Sustainable Style: Eco-Friendly Gowns from Celia Grace

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Celia Grace creates eco-friendly gowns for the stylish bride concerned about her wedding's enviromental impact. Founder and CEO Marcie Muehlke and designer Alix Kivlin share their thoughts on going green as well as

CB: Where'd you get the idea?

MM: In 2009, I was planning my own wedding and found that, on average, a bride spends about $25,000. And I wanted my dollars to go toward making the world a better place, if possible. I thought I'd be able to find a gown I could feel good about wearing, but I couldn't. I ended up going with a non-fair-trade gown and did what I could, like using local, organic food and flowers.

CB: So you wanted to give brides another option.

MM: Yes. I got my degree in international development and, as a student, I visited women in a clothing factory in the Yucatan Peninsula; I found that making clothing can either help or hurt woman. I found a market opportunity and also a social opportunity to help women.

CB: Who makes the gowns?

MM: They're designed by Alix and made by women's groups in India and Cambodia.

AK: It's definitely a contrast to the travel I did for ready-to-wear lines. I go to much smaller factories and visit with teams of about 18 to about 40 people. We have dedicated seamstresses who have been trained in evening and bridal wear. What they bring to the table-the artisanship, the fabrics, the natural dyes-is very inspiring.

CB: What's the Celia Grace style?

MM: A romantic look is our big thing. The goal is to reflect the beautifully healthy bride-inside and out-that will wear one. The silk we use has been made in Cambodia this way for thousands of years. Recently, we created a line of pink gowns dyed with flowers.

CB: Where are your gowns sold?

MM: Online and in a few shops. We're hoping to expand soon to additional progressive cities-places with an audience for these gowns.