The Modern Silk Road - Celia Grace Fair Trade Wedding Gowns & Accessories
I recently met Marcie Muehlke, Founder and CEO of Celia Grace at Wed/Altered in NY and was intrigued by the mission of her bridal company and had a chance to ask her a few questions. Not only are the dresses beautiful but she can also track the origin of the raw materials and see the positive results of her efforts in the stimulation of small women's sewing collectives.
Barbara: What makes Celia Grace wedding dresses sustainable?
Marcie: Whereas most dresses are made from polluting petroleum-based polyester, Celia Grace wedding dresses are made from natural silk. Our silk is eco because it is made by hand on a no-electricity loom, uses very little water to make, and it is colored only with safe dyes. In addition, our silk is made close to where are dresses are sewn, reducing the distance it has to travel.
Barbara: What does fair trade mean at Celia Grace?
Marcie: Celia Grace wedding dresses are sewn under safe, fair and empowering conditions. Our seamstresses are treated like the smart, talented women that they are – they are paid a living wage, get benefits, work reasonable hours, and even learn about democratic participation through their women’s sewing group. We also pay a fair wage for our silk and donate a water filter to a Cambodian family in need with every dress we sell.
Barbara: What advice do you have for women shopping for a wedding dress?
Marcie: Wedding dress shopping should be fun rather than stressful! Do some research and see if there is a brand you love. If those dresses are sold in stores, make an appointment, grab some of your near and dear, and enjoy the process of playing dress up in some incredible works of art (yes, you might even have a glass of wine before you go in!). Don’t forget to look for eco, fair, or local brands or seamstresses and reach out to them directly—they are often great to work with and add another layer of meaning and beauty to your big day.
Barbara: Do you do custom wedding dresses?
Marcie: Although we don’t make custom designs, our dresses are perfect to customize with a local seamstress. You can pick your Celia Grace dress and then shop Etsy for accessories or look at Pinterest for inspiration and then work with your local seamstress to make your dream dress come true. Our accessories are also great to customize into fascinator or belts or shoe clips or even ring pillows – a really fun DIY project. Like/Follow/Pin and learn more about
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