Supplier case studies

Conscious Elegance - eco-friendly wedding dresses

Conscious Elegance - eco-friendly wedding dresses

Name: Lori Del Genis
Location: Durham

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business
I'm a third-generation dressmaker who wanted to give women and children an alternative to the chemically-laden, assembly-line, factory created gowns that were available only in limited sizes. My business is meant to help people make easy ethical choices without having to compromise beauty or style. Unlike other dressmakers that merely offer ‘green' options, Conscious Elegance is 100% ethically-sourced and sustainable in every facet of its business. We believe it's worth the extra effort.

What or who inspires you?
Design-wise, I love to visit historical costume museums. I think that clothing was so much more beautiful in the times before mass-production. Also, I am inspired by little girls at play. They are so free and imaginative. I find that I want to put them in pretty dresses that feel wonderful without forcing them to sit still and not muss their frocks.

Ethics-wise, I get excited every time I hear of someone taking a stand and making a difference in their world, be it for the environment or for human rights. Even small differences make a better world for everyone and no one has to work too hard to do it.

What do you enjoy most about running your business?
I love that I can interact and support with other green and eco-sustainable businesses. Our suppliers are as passionate as we are about green and ethical issues. It makes for more than a trustworthy and safe business environment; it makes a Family.

What is the most challenging aspect?
I sometimes find it challenging to be patient. Many people haven't yet gotten the message that living lightly on the Earth affects all of us. They say, ‘I'm just one person. What can I do?' We are often called upon to educate in our local community and we've spoken at libraries and community groups to help teach people about how even little changes can mean big results.

What do you feel you bring to an ethical wedding?
I believe that our gowns help make ethical /eco-responsible choices easy. Planning a wedding can be a simple affair or it can drive a person crazy. I wanted to take the stress out of at least one aspect of wedding-planning. Besides the desire to be ‘Green', some ethically-minded brides might be harder to fit or might not like the designs that the typical boutique might stock. Why should they have to compromise? I also believe that our bridal creations bring the future into a wedding celebration by creating clothing that can be used again and again for their future children's happy occasions.

How do you see the wedding industry changing over the next five years (if at all)?
I see a trend towards simpler celebrations that have greater meaning. I see couples looking for ways to make their choices have more importance and farther-reaching effects than simply one party on one day. I hope to be a part of that.

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