12 Sustainable Formal Dresses For Wedding Season

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From Cocktail Dresses To Evening Gowns

As women, we have our fair share of events worth dressing up for—our best friend’s bridal shower, a coworkers wedding, or a formal work event. And it’s easy for fast fashion dresses to pile up in our closets, getting only a few uses a year. Instead, we can opt for dresses made with fair trade practices to ensure all employees are paid fair wages and in safe working conditions.

We’ve rounded up 12 brands whose stunning dresses are perfect for any formal event or occasion—and they're made ethically. Let’s make sure that we look our best and do our best to support garment workers and artisans alike.

1. Mara Hoffman

Based In | New York, NY
Ethics | Fair trade, eco-friendly, sustainable
Best For | Bold prints and modern dresses
Price | $315–$995

There’s something admirable about brands who shift over time to doing better—and that’s the case with Mara Hoffman. First launched in 2000, they began to shift their production and sourcing practices in 2015 when they realized sustainability and fair trade efforts were integral to a better fashion industry. They’ve since switched to responsibly-sourced and organic fabrics like linen, hemp, and TENCEL that are thoughtfully sewn together in fair-trade spaces across India, Peru, China, and the United States. These midi-length dresses are full of style and flair, in bold colors and eye-popping prints. And what we love most is the diversity of styles, fits, and models throughout the collection—there really is something for everyone.

Shop Mara Hoffman


Based In | North Hollywood, CA
Ethics | Fair trade, give back
Best For | Boho and vintage-inspired dresses
Price | $198–$378

DÔEN, started by a collective of LA-based women, is all about creating elevated pieces you can wear every day, whether at work or a special occasion. Channeling the 70s and 80s, this Bohemian-style brand launched in 2015 by two sisters, growing a coven of followers since. Whenever possible, they work with factories that are female owned or co-owned, hire women in management roles, and supports workers’ unions to ensure all women have a voice. Whether handmade in California, Spain, or Peru, these beautiful vintage-inspired dresses are ideal for a family dinner, garden wedding, or baby shower. Each year, they also craft a children’s dress where 100% of proceeds support Room to Read, a nonprofit promoting literacy and gender equality across Asia and Africa.


3. Stella McCartney

Based In | London, UK + New York, NY
Ethics | Fair trade, eco-friendly, sustainable, gives back
Best For | Dresses for winter weddings
Price | $1,325–$4,825

Stella McCartney’s mission is to operate as a modern and responsible business, and for them, that means having fair trade and sustainable practices. Every member of their supply chain earns a livable wage and has safe working conditions, from designers in New York to garment workers in Hungary and India. Plus, they give back to a number of causes each year, ranging from Oceana to the Hello Beautiful Foundation, incorporating charity regularly into their business model. With luxurious materials like soft velvet and sustainable viscose, their form-fitting dresses are the perfect option for an evening winter wedding, which are sure to keep you warm while still flattering your silhouette. From social to environmental responsibility, Stella McCartney does it all.

Shop Stella McCartney


Based In | New York, NY
Ethics | Fair trade, eco-friendly, sustainable
Best For | Dresses for destination weddings
Price | $179–$798

AMUR, which stands for A Mindful Use of Resources, is all about sustainability and investment. Their love of nature translates into stunning dresses made of organic and natural fabrics and reclaimed fibers. And, they provide gainful employment to artisans in India and Vietnam through the nonprofit fair-trade organization, NEST. Each style has a hint of ruffles, embroidery, and stunning colors, making it your one-stop shop for a destination wedding, whether in Mexico or Italy. (The Presley Dress would go beautifully at either location, wouldn’t you agree?!) Flawlessly go from day to night, or BBQ to cocktail hour.


5. Ace & Jig

Based In | Brooklyn, NY + Portland, OR
Ethics | Fair trade, eco-friendly, sustainable, gives back
Best For | Summer party dresses
Price | $270–$375

Mix together raw cotton, yarn dye, and talented artisans in India, and you’ll find Ace & Jig. This brand was founded by two women who wanted to bring slow fashion back to the forefront of the industry, using sustainable materials, a no-waste mindset, and fair-trade practices. Their line of block-printed and patterned dresses are our go-to for summer parties, on lazy Sundays, or while lounging with friends on green grass. And they’re philanthropic, too: in the last 2 years, they’ve donated more than $50,000 to human rights and sustainability nonprofits like the ASPCA and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Ace & Jig embodies what it means to do good and be better.

Shop Ace & Jig

6. Christy Dawn

Based In | Los Angeles, CA
Ethics | Fair trade, eco-friendly, sustainable
Best For | Bridal or baby shower dresses
Price | $179 - $290

Christy Dawn knows that everything we do impacts the planet and its people: “No matter how a piece of clothing looks, it cannot be considered beautiful if, in producing it, the environment is destroyed or people are exploited.” That’s why this stunning brand uses only deadstock (the residual fabrics leftover from other fashion houses) that are sewn together by seamstresses in Los Angeles, who are paid fair trade wages and given benefits. The outcome? Gorgeous, feminine, and flirty dresses with tulip sleeves, floral designs, and flattering fits. With sizing from XS to XXL, they’re an inclusive and mindful brand that has formal wear for bridal showers, family celebrations, or a garden gala.

