Rustic Wedding Notes

Sometimes it's nice to just post pictures of design or wedding inspiration. With the changing season it's fun to grab photos to re-post. These are all from the hgtv.com site's wedding inspiration pages. I thought you might like to get your planning juices simmering for late summer and fall 2016 brides.
Happy planning !!


Eco Chic Wedding Designs - Where Do I Find Them ?

A few years ago I was part of the Mid Atlantic Green Wedding Showcase  & Eco Fashion Show up in the Washington, DC/Baltimore area. It was awesome seeing the interest many brides had in decreasing the waste and expenses of a wedding and in finding Green choices for their weddings. The Eco Fashion Show was fun since it not only showed off bridal and bridesmaids designs of emerging wedding designers but also showcased some vintage designs curated by the lovely Rissa at Balance Weddings along with Nathaniel at BalancePhotography.

Punk Rock Bride - Sasha
Punk Rock Bride - Sasha
At the time I had an etsy shop and was just beginning to put together a website. My business name was Style Tantrum Designs and my shop on etsy was colorada. Later it was changed to Tattered Chic, leading to the blog name. I still go by that name along with Wispy Chic and StyleTantrum.

The following year the cast of designers was larger and many more styles were shown, which was both an inspiration and educational in that I learned a lot about runway modeling and how to prepare for a show. The next year the event was discontinued, but at the time a master list of designers was created. Recently the list has gotten harder to find, so I wanted to revive it for brides seeking to find different eco chic wedding designers' lines.

Keep in mind that the original list has 2 different years, with some repetition on each. Also, since most of the designers are online rather than only local, you should be able to locate gowns no matter where the designers are located. Each designer is different, but with many, since each gown is custom, very little local fitting is required (if any).

Which Goose Designs
WhichGoose Designs

I'll be gradually working on improving this list and making it a bit easier to work with, but for now, I'll just post the list such as it is. Since many of the designers, including myself have changed websites and locations, think of this as a skeleton list. I'll also link back here to the original list on the event website put together by Rissa.

If I get that far, I hope to do a tiny post on each of the designers to see how their business or sites have changed and to see what their focus is currently. At the moment the list is a work in progress. Many of the links I've tried so far are dead. Also, like myself, many of the designers will have more than one shop with different designs in each location, so a single listing is not really enough. My shop for instance, is listed (Style Tantrum), but my focus has moved to my primary shop (Wispy Chic) now - so the info is not current. When the list is done, each designer will be able to give a better picture of where to locate their designs.

If you are a designer listed here and have new info for your business, please let me know at cynna@styletantrum.com. I'll do my best to locate the designers - comment if you have info on this.

Eco Chic Wedding and Fashion Designers:


Open Letter to the Fashion Design Industry

Sometimes I think about fashion...not the designs so much as the industry. Fashion design has changed much over the years, but right now it needs to make some serious changes to survive into the next time frame.

 A Little History
There have always been designers and talented seamstresses, but for the average person fashion design was unapproachable and most fashion was bought 'off the rack' - if you were fortunate enough to be able to afford it - or created at home by moms, aunts and sisters who made the entire family's clothing.

Fashion consisted of a few changes of clothing for most average people to an entire wardrobe for the wealthy. An average person could afford 2 everyday outfits (so one could be cleaned) and a 'Sunday best' outfit for solemn and special occasions. This is not so long ago. The grandparents and great-grandparents of today's middle aged adults lived in this manner.

The 'Pride and Prejudice' style of multiple dresses and changes through a day was available to only a wealthy few and required a lot of work for servants and in some cases the individuals who wore them or a family member. Laundry as we know it was done by hand and required ironing and starching to look good.

However, disposable fashion, which is what most people are now used to, only began within the last 50 years, beginning around the 60s. Even then clothing required ironing and was much more expensive to produce and acquire for the average person.

With the advent of the modern textile industry, and especially the sending of most textile production overseas, the cost of fabric and thus fashion production decreased enough for the average person to be able to afford a large wardrobe that he or she could easily dispose of or change out regularly for new clothing. Now the person of average income - read middle class - could have a large wardrobe to rival the rich of a few generations past - in size - if not in quality.

