Into the Woods: Hemp Wedding Dresses with Designer Tara Lynn

For many women the day of their wedding is the one day where they can truly feel like a goddess. The modern women doesn’t get to wear fairy princess dresses everyday, but on the days that they can they reserve the right to go all out. Of course women can be goddesses everyday but it’s always fun to dress the part.

In the enchanted woods of Vermont, the wind blows wistfully while a butterfly floats by, the rustling of leaves while little animals scurry about, and in a cozy cabin with a wood burning fire an inspired woman makes dresses for goddesses on their special day. Tara Lynn Scheidet is a wedding dress designer and leader in “the green wave of bridal fashion.” She makes unique, custom wedding dresses and other clothing using natural fabrics like hemp, organic cotton, and silk.

Tara Lynn always knew she wanted to make clothes. “The first jacket I made for myself was made from my mom’s bell bottoms. I turned them into a mini skirt and from the bottom half made a jacket.” She grew up in Long Island and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology. Her artistic inspiration has always been centered around nature and “natural sustainably processed materials.”

Early in her career she learned about the more troubling aspects of the fashion industry. “It wasn’t until college that I realized the uglier side to fashion; the pollution and slave labor. I searched NYC for an ethical eco fashion company and found a hemp clothing store. By the time I graduated from FIT I had a certificate in Tailoring and was making custom hemp clothing form pajamas to wedding dresses and suits. I even sold a hemp silk tie I made to Woody Harrelson. I was on a mission to live more sustainably and open my eco-fashion house in Vermont.”

So she made her way to the beautiful woods of Vermont to create lovely, nature inspired fashions. “Today when I am not creating clothing in my studio, I spend my time stacking wood, building our home and getting dirty in the garden.” As stated in her personal bio “trading the city for the country has paid off for Tara Lynn.” It’s certainly interesting to note the stark contrast of Tara Lynn’s two worlds. The hustle and activity of the city compared to the serene woods of Vermont. She brings modern life to the country in a balanced fusion of two worlds: the world of fashion and the world of mother nature.

“Well I love NYC, but I can’t live there. It’s exciting, I miss the food, night life, art, the crazy hair, the culture mix, and the garment district full of trims, buttons, textiles, you name it. But it’s dirty and noisy and though Central Park is beautiful, I love to hear the river from my studio, watch the squirrels play in the tree at my window, see a spotted salamander in the summer and when I walk my dog at lunch we see fisher cat tracks in the snow.”

Making the move from the city to the country required work for Tara Lynn and her husband. But their dream to live a more sustainable life was a strong motivator. “When my husband Evan and I left Long Island we moved into a tiny log cabin in the woods on 92 acres with no water or electricity. We spent the next 15 years building our home, my studio and his engine machine shop. We wanted to live independently from the system, use solar electricity and grow a huge garden. Independence, freedom, space, less people, more wildlife, that is why we are living in Vermont.”

The woods of Vermont provide Tara Lynn with a great deal of inspiration as do her clients. “My customers inspire me the most, and they come from all over the US, Canada and as far as Australia. But when they request that I hand make their favorite flowers, butterflies and fairies, I find in Vermont I can step right out of the studio and pick the wild flowers and see the butterflies and birds right there in my yard. In fact, sometimes they fly into the studio while I am creating! Vermont’s landscape, panoramic views, sparkling snow in the moonlight – it’s a magical place full of wondrous plants and creatures that lend to a calm of fantasy that I can immerse myself into.”

While always interested in making clothes the idea to venture into the bridal industry came at a specific point in time. The designer was working at a hemp boutique in NYC when she was first motivated to begin making wedding dresses. “A customer came in one day and asked if I could make her a custom hemp wedding dress. She was looking for an eco-friendly wedding dress and that’s where it all started. Wedding gowns enable me to create a wearable piece of art that is a collaboration and personal expression of the woman who wears it. It’s a fun, exciting and emotional experience that keeps me going year after year. I’m hooked.”

A woman’s wedding dress is such an important part of her special day. As Tara Lynn likes to say “wear what you love, love what you wear.” While being in touch with mother nature, the designer also seems to be very in touch with the nature of women. She explains well what sets her apart from others in her industry. “Each wedding gown we create is a unique testimony to the things that are important to the bride. No two gowns are ever alike. Each gown fits the eclectic style, natural body, and unique personality of the woman who wears it. Our work is authentic. Every wedding gown ordered is personalized for the bride, inspired by the bride, and created to compliment her best features.”

While wedding gowns have become a centerpiece of Tara Lynn’s career, at its core her career has been about the importance of nature both in imagery and terms of materials used. “My first clothing collection was a line of designer hemp jackets dedicated to endangered species and the first jacket was the butterfly jacket. Customers loved it. I started selling my designer hemp jackets at art shows all along the east coast and people would say things like ‘I didn’t know butterflies were endangered.’ They would feel a hemp wedding dress and proclaim to their surprise ‘this is beautiful fabric!’ Educating people motivates me.”

Educating, inspiring, and beautifying are all services she provides. Her story is a beautiful interweaving of nature, fashion, expression, comfortability and the beauty of women. “I capture my customer’s spirit in a dress. Clothing can be superficial or it can be a spiritual expression of our true selves. When you wear something that is not you, just to fit a mold that feels superficial. Or as my apprentice Margi said it, ‘if I am wearing something that isn’t me I won’t be wearing it for long, I would rather be naked!’” Tara Lynn creates fashions that encourage people to be themselves, and feel comfortable doing it. There is nothing more natural than that.

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By Chanel Wing/THC National Issue 2017

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