedding in the past few years, there's a solid chance you've seen a woman wearing the ultra-popular Juliette Dress.
The company is primarily online, but also has a few stores in major cities. Reformation offers both trendy and timeless dresses in plain colors and statement patterns, and uses materials like organic cotton, viscose/rayon, and linen. That said, the brand also offers a few styles using silk, cashmere, and other non-vegan materials, so make sure to look out for that if you don't buy animal products.
Autumn Adeigbo is the fashion designer behind her eponymous Black-owned, woman-owned fashion line. She and her colorful brand are "devoted to positively impacting the lives of women across cultures by utilizing female-owned production facilities in the U.S., and providing global artisans with meaningful employment and fair wages."
Some of Autumn Adeigbo's sustainable practices that help reduce their waste include buying materials in limited quantities, and making all garments to order. The brand also sources 90 percent of its fabrics from countries that pay laborers living wages.
Autumn Adeigbo's gorgeous dress designs are all eye-catching, unique, and ultra-stylish, employing luxe fabrics and one-of-a-kind silhouettes. Just make sure to place your order at least five weeks before your event, because the company needs some time to make your garment from scratch.
The company is well-known for utilizing deadstock fabric, which is rescued fabric from other fashion brands that may have otherwise gone to landfill.
Christy Dawn's dresses are sort of a modern twist on Little House on the Prairie fashion, with most of its frocks featuring looser silhouettes and delicate patterns.
Founded by vegan designer Vanni Leung, Valani is a vegan and biodegradable fashion brand, that uses natural materials such as banana viscose (a vegan silk alternative made from discarded banana tree stems), hemp, and Tencel.
The Asian-owned and woman-owned brand also dyes its fabrics with low impact, non-toxic dyes; makes its garments in Chicago and a GOTS-certified facility in India; and uses, hemp, jute, and recycled materials to pack orders.
Valani's dress designs are inspired by nature, and can easily be dressed up or down for an effortless look for all different occasions.