I’m all about sustainable bridalwear, but what does that actually mean? Here you can find out more about my approach to sustainable design, and the ways in which your dress is as planet- friendly as it can be, without ever compromising on its beauty, its fluidity or its style.
Throughout every step of the design and creation of each dress, each decision I make is done with intention and care. From the choice of materials I work with, to the places they come from, to the way they’re transformed into the finished gown – everything’s done with the environment in mind.
All the wedding dresses at Gemma Leakey are made in the United Kingdom. Local production and sourcing is at the heart of what I do and believe in. The bespoke wedding gowns are meticulously handmade by myself in the studio and the collection dresses are made through a small London-based ethical manufacturer who currently make bridal wear for other high end British designers.
Whatever sumptuous fabric I’m working with, I do my best to be clever with my cuts so I can use as much of it as possible. I have recently collaborated with the high end sustainable fashion brand Phoebe English by offering them my silk and lace offcuts and scraps. The image above shows how they have made use of these in their current collection. Any smaller scraps I have, I try to compost as they are all natural fabrics.
Silk is a renewable resource and 100% biodegradable with less impact on the environment than many other fabrics. I use silk sourced from a local supplier that is Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified. This means its production has been in-keeping with the strict environmental and social criteria along the entire natural textiles supply chain. Not only is the seed and farming organic, but all of the production processes, including dyeing and printing, do not use any harmful chemicals.
I source some of the laces I use from a renowned and long established UK based lace supplier. I am passionate about sourcing locally and love the history behind this company and the fact that they are still manufacturing their laces here in the UK. The lace used in my new collection designs is from a Nottingham-based lace manufacturer, Cluny Lace.
Cluny lace as described on their website, is a long established, independent, Leavers Lace manufacturer. Their purposely designed factory, built around the turn of the century to hold the specialised lace machines, is situated on the border of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire in the heart of the United Kingdom. By combining the best of old traditions with new technology the firm is able to produce a wide range of exquisite designs of Leavers Cluny style lace allovers, edgings and insertions and Leavers Fine Cotton Valenciennes style lace allovers, edgings, galloons and insertions.
I also use laces that contain recycled yarns, including recycled polyester.