The eco-bride : development of an environmentally-friendly bridal collection for a South African market
Schultz, Wendy Lynn
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The Eco-Bride study is a practical product development research project in the fields of fashion, textiles, and sustainability. Currently it is considered fashionable to host an "eco-friendly" wedding, both because people are becoming more environmentally conscious with the prospect of global warming and also because the fashion industry, too, is attempting to reduce its impact on the environment. However, in spite of a growing trend in "eco-weddings", the bridal gown remains a conventional garment with a heavy carbon footprint. The intention of this study was thus to develop and produce a range of environmentally-friendly bridal gowns in order to create alignment between trendy eco-weddings and the bridal gowns worn to these functions. this was considered to fill a gap in the local market and to work toward educating both brides and industry as to a product offering which is less harmful to the environment. To this end, mixed methods action research was carried out within a constructivist worldview, firstly, to explore what might be construed as an environmentally-friendly bridal gown and secondly, to establish what would appeal to South African brides. The concepts of eco-friendly design models, sustainable fashion, celebrity and product fetish, customer behaviour and product development strategies were investigated in order to conceptualise, design and produce a collection of ten Eco-Bride-branded gowns for the South African market. It was hoped that the development of an environmentally-friendly bridal collection might assist in opening up the market to eco-fashion bridal wear. Further products of the research included instructional videos of the eco-friendly design-make process, which were intended to create awareness of the various eco-options in both the textile industry and bridal fashion market.