Sustainable Bridal Collection, Exhibited on AlvaForms
On 12 September, Dutch designer Tess van Zalinge presented her newest collection, tesswithlotte, developed with wedding planner With Lotte, at the Fashion For Good museum in Amsterdam. This sustainable collection of fifteen bridal looks drew its inspiration from wedding traditions and, in some cases, was made up of old wedding dresses. The collection is on exhibit from 10 October through 7 December at Fashion For Good.
This collection was designed and exhibited on AlvaForms. In October 2019, shortly after the exhibit opened, we talked to Tess about the process of creating tesswithlotte.
What do you like about the AlvaForms? How have these been helpful in fitting and displaying your exhibition?
Tess: The AlvaForms are the best mannequins I’ve ever worked with. It was the first collection I completely designed on an AlvaForm and it really made the whole process easier, faster and also more sustainable. Besides the design development, I wanted to showcase the entire collection on AlvaForms during the exhibition at Fashion for Good to showcase different sizes in a cohesive way. Due to the fact I work a lot with body wear-, lingerie- and corset-inspired pieces, the AlvaForms showcase the designs in their best way.
What do you think about the current state of sustainable fashion? What strides still need to be taken?
Tess: Sustainable fashion comes with a conscious mindset; in my opinion that mindset must be there as a given in everyone’s mindset and not as a concept of doing good. I really feel sustainability should be the status quo, not only in the creative industry, but for everyone. I do feel that we are taking a lot of steps, but we are definitely not there yet. That’s why I wanted to share my story within a niche market such as the bridal industry, to showcase that we have to have a conscious mindset at all times, even in a market with a strong one-day-only thought.
Tell us about reimagining marriage traditions as part of the collection.
Tess: Back in the days, marriage had a lot of traditions, conscious thinking and symbolism that are fading away. Giving an ode to fifteen forgotten marriage traditions, I wanted to reinvent these traditions and tell the stories behind it. Fifteen looks stands for fifteen traditions, each giving an ode!
What are some trends you see in bridal right now?
Tess: The bridal industry is really growing, especially here in The Netherlands. Unfortunately that also comes with a strong one-day-only thought and the meaning of certain traditions is going to be forgotten. A good example is the pearl. The pearl is known for its unlucky character; the violence associated with removing pearls from their natural habitat (living creatures) has given them a reputation as unlucky. Nowadays all wedding dresses are embellished with pearls; the whole meaning, heritage and symbolism is gone.
Your collection encompasses bridal, historical dress, and sustainable fashion. What was your inspiration, and what kept you going throughout the collection?
Tess: Sparked from a dissatisfaction with the way the wedding industry currently operates, I felt the need to create awareness in this market, where the focus is on beauty for “one-day-only.” My signature is clearly present in this collection: body-conscious silhouettes, layering and the use of various crafts such as patchwork, laser cutting, folding and embroidery. By upcycling vintage wedding dresses (supplied by Laura Dols) and using all other leftovers from weddings, the collection shows both the fashion and the bridal industries an innovative and inspiring alternative to the traditional approach to the wedding ceremony. This innovative form of upcycling shows a special amalgamation of tailor-made work, craftsmanship and a drive for innovation specialized with “doing good.” This collection, again, focuses on sustainability, unique craftsmanship and innovation. Fashion for Good is the perfect location to present the show and the exhibition, and fully convey the idea behind the collection. Each look in the collection is showcased on Alvanon forms, inspired by one of fifteen forgotten wedding traditions. My preference for craftsmanship, nature, sustainability and folklore is evident. This exhibition preserves the traditions that used to bring depth to the wedding day.