Founded in 2016 by Seychelle Wilmouth, a Filipina based in California, wedding boutique Silviyana has been creating dresses for women wanting to stay on the sustainable side of bridal fashion. Wilmouth’s background in the fabric and textile industry as well as her knowledge of traditional Filipino materials led her to the idea of using pineapple fibers, commonly used in barongs and typically discarded after harvest season to be burned for the next crop, for her designs.
Wilmouth describes Silviyana as a conscious business. Every decision her brand makes is evaluated based on environmental impact. “We believe that sharing how we care [about the Earth] is much more important than sharing our brand.” And instead of only trying to keep up with hitting targets, Wilmouth is adamant about advising brides to think first before purchasing.
“We struggled to find the balance [between] being an ethical and conscious brand and being a viable business,” she admits. “Of course, being a new small business, I wanted more sales, but I believe that a wedding gown is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so I feel compelled to tell brides if it does not feel right. We are here to accommodate our brides’ needs but we won’t lure you into something we do not believe is right for you just for the sake of profit.”
Silviyana used to have a physical brick-and-mortar store in San Jose, California, but in pursuit of quality and putting clients first, it has since transitioned into an online business where it offers exclusive appointments to interested clients. This model allows them to streamline operational expenses and focus on providing bridal wedding gowns that won’t break the bank.
Silviyana also partners with Filipino artisans in creating her dresses. “When you walk down the aisle, you are representing the work of not one designer but our Silviyana family—the weavers, the women’s cooperative that we work with, our embroiderers, and our collective of international independent wedding designers that are all looking to do good through fashion and design.”
Most of the weavers who create the fabrics for the wedding dresses are from the Philippines and Wilmouth is committed to paying fair wages as well as providing opportunities to her team of weavers to further the science of ethical and sustainable fabric creation.
Currently, Wilmouth uses recycled pineapple fibers, Mulberry silk, modernized abaca, and organic cotton fibers, ensuring the dress isn’t only durable and luxurious but also biodegradable. Any additional materials required for a specific design are always ethically sourced. Aside from being versatile, Wilmouth chose piña fiber owing to its sustainable characteristics. “It is a natural fiber, making it biodegradable at the end of its life. Should you want to dispose of your wedding gown one day, you can do so knowing that it is not going to harm the environment.”
The brand also has a rental program, a response to the often “one and done” approach to the wedding dress. Their independent design partners utilize deadstock fabrics and overstock wedding gowns and transform them into fashionable, completely ethical, and ready-to-wear wedding gowns.
Refocusing a business geared towards sustainability can be tricky but Silviyana’s mandate is simple: to help brides enjoy their wedding day in a more eco-friendly fashion. Brides get to take a step towards sustainability and ethical design, all while celebrating their special day.
Header photo courtesy of Silviyana from the Pagkakaisa collection
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