Fast fashion has become a buzzword in environmental justice and the fashion world. Brands are gaining praise and attraction for their commitment to being “sustainable” and many are looking towards thrifting or solely shopping at sustainable brands out of fear that they are contributing to the world’s many environmental issues with their very own closet. However, production cost and value go way up when brands start turning towards sustainability. Fast fashion is all around us in our daily lives, but the upper-class fashion houses and red carpet are where we can make a big difference.
So, what about celebrities? If they have the means to buy Gucci and Prada, why don’t they pressure high street brands to go sustainable? We have seen many streetwear brands go sustainable. But what about the brands that celebrities wear on the red carpet? Brands like Chanel, Versace, Valentino, and Alexander McQueen definitely have the means to become eco-friendly brands, but what are they doing to do their part for our environment?
Sustainable clothing can mean many different things. It is most often used interchangeably with terms such as ethical production and typically can have a certain type of characteristic. Ethical production actually refers more to the labor of the brand. This might include, no animal testing, fair wages, and a healthy working environment. Sustainable production typically means making clothes with organic and eco-friendly materials, recycling, conservation of water, or no toxic glues or dyes. Most sustainable and ethical brands will have to be transparent with their factories and their buyers, or else it can be hard to consider a brand ethical, as they could be making it all up. (Skeptical much?) Of course, these lists can be changed, added, or molded over time, but these are the basic guidelines that most brands have to adhere to if they want to be considered sustainable or ethical.
In February of this year, many fashion houses used the Oscars to display their fabulous use of sustainability with their dresses and suits on the red carpet. Louis Vuitton broke news as they have been previously criticized for not signing the United Nations fashion industry charter for climate change. Kaitlyn Denver wore a Louis Vuitton dress made of GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) silk-satin. Olivia Colman wore a sustainable viscose cape gown by Mccartney. Saoirse Ronan had Gucci use some of her fabric from her BAFTAs dress. For many, the major issue in the high fashion industry, especially on the red carpet, is the absolute wastefulness that occurs. The time and resources that go into each and every celebrity’s dress that appears on the red carpet is the absolute opposite of everything sustainable and ethical fashion is trying to achieve. If celebrities would upcycle, rewear, or even auction off their outfits from the red carpets, these outfits could be repurposed for up to 20 years, even longer depending on what they do with them.
However, we can’t let this get us down. There are many different organizations that are shining a spotlight on this exact issue in high fashion, and especially on the red carpet. RCGD (Red Carpet Green Dress) is an organization that is committed to bringing sustainability to fashion houses. They have a design initiative with the Annual Academy Awards and each award season, they hold a contest to see which designer can come up with the best sustainable red carpet look. Additionally, they bring celebrities to the forefront of their campaign to gain attention. Some of their high profile celebrities include James Cameron, Naomie Harris, Sophie Turner, Emma Roberts, and Zoey Deutch.
Eco-Age, an Italian activism group, introduced The Green Carpet Fashion Awards (GCFA) in Milan in 2017. They mirror the Oscars in a modern way, highlighting the footprint that high fashion and red carpet outfits leave on the environment. The 2020 GCFA’s just premiered on October 10th, virtually, of course. Some of the celebrities featured included Colin Firth and Zendaya. Some highlights included Tomi Adeyemi wearing a sustainable Valentino gown and Parker Sawyer in Ermenegildo Zegna XXX. Sawyer’s suit was re-worn and was originally made through recycled fibers. Adeyemi wore a dress made from GOTS certified silk and the accessories were from Valentino’s archives.
Sustainability can be achieved through fashion in a multitude of ways, but high fashion designers have the opportunity and the resources to do it, so it’s time to turn the red carpet, green.
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