Saving the planet – one dress at a time
Best Bridalwear Brand at Marie Claire Sustainability Awards
We were awarded Best Bridalwear Brand in the Marie Claire Sustainability Awards 2022, recognising our commitment to creating a sustainable and regenerative wedding brand. Read more about our award here.
We are so happy to be recognised for our dedication to our work to support charities and reducing our waste. It’s such an honour to receive this from Marie Claire - it's heartening that they are celebrating eco-friendly brands like ours. Our mission is to prove that you can be environmentally friendly and fully sustainable without compromising on quality or price. And we didn’t want to stop there – we also wanted to empower women and help communities as well. This award really is the icing on the (wedding) cake!
Here’s how we create our sustainable wedding dresses.
Zero Fabric Waste
We never throw anything away. Instead of disposing of leftover fabric from our dresses, we collect the off cuts to use in other projects, which reduces our fabric waste. Some of the off-cuts get donated to other eco-friendly brands like Phoebe English as well as transforming them into valuable items we regularly donate to Smartworks and AFRIL.
Natural Undyed Silks
The couture silk from our higher priced collection is undyed, which uses less harmful chemicals. As a natural fabric, silk is also biodegradable.
For our Green Collection, we spent a long time searching for the best silk replica that would echo the high-quality fabrics that we are known for. We found it in a natural, plant-based material that contains circular viscose and Cupro. Derived from sustainable wood and pulp from controlled sources, it’s certified by GRS (Global Recycle Standard), European Vegetarian Union and Oeko-Tex 100 standard, making it super eco-friendly, helping us create sustainable wedding dresses.
Made In London
We bulk buy our fabrics, so not only are we not affected by the continual delays that Brexit is causing for many wedding boutiques, but it also means less carbon is used in shipping. Our dresses are made in the heart of London, and we have been working with the same ateliers for over ten years now.
As all our dresses are made-to-order, which means we are not mass produced and do not hold unnecessary stock. It also means all Sabina Motasem dresses are truly unique for our brides.
Smart Works – Women’s Charity
Looking after the planet, also means helping communities – and we’ve found a way that allows us to do this. Each of our dresses not only helps reduce the impact on our planet, but also helps empower other women. The off-cut leftover fabric usually gets thrown away in a normal production situation – but not at Sabina Motasem! We transform them into workwear, which we regularly donate to the Smart Works, a charity that helps to empower marginalised women to gain more confidence and find a job.
AFRIL - A Women's Refugee Charity in South East London
Another way we are helping to support communities is through AFRIL. Each of our dresses's leftovers also gets turned into beautiful baby clothes, like rompers, dresses and adorable booties for the vulnerable refugee women who AFRIL support in South East London. Read more about AFRIL info.
Brides Do Good – A Boutique Helping to End Child Marriage
We also donate all our pre-loved samples from previous collections and discontinued styles to the wedding boutique Brides Do Good in Kensington, London. For every £3 spent with Brides do Good, they then give £1 to their charity partners who focus on empowering women and girls and ending child marriage. Brides Do Good have managed to raise enough funds from the sales of our samples we've donated, to to support a year of school for over 150 girls at risk of early marriage.
Donating Scraps to Phoebe English
Following our win at the Marie Claire Sustainability awards in 2022, we reached out to the winner of the Best Fashion Brand award, Phoebe English who make beautiful patchwork pieces. After we've made the tops for Smartworks and the baby clothes for AFRIL, we are still left with bits we're not sure what to do with, so we like to donate these to Phoebe, so this is the perfect solution! We’re pleased to hear that the studio was delighted to receive these.
Organic Cotton Garment Covers
We have designed and created our own woven garment covers made right here in London from deadstock GOTs certified cotton after searching for an eco and organic alternative. The ones we were using were not organic, made from non-natural fabrics and had lots of plastic. Our new ones have no plastic and have pretty ties instead and have a vegan stamp with our logo, with sustainable inks. We wanted an alternative. Not only will it work out loads cheaper than the organic options we were finding, it means we will use less carbon too from shipping pre-made bags in from places like China.
Organic and Recycled Packaging
It’s not only our dresses which are planet-friendly, but all our packaging is too! Our dresses are packaged in cornstarch plastic bags, which are as strong as plastic versions, but are fully biodegradable and compostable. Each of the boxes that we use to despatch our dresses in are made from eco-friendly, high quality kraft board. Made from 70% recycled material, this packaging is recyclable.
Eco-Friendly Supplies for the Studio
All the supplies from hand-wash to the toilet paper has been sourced from the Bower Collective and Stone Minimart.. All the dried flowers have been saved from the founder's own wedding last year and displayed at the studio too. All furniture is bought second hand and vintage, and upcycled.
Sewing + Fashion Workshops
Community is very important to us, so we planned a series of sewing workshops at ethical store in East London, Stone Minimart where under-privileged went for free. We made hair accessories, we donated leftover beaded samples from earlier collections to good homes, taught how to make fabric flowers and Christmas decorations. We've also had workshops where Sabina the founder has taught fashion illustration and a little bit about the fashion industry to anyone wishing to work in the industry. To find out more read - Let's get crafty, Christmas Decoration workshop
Less Carbon Footprint
We have also builk bought all of our fabrics for both collections, so that we don't need things shipped on a regular basis to reduce our carbon footprint. It also helps us to avoid all the many delays that other bridal boutiques experience with shipping from abroad and that Brexit has caused. This has enabled us to be able to respond quickly and efficiently to any short-term orders.
Natural Dyers to Dye Bride's Wedding Dresses
For many years we have been unable to find any eco friendly dyers who can dye sustainably without damaging our environment or the dress due to the harmful chemicals and high temperatures. Thanks to a couple of experienced dyers, who have lots of experience with dyeing silks we can now recommend where brides can go to upcycle their dress - Mia Sylvia and Clara Sagana.
Upcycle Your Wedding Dress
Our dresses have always been ideal for upcycling dresses. We have always referred our brides with qualitfied seamstresses who have experience in this. Our dresses can be easily shortened to the knee with the bottom part transformed into a skirt, so the dress can go way beyond the wedding day. It can also be combined with dyeing dress.
What We Are Working On...
While we are underway with our progress to be sustainable, there are still some steps we need to take to be fully eco-friendly. We believe in being transparent about this and are working hard to improve some elements, so we can create fully sustainable wedding dresses here in the UK.
Eco-Friendly Back Neck, Size and Care Labels
Currently these are organza-based high-definition printed labels. We are currently looking for a replacement cotton or linen style label as natural fabrics like these are more sustainable than manufactured fabrics. However, we will only be switching once we’ve used the organza labels up as we truly believe that it’s better to use what we have than buy new.
We're currently looking at ways we can engage a third-party to help us become carbon neutral and offset each of our dresses and sales.
We are constantly reviewing our policies, so if you think there's anything that we've missed please let us know and we'll look into it.