Shop Christy Dawn

7. Reformation

Based In | Culver City, CA
Ethics | Fair trade, eco-friendly, sustainable, gives back
Best For | Guest dresses for summer weddings
Price | $78–$428

Reformation puts people and planet at the center of everything they do: ¾ of their team are women or underrepresented populations; they also employ sustainable practices through and through, from the supply chain process through supporting employee use of public transportation. To top it off, they prioritize a perfect fit of each of their feminine dresses: they’ve launched a petites collection, extended size collection, and a collection for women with full C-DD cups to make sure all women look and feel their best. Most of their sustainable dresses are made with TENCEL, viscose, or linen, creating that lightweight yet flattering look, no matter where you are. Pair these with wedge sandals and a small clutch, and you’re all set for that summer wedding.

Shop Reformation

8. Monsoon

Based In | London, UK
Ethics | Fair trade, eco-friendly, sustainable, gives back
Best For | Dresses for black tie affairs
Price | $30–$405

For the past 40+ years, Monsoon has been a staple to London fashion and a founding leader in fair trade practices. Today, they’re represented in more than 1,000 stores around the world—and have a charitable trust that supports women and children across Asia. Their wide range of dresses, from evening wear to daytime work dresses, run the gamut—but their black tie dresses are the ones that caught our eye. Some shine with sequins, while others are made with delicate pleated lace. Whatever your fancy or the occasion, you’ll find a dress that’s classy, elegant, and made to last.

Shop Monsoon


Based In | New York, NY
Ethics | Fair trade, eco-friendly, sustainable, gives back
Best For | Dresses for casual weddings and gathering
Price | $79–$348

EILEEN FISHER, a longtime pioneer in human rights and sustainability, has put the well-being of the planet and its people at the core of their business model. So much so that their employees are all fair trade, nearly all of their materials and fabrics are sustainable, and they donate to girls’ and women’s empowerment initiatives regularly. Using TENCEL, organic cotton, and viscose, their dresses are perfect for that coworker’s engagement party or an extended relative’s birthday. What we love most about EF’s range is they work for any season—pair with a boot or leggings in the fall, or slip on some sandals and you’re all set.


10. Rent The Runway

Based In | New York, NY
Ethics | Fair trade, eco-friendly, sustainable
Best For | Dresses for galas and fundraisers
Price | $30–$800

A nontraditional (yet feasible!) option for fair trade formal wear is Rent The Runway. Customers can rent a dress of their choice, casual or formal, for a set amount of time and return it after that special occasion, without the heavy price tag. When the average woman throws out 82 pounds of clothing a year, it’s easy to see how it can all add up to a more polluted world. Instead, RTR makes it easy with thousands of affordable options that suit any event. This is the solution for those of that need “special occasion” dresses to show off several times a year for fundraisers and galas, considering many of their brands are high-end designers.

Shop Rent The Runway

11. People Tree

Based In | London, UK
Ethics | Fair trade, eco-friendly, sustainable, gives back
Best For | Dresses for fall weddings
Price | $41–$180

People Tree’s philosophy is that being fair trade isn’t just about giving livable wages. It’s about protecting and encouraging the social, economic, cultural, and environmental well-being of every being. That’s why they pair together organic cotton and TENCEL with talented artisans and garment workers across South Asia to skillfully create dresses while ensuring safe and supportive working conditions. Their line of formal wear includes stripes, pops of color, and playful ruffles and bows to catch the eye of everyone in the room. Whether at a work event or an autumn wedding, these Fair Trade-certified dresses are made to multi-task.

Shop People Tree

12. FROCK Los Angeles

Based In | Los Angeles, CA
Ethics | Fair trade, eco-friendly, sustainable
Best For | Sustainable evening gowns
Price | $58–$268

Over the last 9 years, FROCK Los Angeles has crafted dresses that effortlessly go from the 9-5 work day to the 5-9 after-work cocktails. Using high-quality eco-friendly fabrics like bamboo viscose and vegetable dying processes, FROCK’s glamorous dresses aren’t just sexy—they’re also incredibly sustainable and comfortable. No need to take it to the dry cleaners either—all dresses are hand- or machine-washable. Talk about low maintenance. Don’t just take our word for it—celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Laverne Cox, and Patricia Fields have been seen around town rocking FROCK. They’ve got a little black dress for every occasion, so add it to your closet staples.


The Good Trade editors endorse products we genuinely love. If you end up making a purchase through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a commission. Learn more here.


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