Red carpets are probably one of the most exciting places to be for celebrities and the creations of fashion designers. And not just for the many obvious reasons you would think they are. The biggest award shows, like the Oscars or The Golden Globes, attract hundreds of millions of viewers each night. This offers the perfect opportunity for stars to communicate a statement and raise awareness on various issues through their clothing.
Activism on the red carpet is not a new concept. It has been happening for quite some years now and its significance is rapidly growing. If you have social media then you have probably heard about the #TimesUp or the #AskHerMore movements focusing on systemic harassment, inequality, and sexist reporting.
The red carpet has also experienced countless occasions where celebrities have worn dresses that communicated their political standpoint, especially in the USA. However, the topic that has been around for several years now and has received the most attention on red carpets in 2020 is sustainability. The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. And the rate at which we are consuming clothes is increasing alarmingly. So, what better way to raise awareness than celebrities using their voice?
Movements to look out for
Here are three incredible examples of challenges and movements that use the power of stars and award shows to form a greener red carpet and reach as many people as possible, get them to talk and learn about sustainability, and hopefully take action.
Challenging the red carpet
The Green Carpet Challenge launched more than ten years ago by two friends. Environmentalist Livia Firth and journalist Lucy Siegle. At the Golden Globes in 2010 Livia Firth wore a vintage wedding dress to the red carpet surprising most people who asked about her dress – in which she looked absolutely stunning. Their goal is to work with designers who could truly disrupt conventional textiles with their sustainable designs and activists to achieve a change in the fashion industry for the better. And, of course, to get celebrities to take part in this challenge and create a greener red carpet.
Since the start, they have convinced hundreds of A-listers to join them. Either by wearing a design that is made of 100% sustainable materials or something that has been worn before. Meryl Streep, Emma Watson, and Margot Robbie are just some of the many who took up the Green Carpet Challenge and ditched the traditional way of dressing during awards season.
From a challenge to an award
A few years later Eco-Age, Livia’s sustainability consultancy created the Green Carpet Fashion Awards. The awards praise designers’ and brands’ hard work towards making the fashion industry eco-friendlier and more sustainable. Launched only four years ago in Italy, the GCFAs has already achieved enormous recognition. In 2019, they were Milan Fashion Week’s biggest hit. A great way to encourage the players of the fashion industry to do better and think different is by recognising their efforts and achievements. It is wonderful to see so many bright ideas and creative solutions that could change the future of fashion.
A perfect partnership
It would be a mistake not to mention the Red Carpet Green Dress. They are a “Global change-making organisation bringing sustainability to the forefront of conversation and action within the global apparel industry.” They have an ongoing relationship with the Annual Academy Awards where designers have the opportunity to create a unique sustainable piece and their ambassadors, the celebrities, can voice those environmental concerns in order to spread the word. This is exactly what happened at the 2020 Oscars red carpet and multiple articles discussed it. They managed to start the conversation and that is a big part of the ultimate goal.
Hoping for greener red carpets
These amazing movements are just the start of what is hopefully to come. Who knows, maybe in some years’ time the red carpet will eventually become fully green – and I do not just mean the colour of the carpet. Guests would only wear dresses and tuxedos that are either pre-loved pieces or entirely sustainable creations.
By working together with sustainable designers and giving them a platform to introduce people to all kinds of new ideas and materials. The act alone of wearing these will of course not accomplish a huge decrease in carbon emissions. The amount they would save is pretty low – but certainly not insignificant. However, it is far more important that they use their voice to help and contribute to making a change. On the red carpet all eyes are on them, we’re all excited to see what they are wearing and what they have to say. Their influence should not be underrated, but used as allies of the sustainability movement to create a greener red carpet and hopefully a greener fashion industry.