The Green Carpet Fashion Awards and their sustainable mantra

Move over red carpet events, it’s green’s time to shine! The Green Carpet Fashion Awards have taken the world by storm for the third year running. We’re all well aware of what a red carpet event entails and now green is the colour we should all be paying more attention to.

Last Sunday saw the third instalment of the Fashion Awards take place at Milan Fashion Week with designers from across the globe celebrating sustainability in fashion. The aim of the green carpet movement is to convert fashion sceptics into supporting the collaboration of fashion with ethical origins and sustainable manufacturing. Coincidentally, the Green Carpet Awards took place in the same week that global climate strikes were occurring internationally, thus reinforcing the message about the importance of fighting to protect our planet and how we can commit to ethical fashion practices in the future.

The awards began as a movement, or as Livia Firth (the founder) refers to it ‘The Green Carpet Challenge’. In 2010, Firth walked a number of red carpet events, including the Golden Globes alongside her husband, Colin Firth. She reflects on this as being the “perfect opportunity” to campaign about environmental and social justice issues through her choice of designer gowns. Using her status and platform intelligently and through the use of celebrity support, she has been able to emphasise the growing need to protect the planet, doing so by not investing in fast- fashion but by repurposing old clothes and encouraging her husband to wear vintage Tom Ford tuxedos.

As her movement began to grow, style and sustainability collided. The likes of Gucci, Valentino and Stella McCartney (to name a few) dressed the attendees of the Fashion Awards using organic certified silks, reclaimed components of old collections and recycled plastic bottles. “It is important to understand that sustainability is a deeper matter…a sustainable culture has to stem from the people” Donatella Versace told Vogue.

Livia Firth’s intention with the GCA was to emphasise the need to avoid fast-fashion manufacturing. This is something that the company she founded, Eco- Age, is centred around. Eco-Age collaborates with the Green Carpet Fashion Awards as well as consulting with other businesses, giving them tips on how to add value and achieve growth through sustainability. Brands they have worked with include: Stella McCartney, Gucci and M&S. A message that Livia Firth portrays with the Green Carpet Fashion Awards is that celebrating the luxury of high-fashion whilst “reflecting the commitment of fashion houses to sustainability, as they work to embrace rapid change while preserving the heritage and authenticity of small-scale producers” is still achievable.

All of this was accentuated by the designs produced to be worn on the Green Carpet. Livia Firth has frequently talked about the importance of creating a circular system in fashion by developing business strategies that encourage principles such as repairing and recycling solutions that minimise waste. Max Mara created a dress for Doutzen Kroes which was “made from recovered camel hair fabric offcuts from Max Mara’s manufacturing processes, which are mechanically processed without chemicals and blended with recycled plastic bottles”. Pixie Geldof wore a Miu Miu minidress made from organic cotton; “organic farming methods help to maintain the local water, air and soil integrity, and ensure that local residents can live in an uncontaminated environment.”

As a student, it’s easier said than done to try and buy clothes that are made sustainably as this normally goes hand in hand with an unaffordable price-tag. However, it doesn’t always have to. Swedish brand Weekday released a collection solely made with 100% recycled materials in collaboration with Recover, an upcycling company. Mango and H&M alike have committed to moving towards eco- friendly fashion by aiming to use sustainably sourced cotton and recycled fabrics by 2022.

An important move in sustainable consumerism is to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’. Edinburgh is a hotspot for vintage clothing sales and charity shops so there’s no excuse not to give an old item of clothing another lease of life, helping Livia Firth’s Green Carpet Challenge in creating a circular system and a more environmentally aware fashion industry.

Image Credit: Vimeo

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