Fashion production has changed too. A few fashion houses in the 30s to 60s created fashion designs that lead the production of fashion worldwide. There is now greater decentralization of designing with many areas having their own fashion industry apart from the European / American houses of the past.

With the higher level of production - of disposable income to fuel more purchases and more fashion designers and houses come problems. Too many items of clothing are produced, too many are discarded by consumers stimulated to buy to keep the level of production and purchasing up. Now there is incredible waste in the area of fashion. In addition the use of jersey knits and other fragile fibers create versatile and comfortable clothing, but due to inherent weakness in the fabric, they quickly wear out. How many people have thrown away an otherwise good tshirt due to a hole that sprung from a tiny pull? Almost everyone.

1 - We are making more than we need
2 - We are throwing away more than we need to
3 - We are designing for a short life and easy disposal
4 - We are fueling the increase of an industry that needs change, rather than allowing a reboot

What Needs To Change ?

Well, think of it like the book publishing industry that refused to change until Amazon came along and offered e-books. Now they are struggling to stay afloat and keep up with e-publishing. The print industry - magazines and newspapers have been superseded largely by internet versions - fashion blogs and online magazine versions that have supplanted the older technology with a vibrant, more relevant product. The music industry has seen many artists wrest the control of their careers and music from the hands of large producers to smaller, more nimble ways of producing and popularizing music and artists - the likes of YouTube, Taylor Swift and American Idol.

In fashion too, there is a move away from large fashion houses and the way fashion has 'always' been produced. Various celebrity designers who are either musicians, models or celebrity fashionistas  have begun their own successful fashion lines, such as Gwen Stefani.

Home produced fashion created by small designers and popularized by sites like etsy and lines like Alabama Chanin and Magnolia Pearl are growing. Sites like Spoonflower where you can design and print your own fabric help in the effort, along with Kickstarter and other means of reaching the buyer. The current CosPlay and gaming industry make their own fashion, often making it available in small lots in the to a select few and creating profitable niches for apparel designs. Lastly, with the rise of 3D printing and software programs that allow you to design your own fashion and - at some point - have it made according to your style and vision - change is imminent.

Fashion needs to change, or it will soon be overtaken by a host of individuals intent on bypassing an inflexible system in order to realize their own dreams and creative ethos. If this happens without the fashion industry, it will be left high and dry like a fish stranded on shore. But it doesn't have to end that way. Here are some ideas for tomorrow's fashion industries and designers.


1. Respect the end user. Buyers often have a keen sense of style not being addressed by the current offerings of the fashion elite. Find out what is really wanted, rather than recreating the same fashion year after year.

2. Make a way for buyers to be part of creating their own designs. I've learned to have a healthy respect for my buyers.They know what works and what doesn't in their closet.
Make a way for them to get what's in their 'heads'. If they can't find it in the market, 
someone's going to make it for them. That is a golden opportunity.

3. Be real. Don't be elitist (i.e. 'I'm the fashion designer...I'll tell you what looks good')

4. Be open to other forms of production, design and funding for creating fashion. Someone that's 12 on YouTube that has never sewn a single thing may run away with your audience if you don't get on board and find a way to open doors for new faces at the table.

5. Have fun. Fashion isn't fun anymore...or at least not often. (That's a danger sign.) Be open to a wider, more playful approach to fashion.


Eco Chic: How Zero Waste Fashion Design Matters

There's a new trend in eco-fashion design called zero waste. Basically it entails cutting designs so that less scraps are produced. This is a big issue for fashion lines which create fashion using large manufacturers. New designers are being taught to create using this idea to utilize fabric more effectively to help the environment. Textile waste is a big environmental concern.

Cutting this way comes naturally to me, since I've always created for maximum utilization. When I first started and each piece of fabric was so expensive, I cut this way to get the most of my fabric. (This isn't so long ago in my case.) Also, if one reads old sewing texts, this technique was merely wise use of resources. Factory cutting techniques are different -  ease in cutting and speed are the main concerns, leading to greater waste fabric. This is because factories cut patterns that will be used to 'punch out' many pieces through multiple layers of fabric.

