A Captive Audience

Shine eco at your prom night this season
May 28, 2010, 9:55 am
Filed under: Research | Tags:

Shine eco at your prom night this season.

Written by Megan McDonald
Friday, 21 May 2010


I have it on good authority (straight from an 18-year old, that is) that mid-May is the time for high school gals to start bronzing their shoulders in preparation for the strapless gowns they’ll don come prom night. Throughout the ages the long, strapless gown has stood the test of time with classic silhouettes gaining embellishments in tune to the color, fabric or feel of seasonal trends. As the prom dress has evolved, so too has the clothing industry in which it is crafted, offering today’s teens plenty of options to go green on prom night. And with teenagers spending up to $1000 for the night, the opportunity to ensure that this investment supports ethical production should not be missed.

Let’s start with the dress – arguably the central focus for girls on prom night (though the boys often focus their energy elsewhere…). A fabulous prom dress should be unique but comfortable, enhancing the natural beauty of the wearer as it reflects her personal style. For girls in which style means more than just looks, prom-goers can seek creations from eco retailers/designers including Dalia MacPhee, ecoSkin and beau soleil. The Natural Store also has a variety of dresses from designers like Feng Ho, Julia Smith and Elena Garcia who created this gorgeous charcoal dress.



Dalia McPhee is one of the designers leading the “green” charge with a demonstrated commitment to sustainable fabrics and a selection of purely Vegan designs (marked with a “V” in their style number). McPhee’s designs range from elegantly simple to strikingly edgy – she excels at maximizing the character of the fabrics and colors she uses to create truly stunning evening wear.

Many eco-fashionistas struggle to find formal wear in the organic offerings of major green retailers because the industry has traditionally catered to the casual life style. More and more designers are incorporating more versatile designs into their collections that can be dressed up or dressed down, like this perfect black dress from beau soleil. Fair Trade jewelry from retailers like MADE or Julia Failey provide endless opportunities to make an outfit sparkle with craftsmanship and stories that sparkle more brightly than the finest of gems. This Disco earring and bracelet set would look great with any l.b.d. or a more colorful alternative like this gorgeous teal halter or this one-shoulder design in a show stopping red from ecoSkin.



As an alternative, you might find that wearing your values means shunning the constant need to buy a new frock for each and every dance. Prom is an ideal time to buy vintage – you can virtually guarantee no one else will have your dress! eBay remains a tried and true vintage bonanza and etsy offers a vintage treasure trove of its own.If you just don’t find any dresses specifically catering to the ethically minded, try and be mindful of the fabrics used in your dream dress and stay away from toxic materials, which are associated with negative environmental impacts. Also – don’t let your consciousness end with the dress – the world of organic and vegan-friendly footwear exists to accommodate a girl who wants to dance all night. We love these simple yet sassy black t-straps from Coclico. The design is timeless and while the price is a bit steep, they’re sure to become a wardrobe staple – breaking the trend of one-night purchases that are wasteful and make you cringe when you look back on prom night a decade later. If you’d like a bit more sass in your footwear check out Nimli’s selection of some of the top eco-shoe designers– we like these Cri de Coeur Melissa’s the best – or Neuaura’s elegant vegan selection. And don’t be afraid to wear flats if you find the perfect fair – heels might keep your date on his toes but flats will keep you on your feet all night.



Finally, perfect your natural beauty with cosmetics made from organic, natural ingredients. These eye shadows from Nancy’s Gone Green come in a dazzling array of colors to mix and match with whatever color scheme you follow. Products featured on organic makeup sites including saffronrouge will also ensure that your gorgeous young skin is protected and cared for so that years after this night no one will believe you’ve aged at all. You can also honor your date with an organic flower for his lapel or better yet, a unique boutonnière made out of an air plant that saves a flower while you still get to pin your date.



At the end of the night when the disco ball has long-since retired, the heels have been cast aside and dawn is peeking on the horizon – imagine you’re the girl still in her dress because it’s just that comfortable. Your friends probably changed hours ago into sweats in a post-party haze, while you in your luxurious organic gown remain radiant and glowing, knowing that as fun as high school and prom has been – surely the best in life is yet to come.


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