Looking for ways to look your most gorgeous without harming animals? You’ve found the right place! These days, it’s very easy to shine on your big day without wearing animal skins or other animal-derived materials- it just takes a bit of extra effort! Below are my best tips for finding vegan wedding dresses, cruelty-free shoes, wool-free menswear, and more!
When shopping for vegan wedding dresses, the main fabric to avoid is silk. Why? The short explanation is: producing enough silk for one wedding dress requires thousands of silkworms to be killed (the long explanation can be found here). Fortunately, it’s incredibly easy to find silk-free vegan wedding dresses made instead with fabrics like lace, satin, taffeta, and even cotton. If you’re going the traditional dress shopping route, you’re likely to be making appointments with a few dress boutiques. When making your appointment, make sure to mention that you aren’t interested in any silk dresses. In my experience, most bridal shops have heard this request before and will already be prepared to help you out. Other animal-sourced materials to avoid include cashmere, wool, and feathers.
There are very few wedding gown designers that exclusively use vegan materials, but I have found quite a few that have higher than average percentages of silk-free options. There are surely many more animal-friendly brands than these, but they’re a start!
I’m starting off the list with Made With Love and Emmy Mae Bridal (both founded by the same designer, Carla Jenkins), because their boutique manager has confirmed both to be silk-free! I should mention, however, that their mens’ suits are not vegan, as they are made with wool. The Made With Love label is a bit more classic and high end (find boutiques here), while the Emmy Mae Bridal label is more suited for the modern boho-chic bride (find boutiques here).
This Parisian designer comes in second on the list, because I’ve confirmed they are almost entirely silk-free (their social media manager told me they only have one style left – “Eddie” – that contains silk). Find boutiques that stock Rime Arodaky gowns here.
Kenneth Winston gowns rely heavily on intricate lace and beaded embroidery, with very little sign of silk. Find boutiques that carry Kenneth Winston gowns here.
In recent years, BHLDN has become a go-to resource for statement-making bridesmaid dresses, but their collection of bridal gowns is breathtaking as well! Fortunately, silk is found only on a handful of their dresses, so you’re sure to find a cruelty-free style you love! Find your closest BHLDN boutique here.
For over 30 years, Moonlight Bridal has been creating custom gowns for brides across the world. They offer a wide range of styles from princess ball gowns to fitted mermaid gowns, most of which are silk-free! Find boutiques that stock Moonlight gowns here.
With a heavy emphasis on boho-chic gowns with modern style, Australian brand Rue de Seine opts mostly for lace, netting, and cotton crochet as opposed to silk. Find a local boutique that carries Rue de Seine here.
The Bride’s Shoes
Okay, once you’ve gotten your dress picked out (yay!), it’s time to talk footwear. Ten years ago, finding a cruelty-free bridal shoe was a much bigger challenge than it is today. Fortunately, it now feels like new vegan shoe companies are popping up every week, and many of these brands carry white and ivory options to compliment vegan wedding dresses! I recommend trying on quite a few options, focusing on comfort above all else. Most full length gowns will only provide guests the occasional peek at your feet, so while yes, you want them to be gorgeous, you also need them to keep you steady and mobile all night long! These are some of my top picks right now:
Beyond Skin (fully vegan)
When starting your search, I recommend beginning with Beyond Skin. They have a very large selection of bridal shoes, and of course they are all vegan! Their shoes are handmade in Spain, with heavy attention paid to comfort and high quality. Whether you’re looking for a classic, traditional pump or more modern, metallic sandals, you’ll be able to find something to fit your style! Shop bridal styles here.
Cri de Coeur (fully vegan)
For many years, Cri de Coeur has been my go-to brand for vegan shoes. If you watch my Instagram stories, you’ve probably seen my closet full of their styles! Their aesthetic and ethics are completely aligned with mine, and I’ve never worn a pair of their heels that weren’t remarkably comfortable. I actually changed out of my weddings shoes (not made by them) after my ceremony into my Cri de Coeur lucite heels so I could truly enjoy the reception! They only have one style that really fits into the “bridal” style, but fortunately it’s gorgeous! Grab it here.
Cult of Coquette (fully vegan)
Cult of Coquette pumps are gorgeous, but not for the faint of foot! By which I mean, stay away if you aren’t capable of rocking very high (4.75 inch!) heels. If you can rock these sky-high stilettos, more power to you! The collection is in a bit of transition right now, so styles are limited, but you can still grab these Azar white reptile pumps before they’re gone!
