With stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Livia Firth championing for the environment, a movement unlike any other in red carpet fashion has come to the forefront: The Green Carpet Challenge (GCC). The company behind GCC, Eco-Age, began the movement in 2013 to bring awareness, at major Hollywood events, to sustainable and ethical clothing choices.
To achieve this, Eco-Age operates a little bit differently: instead of finding ethical brands, they counsel brands well-known by celebrities about making sustainable garments for the big award shows. The goal is to help established brands achieve the ultimate longevity, maintaining their legacy by maintaining the resources of this planet. For many stars championing for the environment, this is of the utmost importance.
Brands that have committed to this movement are prominent in the business: Gucci, Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney, Burberry, L’Wren Scott, Giorgio Armani, Victoria Beckham, and Vivienne Westwood, just to name a few.
This is great for two reasons. First of all, the biggest names in the fashion world are starting to champion for our planet in situations where they get the most exposure. This, in turn, translates to everyday people who watch the award shows thinking twice about what they wear and where their clothing comes from. Gone are the days when the sustainable clothing movement is just for that one person who never buys anything unless it’s at a thrift shop or 100% organic, 100% vegan and 100% cruelty-free. Sustainability can be glamorous: just look at Emma Watson at the Met Gala wearing a GCC brand marked Calvin Klein number.
How do these brands do it? Eco-Age lays that out well on their website. The brand must show that they’ve adhered to a group of 10 principal values, which values are at the core of every partnership Eco-Age is involved in. The main four revolve around operating the business legally and communicating openly, the removal of child and underpaid labour, employee rights and contributions to the local economic and social development in places all along the supply chain. The supply chain needs to be traceable, energy use minimized as well as carbon emissions, pollution is to be avoided, water respected and animal welfare promoted if animal products are required. And lastly, conservation of animal species and habitat is a must. The list is long but necessary for our planet and all inhabitants of it.
This past year, Eco-Age teamed up with Martin Nicholls to outfit the entire film of Kingsman: The Secret Service and its various premieres with GCC brand marked suits. The film starred Colin Firth, Livia Firth’s husband and fellow Eco-Age activist. As many know, film costumes are plentiful, and costume designers create many versions of the same costume for various scenes. Keeping costume design sustainable and ethical is a big step towards making sustainability a trend worldwide.
After Kingsmen came the 2016 Academy Awards. Every year, there is a pre-show, which spends 90 minutes devoted to the Red Carpet fashions. This past year, stars like Sophie Turner, Lily Cole, and Liberty Ross took the Green Carpet challenge at the Oscars. Lily Cole’s dress is most noteworthy: she wore a gorgeous Vivienne Westwood gown made from recycled plastic bottles.
One well-known champion for environmental causes who has not yet taken up the Green Carpet challenge is Leonardo DiCaprio. He regularly wears Tom Cridland (who uses organic cotton in his fashion designs) in his everyday wardrobe, and I think it is high time he joined the movement. Despite the fact that the number of casual days outweighs carpet days, his support can only help.
The sustainable clothing world is getting a big boost from Eco-Age, and it can only go up from here. All they need is more stars to spread awareness. More Instagram famous stars such as the Kardashians would be a great help to influencing the millennial shopper. The Eco-Age brand list, which can be found on their website is extensive, and hopefully coming at an affordable price to a department store near you soon. Hopefully, popular brands like Forever 21 and H&M will see the trend and sign on for some brand tailoring.