Green Carpet Fashion Awards celebrate eco-chic style

The who's who of the fashion world gathered to celebrate sustainable solutions and progress in the industry

28 September 2017 - 09:38 By Jackie May
Fashion eco-warriors Andrew Garfield, Anna Wintour and Colin Firth.
Fashion eco-warriors Andrew Garfield, Anna Wintour and Colin Firth.
Image: Supplied

It's good news when both political leaders and Gucci set trends that effect positive change. Last week an image of Helen Zille in oversized dark sunglasses made more than a fashion statement. While she could have been channeling US Vogue editor Anna Wintour, she was actually trying to distract attention from her oily hair.

Unless you're living on a different part of the continent, you know Cape Town is experiencing a severe drought with record low winter rainfall. Residents are being urged to limit consumption to 87 litres a day. (It takes 2,700 litres of water to produce one T-shirt.)

As premier of the Western Cape, Zille told The Times: "I only shower briefly, once every three days. I used to wash my hair every day, now I only wash it when I shower, with visible negative consequences. However, I regard oily hair in a drought to be as much of a status symbol as a dusty car."

Hopefully she's pairing an old T-shirt with that oily hair.

Zille makes a good point about status symbols and their relationship to fashion. Fashion sometimes tries to make powerful, symbolic statements about gender, politics, racism and green issues.

Yet fashion is a complicated and dirty business. It's one of the biggest polluters. It takes large supplies of water to produce cotton, and toxic chemicals are used to treat and dye textiles. That's before even mentioning the resources used to ship, distribute and sell clothes.

But Zille wasn't the only one making an eco-conscious style statement in the past week. Livia Firth (married to actor Colin), who founded Eco-Age, a sustainability consultancy company in England, launched the Green Carpet Fashion Awards Italia, the first sustainable awards of their kind, on Sunday.

The who's who of the fashion world, including Wintour, Gucci's Alessandro Michele and model Gisele Bündchen, gathered in Milan to acknowledge and celebrate solutions and progress in fashion.

Gisele Bündchen received a Green Carpet Fashion Eco Laureate Award for using her status to promote environmental causes and solutions.
Gisele Bündchen received a Green Carpet Fashion Eco Laureate Award for using her status to promote environmental causes and solutions.
Image: Supplied

"That I can have so many people here is a triumph," Firth told the New York Times. "We're still at the beginning of the sustainable fashion movement. There's a long way to go. But to have so many of the industry great and good here, standing together, with a shared intent to improve the way the fashion business works, is a very good start."

There were countless stories to offer hope. Winners Orange Fiber and Newlife are two brands transforming waste product into fabrication that designers and consumers are keen to experience, according to Eco-Age.

Brunello Cucinelli, CEO of the eponymous label, was recognised for building his production in the town of Solomeo.

"Today the town is as famous for being a standard-bearer for authentic, equitable and decent livelihoods, as it is for Cucinelli's enduringly sophisticated design," it was announced.

Bündchen, wearing a Stella McCartney gown made from sustainably sourced viscose, received the Green Carpet Fashion Eco Laureate Award for using her status to promote environmental causes and solutions while Gucci, along with Prada, Giorgio Armani and Maison Valentina, won an award for their leadership in instigating responsible and sustainable fashion goals in Italy.

Bündchen said: "I really feel like this is the beginning of a whole new era. It's up to us to use events like this as a way of encouraging producers and consumers to ask important questions."


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