Bhava Studios (fully vegan)
Bhava Studios is one of my favorite vegan shoe designers, so of course they have a bridal option! Bhava’s creative director, Francisca, designed the Bhava “Esperanza” pump for her own wedding, so you know she put extra effort into it. This style is available in five colors, with “ivory” and “stargaze” being the most traditionally bridal. If you want to grab them for your bridesmaids as well, you can get 35% off on orders of 4 pairs or more with code ECOBRIDE! Check out the Esperanza pumps here.
Etsy (vegan options)
I never would’ve thought to look on Etsy, but thanks to a bunch of Google searches, that’s actually where I ended up buying my customized wedding shoes! On Etsy, you’ll find a variety of handmade and vintage shoes, as well as customized services like adding lace or crystals to shoes you pick out yourself. These are the two shops I found to be most helpful:
Betsey Johnson Blue (vegan options)
I’ve always loved Betsey Johnson’s feminine but edgy aesthetic, so I’m really excited to share her Betsey Johnson Blue line, which is full of manmade & leather-free bridal options! Because Betsey Johnson isn’t a fully vegan brand, be sure to check the materials list before purchasing. Right now, I’m loving the Clair, the Owen, and the Anise.
ASOS (vegan options)
If you don’t already know this, ASOS makes it extremely easy to find leather-free shoes on their website! They tend to fall on the less expensive side of the spectrum, which (fortunately for the animals) often results in faux leather being chosen over cow leather. Styles come and go, but these search results should consistently be full of vegan options.
Whether or not you request/require your bridesmaids to wear animal-friendly options is up to you (obviously). When they’re spending their own money (usually upwards of at least $1000 between travel, apparel, bachelorette parties, etc.), it can be difficult to also demand they follow your fashion rules. That said, if they’re close enough to you to be in your wedding party, they hopefully a) know how important animal protection is to you and b) love you enough to make your wedding as perfect and cruelty-free as possible. So long as you’re not demanding they spend significantly more money than they would if left to their own choices, your requests for animal-friendly fashion should go over pretty smoothly.
Options For Dressing Your Bridesmaids:
1) Pick out matching gowns for each of the bridesmaids to purchase. The upside of this arrangement is that it obviously gives you the most control over the materials and the sourcing. The downside, however, is that you aren’t able to offer them as much variety in terms of price range or flattering fits. It also goes without saying that most of us are pretty opinionated about which styles of dresses are best suited for our personal body types, and some bridesmaids might take exception to being forced into a style they don’t feel good about. However, you know your ladies best, and if you think they’d all be happy in the same look, go for it! Just try to keep price point in mind.
2) Pick out the brand/designer and the color, but allow your bridesmaids to choose their own style. This is the route I took; my bridesmaids were sent to the Azazie website and asked to pick their own styles in the Burgundy color. This way, I was able to choose a brand that doesn’t use any animal materials in their dresses, but my girls were allowed to pick a style they knew would be flattering to their own bodies. The quality was astonishingly high for dresses that fall on the less expensive side of the spectrum.
3) Choose a color palette and let the bridesmaids do the rest (pending your final approval)! This option has become a lot trendier in recent years, and for good reason. If your ladies have good taste, you can end up with a really elegant and modern looking bridesmaid squad! My lovely friend (and fellow vegan blogger) Molly went this route, and we (the bridesmaids) ended up with a really interesting yet polished overall look. The only downside of this approach is, of course, that it’s harder to manage the fabrics. Still, you can send your ladies a list of preferred vendors in hopes of nudging them towards the cruelty-free options.
Regardless of which bridesmaid fashion philosophy you go with, you’ll need to start looking for animal-friendly designers and brands. These are some of my top choices:
Azazie: As mentioned above, this is where my bridesmaids bought their gowns. They offer a huge selection with zero silk, and the dresses are really high quality for the relatively low price range. Their dresses are made to order and can be customized for each bridesmaid’s measurements; to accommodate this, they have to be ordered at least 10 weeks in advance.
Reformation: Known for their sustainable fabrics and ethical manufacturing practices, Reformation is a highly coveted brand among fashionistas with a conscience. Their limited edition collections definitely come in at a higher price point, but if your bridesmaids can afford it, they’ll likely end up with a dress they’ll actually want to wear again! They do have silk in some of their dresses, so you’ll have to keep an eye out for that.
ASOS: ASOS has been around for a while now, but I’m really just starting to appreciate how detailed they are with all of their item descriptions. You wouldn’t believe how many online vendors skimp on the details when listing their fabrics! They aren’t 100% vegan, but the vast majority of their bridesmaid dresses are, which should make it easy for your ladies to pick out a suitable option! Their price ranges also vary widely, with options for pretty much every budget. (PS: While your bridesmaids are grabbing their dress, they can pick up a pair of vegan-friendly shoes as well!)
