The Future Of Sustainability On The Red carpet

Image: Red Carpet Green Dress 

If a celebrity wears a sustainable gown on the red carpet, does it really contribute to the conversation around eco friendly fabrics and rewearing our clothes? We spoke to Samata Pattinson, CEO of Red Carpet Green Dress about their partnership to create TENCEL Luxe.

“Who Are You Wearing”

The Red Carpet provides an escapist fantasy. Since the early noughties, celebrities have been upping their game, sporting couture and fine jewellery to attend award’s ceremonies and premieres. There’s big money involved too, via brand partnerships and sponsorships for the hottest actress to wear certain designers. Best Dressed lists document the designer, the collection, even the dress size of many celebrities, and as consumers of celebrity culture, we were obsessed with what they wore.

However today, we question whether the red carpet is still a necessary part of the film and fashion industry and whether it resonates with the everyday consumer? Does what happens on a sunny red carpet on the other side of the world really affect our buying habits for the better? In 2017 the actor Emma Watson broke ground by documenting what she wore for her press tour for her film The Beauty And The Beast. The @the_press_tour instagram account detailed where each of her looks was from as well as how the designer was sustainable (or trying to be). Even her accessories and the makeup she wore was documented. The account still has 341k followers. 

Emma Watson Demonstrates How Sustainability Can Be Stylish Too

“With us particularly, every moment on the carpet is a teachable one,” Samata Pattinson, CEO of Red Carpet Green Dress told us. Emma Watson showcasing sustainable designs, and wearing vintage on the red carpet sends a strong message about how we should be dressing for the future. The Calvin Klein gown she wore to the MET Gala in 2016 was created from recycled plastic bottles and later displayed at the V&A’s ‘Fashioned From Nature’ exhibition. For many of us, it was the first time we could see the beautiful possibilities of fabric made using recycled PET plastic bottles.

The Future of Sustainability on the red carpet Emma Watson Wears Calvin Klein Recycled PET Plastic bottle dress to 2016 MET Gala

Image: Emma Watson in Calvin Klein

2020 was the year that sustainability really made an impact on the red carpet. The Academy Awards hosted a variety of attendees sporting beautiful examples. Following a disappointing turn out at the BAFTA’s after it’s request to attendees to rewear something from a previous outing, the Oscar’s was a much more satisfying display. Saoirse Ronan wore a Gucci gown that utilised the bodice from her previously worn BAFTA dress. Olivia Coleman wore a Stella McCartney creation, made using eco velvet and other fabrics from Stella’s atelier. Even Kim Kardashian got involved, appearing in an Alexander McQueen dress from the 2013 collection ‘Shipwrecked’, that had been deconstructed specially for her.

The Future of Sustainability on the red carpet Elizabeth Banks rewears Badgley Misckha Dress To 2020 Vanity Fair Oscars party

Image: Elizabeth Banks in Badgley Mischka

If It Ain’t Broke, Rewear It

Actresses Jane Fonda and Elizabeth Banks both happily wore outfits from previous awards outings. ‘It’s gorgeous and it fits…so why not wear it again?! Proud to wear my Badgely Mischka dress that I first wore to Vanity Fair’s Oscars party in 2004,’ Banks explained on her Instagram, ‘To bring global awareness to the importance of sustainability in fashion and consumerism as it relates to climate change, production & consumption, ocean pollution, labor & women.’ Fonda, wearing a beloved Ellie Saab dress from Cannes 2014, even carried a red coat which she claims is the ‘last article of clothing I will ever buy.’

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Eco Couture

For Red Carpet Green Dress, Lea Seydoux and Kaitlyn Dever both wore Louis Vuitton gowns created using the organisation’s strict standards. For those not in the know, Red Carpet Green Dress has been challenging the perception of sustainability on the red carpet since its beginnings in 2009. Founder Suzy Amis Cameron couldn’t find an outfit to wear to accompany her husband Director James Cameron on the press tour for his film Avatar. Being an environmental advocate she wanted to wear something that demonstrated her values. Since then, Red Carpet Green Dress has partnered with the Academy Awards each year to dress actors who attend the red carpet in sustainable, high end fashion.

Designer and CEO Samata Pattinson (right) now oversees the day to day for Red Carpet Green Dress. “For the past 10 years, the perception of sustainability has changed. It was hemp, it wasn’t desirable and we found it hard to convince people to collaborate and wear the clothes.” However these days RCGD have no problem convincing designers and actors to partner with them to wear something eco friendly on the red carpet. And each appearance helps further the conversation.

The Future of Sustainability on the red carpet Samata Pattinson CEO of Red Carpet Green Dress

Making A Statement With What We Wear

“Emma Roberts 2017 vintage Armani Prive dress started a conversation about vintage, and reintroducing excitement for preloved things,” she told us. Similarly the dress made by competition winner Micheal Badger in 2013 for actor Naomie Harris was dyed using plant seeds. “We wanted to talk about textile productions’ role in water pollution.” The GOTS certified silk dress allowed RCGD to start a discussion about dyeing practises. Samata continues, “dyes are a huge part of [fashions environmental impact] and so we wanted to show the other responsible ways we can colour fabrics.”

The Future of Sustainability on the red carpet Naomie Harris wears naturally dyed GOTS certified silk dress by Michael Badger for Red Carpet Green Dress to 2013 Oscars

Image: Naomie Harris / Getty

This year Red Carpet Green Dress used their partnership to shine a light on eco friendly couture textiles. In the past, finding a plant based, sustainable textile luxurious enough to use on the red carpet has been hard. “To deliver the silky smoothness is so challenging, [we must consider] different weights, transparencies and colours. As well as finishes like glossy or matte,” Samata told us. In answer to this issue they have collaborated with TENCEL™ to create TENCEL™ Luxe, a plant based couture fabric. “We wanted to invest and innovate in plant based, vegan, biodegradable fabrics with colour vibrance and the liquid drape you need,” Samata said. A lot of research and development was needed but Samata agrees it was “a meeting of minds. We didn’t want to show another GOTS certified silk or recycled gown.”

The textile is already revolutionising the red carpet. It was used by Louis Vuitton to create the show stopping white gown worn by Lea Seydoux in 2020. This year, Marlee Matlin presented an award wearing a gown designed by Vivienne Westwood, using the TENCEL™ Luxe fabric. It was incorporated with couture archive fabric from the Westwood atelier and cut using a zero waste pattern cutting system. The gown was finished with dreamlike Swarovski crystal adorned sleeves. 

From Moment To Movement

The gown was the talk of the Oscar’s red carpet, demonstrating Red Carpet Green Dresses motto ‘From Moment To Movement’. Through collaboration and innovation, eco friendly and ethical design is making its way into our subconscious, whether we know it or not. “The red carpet gets us excited for good design, it’s a globally recognised thing,” Samata explains. “They are beautiful, imaginary, fantasy dresses. Desirability is something we felt is a strong feeling to attach to sustainability.”

The Future of Sustainability on the red carpet Marlee Matlin wears Vivienne Westwood gown made using TENCEL Luxe and Swarovski crystals

Image: Marlee Matlin / RCGD

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