By Daniela Degrassi
While it’s not too difficult to find vegan friendly bridal wear these days, it’s often the case brides-to-be have to double check labels for fabric content, before making sure their dream gown is animal-free. Unless you’re shopping from Edwina Arya, a fully vegan bridal designer with a heart of gold and an eye for beauty. Edwina lives on the West coast of her Native homeland of Ireland, where each of her designs is lovingly brought to life – endowed with magic, beauty and strength. She spends her days immersed in the raw beauty of her surroundings, drawing inspiration from the Natural world around her. Today we’re showcasing Edwina’s latest collection “Wilderness” and also chatting with her about her ethical and sustainable approach to bridal wear.
Wilderness 2020 Collection – AVERY
Edwina, what inspired you to start designing wedding dresses?
I have always been a creative with a love for art and fashion. I worked in design and textiles and fell in love with Bridal. I love designing for our bride. I feel so much of your personality and style go into your wedding dress, and I love creating dresses that brides can really feel themselves in.
Was it an easy process to combine your personal ethos into your business?
Yes, it was quite easy. My love for animals and nature is such a strong part of me that I naturally wanted to blend this into our brand. I feel fashion should be something beautiful, and knowing animals have been used, harmed or exploited in the process takes the beauty out of it for me.
I love your minimalist designs. What fabrics do you love to work with?
I’m really passionate about fabrics and want to make sure the vegan fabrics we use are really luxurious. I’m currently loving working with textured crepe fabrics as they create such a great fit and have a little stretch which make them so flattering and comfortable for bridal wear. All our fabrics are vegan and ethically sourced.
Wilderness 2020 Collection – LEDA
Wilderness 2020 Collection – LENNON
Wilderness 2020 Collection – ELDER
Wilderness 2020 Collection – ARMYA
Do you only sell through stockists?
You can try on our dresses in any of our stockists and you can also purchase directly from us. Brides can simply email us to book an appointment.
You’re committed to donate a percentage of profits to causes close to your heart. What are the organizations you’re supporting?
We donate a percentage of our profits to rescue shelters and animal welfare projects here in Ireland. We want to make sure the money is going directly to the animals so we choose smaller organizations that we know and trust.
We began our own #forestoflove initiative where we plant a native tree here in Ireland for every bride who purchases an Edwina Arya gown. A ribbon is tied around the tree with the couples name on it as a way to immortalize their love.
Wilderness 2020 Collection – MARIN
Wilderness 2020 Collection – MELIA
Wilderness 2020 Collection – MERI
Wilderness 2020 Collection – NIXIE
Wilderness 2020 Collection – PARISA
How was your company affected by the lockdown?
All of our stockists had to close their salons for a time and all of our brides unfortunately had to postpone their weddings. Thankfully we were able to continue to operate as normal with guidelines in place and continued to deliver on our brides’ dress orders. It also allowed me to focus my full attention on my new 2021 collection.
Do you think the world of bridal wear is shifting towards more sustainable practices or it will still be a niche for few hard core environmentalists?
I’m hopeful that it will. I think it needs to. It’s up to the designers, mills and manufacturers to make the change to more sustainable production really. I try to show that there is absolutely no compromise in luxury, comfort or quality.
Wilderness 2020 Collection – SWAN
Wilderness 2020 Collection – SERIA
Wilderness 2020 Collection – SEN
Wilderness 2020 Collection – RHIANNON
While donating to animal shelters and environmental causes, Edwina Arya has implemented more sustainable steps in her business, like:
- Using either reused or recycled boxes made from recycled cardboard to ship their gowns.
- Trying to minimize unnecessary packaging when shipping.
- The ribbons used with their tags are made from recycled plastics.
- Their printed complement slips are made using sustainable, non-toxic vegetable inks.
As Edwina mentioned, she is currently working on the 2021 Collection… so hold on tight for more beautiful and 100% vegan gowns and follow the brand on Instagram for their latest!
An incurable enthusiast and independent spirit since she could remember (her childhood heroines were Pippi Longstockings and Katharine Hepburn) Daniela Degrassi found her creative outlet as a lifestyle photographer, working mainly in Northern California. Currently splitting her time between SF Bay Area and her native Italy to continue to be her autistic sister’s primary caregiver. Vegan since 2014, she found a perfect way to carry her message of compassion while celebrating her love for the wedding industry launching The Kind Bride in February 2018.