The main difference between my method and that of a factory is that I actually start out with the idea of utilizing scrap and reclaimed fabrics in each design and work this into the mix from the beginning. I still utilize the old fashioned method of scissors to cut a single or doubled layer with my designs. I also lay out each design to best utilize the fabric, like a jigsaw puzzle in cloth. That said, even the best layout can have a bit of waste, since pieces need to be cut 'on the grain' to hang properly. Bias cut designs particularly lend themselves to wasted fabric. They hang wonderfully though and are worth it. I make bias cut designs and use up all the scraps that result on other garments.

Some of my strategies to utilize fabric waste include cutting wisely for each design, using scraps for bits of other designs, like a facing or sleeve, etc. and making every scrap count. I have a huge pile of scraps on my table that I use in each design for trim and decorative purposes. I love the rough cut, frayed look of fabric scraps and love mixing bits and pieces in different fabrics and colors into a rosette, peplum, frill or part of a train. I don't just do this to save scraps from being wasted, but because I love the feel of worn and crumpled fabrics in designs. I love the 'undone' look and use it often in my designs.

It's an extremely rare instance when I actually throw away a scrap of fabric, and usually the tiniest bits make it into my pieces. I do throw away fabric that I am not able to remove smells from, such as a musty smell  or other odor. Fabrics with bits of discoloration are used for scraps with the discolored areas cut out and thrown away. 

I also use reclaimed fabrics in my designs as much as possible. I gather these from a multitude of sources using vintage linens and fashion, laces and trim along with new fabric remnants, bits from lightly worn clothing and textiles and factory waste or scraps. I seldom create with used wedding dresses as raw materials, since I like to save those for young brides seeking an inexpensive gown.

So how do I recommend being an eco-chic designer ? It's summed up in a few words - "Be mindful".
As you create, be mindful of fabric sources, waste, the wise utilization of resources. Use reclaimed and ethically sourced whenever possible and make the most of fabric that is already created.


What I Want for Spring 2015 - Wedding Trends

Light - Sheer - Deconstructed
You can see wedding trends online in the fashion shows from Milan, Paris and New York. Some trends I've narrowed down for Spring 2015 are light, sheer and deconstructed. These designs are wispy, floaty and tattered with a bohemian, hippie look. While these are overall fashion trends, they apply to wedding fashions also. More details on Spring fashion trends for 2015 later. For now I'd like to focus on what I'd personally love to see for wedding trends this Spring.




I'd love to see things with a softer, matte style - things in cottons and silk blends with just a shimmer near the bodice. Soft is really under rated, but for a wedding it's important to not have a single stiff thing on your body. Fresh and soft !!


I'd love to see comfort take it's place in wedding designs. I love being gorgeous for anyone, but dresses with comfort built in so the bride can enjoy her day, the reception and even dancing are so needed !  Pockets would be awesome for some wedding designs, since some people love them. I confess I haven't added them to my designs yet either !


 A funny old term for winsome, adorable, cute, awesome....able to wrap your dude around your sweet fingers and hold on forever ! I love this trait because sophisticated can be quickly dull, but aren't there just people you can't help but love cause they're so amazing ??? I'd love to see dresses that embody this. Audrey Hepburn was fetching as well as sophisticated in a gentle way.


The one day you are allowed to be sweet and no one can object (successfully) is your wedding day. It's such a serious and solemn day in some ways and such a crazy joyful day in others. When you are baring your soul with your vows, it's OK to be sweet mixed in with other things too - flirty, simple, warm, genuine. So pink is fine, go with your heart !


I love tattered, vulnerable designs. The most desirable, sexy women to me are the vulnerable ones. You can be strong along with vulnerable - just be both ! The world has enough plastic people. Be yourself on your wedding day. It's hard to hold it all together through the engagement and wedding preparations. It's normal and really OK to cry, to be teary during your vows, to be a little fragile on this day. It shows you're real.