Can the Oscars red carpet be sustainable?
When the British Academy of Film and Television Arts announced a sustainable dress code for its equivalent of the Oscars held last week, activists hoped to have an impact similar to that of the The Time’s Up movement presented at the 2018 Golden Globes – when almost all of the participants donned black to draw attention to the harassment and sexual abuse. A week and a half before the event, the BAFTAs sent out a sustainability guide, inviting the stars to re-wear an outfit, put on vintage or at the very least support an eco-responsible designer, like Stella McCartney or Gabriela Hearst.
It didn’t exactly happen.
Of course, a few stars have followed the green mandate. Kate Middleton recycled a cream and gold Alexander McQueen dress which she had originally worn in 2012. Saoirse Ronan, Oscar nominee for Best Actress and BAFTA, ordered a Gucci dress made from discarded pieces of satin. Best Actor and BAFTA nominee Joaquin Phoenix wore the same Stella McCartney tuxedo he had thrifty promised to rock the entire awards season.
But overall, the celebrity response has not been enthusiastic – although the environment is one of the main causes and Hollywood fashion a culprit of climate change.
It certainly didn’t help that wearing the same outfit twice has long been seen as a red carpet faux pas.
“Part of the reason we now have this horrible habit of burning our clothes – the average garment is worn seven times before being thrown away – is because the actresses on the carpet made it not only cool but enviable “, explains Dana Thomas, author of “Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothing.”
“They didn’t do it intentionally, but this habit of celebrating women [for] wearing something once and never being seen in it again has trickled down to internet influencers and micro-influencers – and now my teenage daughter.
Elizabeth Stewart, who stylizes actresses such as Cate Blanchett and Julia Roberts, says she feels guilty about this throwaway attitude towards fashion.
“There are these standards that have been set in my world, like you don’t wear the same thing twice or wear the same thing someone else was wearing,” says Stewart. “And when you stop and think about it, it’s crazy.”
Lately, she’s been encouraging her clients to wear some items they love again. When Blanchett donned black Armani Privé lace at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival that she had worn several years earlier at the Golden Globes, the actress and stylist received a lot of applause.
“It carries over to the general public, in terms of just being aware and aware of the waste,” said Stewart.
In 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency reported that Americans sent 10.5 million tonnes of textiles, most of which were clothing, to landfills. And most of the materials used are not durable: even something as basic as a cotton t-shirt requires around 700 gallons of water to be produced.
“It’s a conundrum,” says Sara Kozlowski, director of education and professional development at the Council of Fashion Designers of America. “Sometimes a material has traveled around the world three times before arriving at the showroom. So there are all of these factors that you need to consider. “
Still, she notes that designers such as McCartney, Hearst and Maria Cornejo have been at the forefront of using biodegradable and biotechnological materials, such as cruelty-free silk and orange peel fibers. .
Livia Firth, a film producer who launched the Green Carpet Challenge 10 years ago – which asked celebrities to wear sustainable designs at high-profile events like the Oscars and the Met Gala – believes the red carpet televised is a great place to showcase these kinds of environmental innovations.
“For actresses, the red carpet is the biggest communication platform [they] have, ”she told the Post.
But waste reduction isn’t just about the fabric, it’s also about the overall preparation of the event itself. Assistants can take dozens of taxis during awards season to pick up and bring back clothing and jewelry to PR agencies and fashion houses. Accessory trunks should be shipped overseas and across the country for timely arrival. And the craftsmen and materials could be shipped from Paris for a dress to be finished in LA.
Even if you rent a dress or wear something made from the cleanest, most recycled materials, the carbon emissions and other environmental responsibilities inherent in getting an outfit for a star “outweigh the awakening of it. ci, ”says Cameron Silver, owner of Los Boutique vintage d’Angeles Décennies.
And stars can’t necessarily wear vintage or repeat outfits to every event.
“There’s a transactional relationship with a lot of these red carpet collaborations, where the actresses have very clear sponsorship deals and ambassadorial positions with design houses,” says Silver, who rarely lends clothes. , forcing celebrities to buy their vintage clothes.
Most designers, however, will loan the dress – and sometimes even pay the customer to wear it.
Although, as Thomas notes, the press seems to love it when Middleton rehearses outfits: why not for a starlet?
“What I would love to see is an actress doing exactly what Joaquin [Phoenix] makes and takes a very, very beautiful dress – borrowed or owned – and presents it at each of these red carpet events, but dressing it differently, ”she says.
Stewart, for her part, would love to take charge of her.
“I think it’s totally doable,” she says. “It would be a really fun challenge as a stylist.”