12 Feb And the Award Goes to: Green Fashion on the Red Carpet
Every year at the Academy Awards, audiences are looking at the dresses nearly as closely as the films. Lately, various high profile women have taken initiatives to make good use of the spotlight to bring green fashion on the red carpet.
No, not literally green (although Julianne Moore’s 2013 Tom Ford recycled emerald gown was gorgeous). We’re talking about eco fashion at the Oscars — specifically the Red Carpet Green Dress competition and The Green Carpet Challenge.
The Green Carpet Challenge
In 2009 style journalist Lucy Siegle challenged her friend Livia Firth, wife of actor Colin Firth, to take sustainable style to the worlds biggest red carpet events. Livia accepted and together they began the Green Carpet Challenge. Over the years, from the Golden Globes to the Cannes Film Festival, the GCC has collaborated with all of the iconic design houses in the world, eventually creating the GCC Brandmark in the global retail world. The first GCC Brandmark “Guarantor of Sustainable Elegance” was awarded to Gucci when it created, in partnership with Eco-Age, the world’s first handbag collection made from zero-deforestation, certified Amazonian leather. In 2013 a Green Carpet Capsule Collection was created by Christopher Bailey, Victoria Beckham, Christopher Kane, Erdem and Roland Mouret. Below Stella McCartney’s gorgeous lace gowns, you can still order one on Net-a-porter…
Red Carpet Green Dress
Founded by Suzy Amis Cameron – a former actress and model married to director James Cameron – Red Carpet Green Dress has spent more than half a decade promoting green gowns on the red carpet.
Here’s how the competition works. Every designer from every end of the globe is invited to submit a sustainable red carpet look. Red Carpet Green Dress designs must:
* Be made from a material that’s socially and environmentally responsible. Recycled fabrics and items created in a fair-trade, positive workplace are two examples of appropriate materials. Last year, French-Lebanese designer Alice Elia constructed her winning garment from 100% certified organic silk. The luscious red gown was dyed with sappanwood and madder root, two naturally sustainable and fast-growing plants. Red Carpet Green Dress also suggests organic cotton, hemp and bamboo as other examples of low-impact, sustainable materials.
* Have a minimal impact on the environment. To achieve this, designers monitor materials and their own processes to ensure they’re taking every possible step to limit environmental harm. American university student Jillian Granz utilized a no-waste pattern when constructing her winning 2010 Red Carpet Green Dress look. The final gown also included reclaimed lining and was made from peace silk — a cruelty-free fabric sourced from silkworms allowed to live out their full life cycle.
* Source materials and labor through a fully traceable and socially responsible supply chain. Designers are encouraged to understand where their fabrics come from and by whose hands they were created. Ethical production is a key facet of sustainable design, and using recycled materials or sourcing supplies from companies with fair labor practices are two methods of reducing unfair or unsafe working conditions for employees around the world. The 2012 winning designer Valentina Delfino had her flowing blue gown dyed at a Los Angeles facility approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Red Carpet Green Dress designs have received much praise from the film and fashion industries and beyond. Michael Badger’s golden gown – which took the top Red Carpet Green Dress prize in 2013 – also received a place in People Magazine’s Best Dressed list. The dress was designed by Badger, with creative and constructional help from the legendary Dame Vivienne Westwood and her couture team. Actress Naomie Harris elegantly brought the gown to life; showing off its certified vintage accents, organic silk and unique color: naturally derived from chamomile and goldenrod seeds.
The Red Carpet Green Dress founders weren’t satisfied with simply putting on a once-yearly event: the program also fundraises for the MUSE school — an educational institution founded by Ms. Amis Cameron that teaches children the importance of living in harmony with the environment. The school is part of a global educational network that promotes the same mission as well as focusing on scholarships for underprivileged children — and those of refugee parents in particular.
Red Carpet Green Dress is both beautiful and inspirational — as are the beautiful and sustainable gowns we’re seeing more and more of on the red carpet. This year’s winning dress will debut at the Academy Awards on February 22, we can’t wait!