Bead & Reel: I absolutely love Bead & Reel. The founder is an extremely passionate advocate for humans and animals alike, and a portion of sales are always donated to various animal rescue organizations. They only carry a small amount of bridesmaid-style gowns, but I’m listing them anyway because I love their mission. If you’re cool with the idea of bridesmaids dressed in black, this 5-in-1 (meaning you can arrange the straps for five different looks!) organic “infinity” dress is pretty great.
The Tuxedos & Suits
In your quest for animal-friendly wedding fashion, the menswear will likely be your biggest challenge. For whatever reason, men’s formal wear hasn’t quite caught up to women’s formal wear in terms of ample cruelty-free options. The biggest culprit is wool, which is heavily used in tuxedos and suits (click here for my post on why I don’t wear wool), but silk is prevalent as well. If you’re getting married in the summer, you might be in luck; linen and cotton suits are much more prevalent that time of year. Regardless of the season, it’s certainly not impossible for grooms and groomsmen to don wool-free suits! Here are my top recommendations:
Brave Gentleman: Designed by renowned vegan fashion designer, blogger, and professor, Joshua Katcher of The Discerning Brute, Brave Gentleman offers a range of tuxedos and suits for your compassionate man. Made in New York with organic cotton, recycled polyester, and “future silk” (made with recycled plastic), these garments are sure to be conversation pieces that will serve as wardrobe staples long after your big day. Click to shop Brave Gentleman.
TopMan: Known as the masculine label for the worldwide brand TopShop, TopMan has been producing wool-free suits and tuxedos for years! They tend to have more of a slim/skinny fit, so you’ll have to decide if that’s the right look for your guys. Most of their suits are a polyester/viscose blend, but be sure to double check the fabric description just in case! Click to shop TopMan.
ASOS: Yet again, ASOS to the rescue! While they do sell quite a few wool suits, they also have a wide variety of animal-friendly poly-blends! If you’re looking at the product pages for their full suits, you might not immediately see the fabric breakdowns (I didn’t), but if you click on the individual pieces (i.e.: jacket, pants), the descriptions will pop up. It’s also helpful that most of the wool-based suits say so in the product name, but you should check the description anyway just to be sure. These are some of my favorite looks:
- French Connection Skinny Wedding Suit Jacket in Black
- Noak Super Skinny Wedding Suit Jacket in Navy
- River Island Skinny Tuxedo In Black
Bespoke (Custom) Tailors:
I’ll grant you this, there aren’t a ton of options out there yet. Most of the high end designers are choosing to stay behind the times, which I imagine they’ll soon realize is a bad bet to make. If the options above don’t work for you, due to aesthetic, price, or accessibility reasons, you can also go the route of hiring a bespoke tailer to create a vegan suit just for you! Many professional tailors are now familiar with animal-friendly fabrics, and you shouldn’t have a hard time tracking down someone who will work with you. The ones I’ve personally confirmed have made vegan suits are: Denver Bespoke (Denver, CO), Hall Madden (Washington D.C.), Duchess Clothier, and King and Allen (multiple locations in U.K.). Don’t let that short list limit you though; I definitely recommend reaching out to a tailor near you!
The Groom’s Shoes
Okay, this should be easier than the suit! Fortunately, there are more and more high quality, high fashion footwear options every day. These are my top picks for leather-free, cruelty-free kicks!
Will’s Vegan Shoes: This London-based shoe and accessories brand is one of the top vegan men’s dress shoes brands of the moment. They have a wide range of styles from Oxfords to Derbys. These shoes are ethically manufactured in Portugal and shipped worldwide. Buy from Will’s or Amazon.
Novacas: Novacas translates to “no cows”, which is the guiding philosophy behind this cruelty-free brand! Buy from MooShoes (online or at one of their storefront locations in Los Angeles and New York) or Amazon.
Brave Gentleman: Of course the only high end, exclusively vegan menswear line also makes footwear! Also worth mentioning: some of their shoes are in collaboration with the aforementioned Novacas team, which makes them doubly ethical. With an emphasis on impeccable design and sustainable fabrics, the only downside of these shoes are that they might take attention away from the lovely bride!
ASOS: Yes, one more ASOS mention! The brands listed above tend to fall on the higher end of the cost spectrum (as a result of their focus on sustainability and ethical manufacturing), and obviously this may not fit the budget for every wedding. I definitely recommend taking a look at the ASOS leather-free options as well!