Pronovias Group Launches Sustainability Initiative to Try to Improve Bridal Industry Standards

The Pronovias Group is using Valmont Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week to launch its global sustainability initiative #WeDoEco.

The effort involves all of the brands in its portfolio — Pronovias, St Patrick, White One, Nicole and Ladybird — with varying degrees of environmental options. Chief executive officer Amandine Ohayon said Monday that sustainability has been a priority for her since joining the company in 2018. To that end, she created the Happy World Committee with sustainability at its core.

Rather than just create eco collections, the bridal conglomerate wanted to establish a sustainability commitment program that takes a 360-degree approach to try to set new standards for the bridal industry, she said. The Pronovias Group aims to have sustainable gowns account for 50 percent of its collections by 2025.

To try to achieve that, there are different pillars — eco-friendly materials and recyclable packaging; locally sourced gowns designed in Barcelona or Milan; the development of a supplier compliance guidebook, and realigning the supply chain to reduce the company’s carbon footprint. Knowing that the bridal industry is not the most sustainable considering that brides generally wear their wedding dresses only once, Ohayon said rethinking the entire supply chain has been the greatest challenge. The company had to start from scratch to find eco-friendly fabrics and other essentials, which was very time-consuming, the ceo said.

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“We didn’t want to do sustainability for the sake of doing sustainability,” said Ohayon, stressing the need to uphold the company’s standards.

She noted the initiative includes a partnership with Brides Do Good, a U.K.-based reseller that donates proceeds to gender-equality groups to help empower women and girls.

For starters, there will be 15 360° Eco and 24 eco-friendly dresses shown during today’s #WeDoEco virtual show. Made in either Spain or Italy, the assortment is offered in inclusive sizing, from zero to 34. The company will unveil its first sustainable collections with a virtual show Tuesday and a chat between Ohayon and Tomorrow Consulting’s Julie Gilhart.

More than a year in the making, the environmentally friendly options were developed by Pronovias’ chief artistic director Alessandra Rinaudo and her team with input from Gilhart and Texfor’s head of sustainability David Allo. What they came up with includes embroidery and beading made from 100 percent recycled glass and zippers made from recycled PET bottles. The fabrics that were used have been certified by the Global Recycled Standard, Forest Stewardship Council and OEKO-TEX.

While many brands have delved into sustainability by designing T-shirts or other basics in organic cotton, developing sustainable wedding gowns is considerably more labor-intensive. Gilhart said, “You have to design sustainability. You can’t just be sustainable because of the fabrics. You have to do everything from zippers to buttons to linings to threads — all of that. You also have to think about the packaging, production and what the end-of-life is of things. They really addressed all of those and then they gave themselves some big goals for 2025, which is not that far off.”

She praised Pronovias for its full spectrum approach; rather than doing a partnership or just doing a collaboration, they are changing the business. “I’m always up for working with someone who has a vision about being more responsible in the future.”

The substantial amount of food waste and discarded flowers due to weddings is being remedied by groups like the The Real Junk Food Project, and florists suggesting smaller dried-flower arrangements versus oversize fresh-picked ones. There are also groups like Random Acts of Flowers that deliver recycled flowers to health-care facilities and others like Bloomerent that offer flower-sharing services.

Millennials and Gen-Z consumers are more discerning than ever, and they aren’t willing to sacrifice stylish fit and a sustainably sourced dress, according to Ohayon. As is the case with all wedding gowns produced by the conglomerate, prices vary depending on the design, quality of the fabrics, level of craftsmanship required and other variables. “In some cases, the fabrics that are sustainably manufactured, of high quality and locally made are more expensive than their non-eco alternatives,” a company spokeswoman said.

Gilhart said, “They’re taking the lead and saying that we need to be responsible and also our customer is becoming more responsible, and wants to buy into a responsible, sustainable brand. In order for us to develop future business, we need to address that this is not just good for the planet, but also it’s what our customers are telling us.”

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