The Sustainable Statement Hollywood Is Making On The Oscars Red Carpet

Photo: @redcarpetgreendress

The red carpet will be tinted green this Sunday for the 90th Academy Awards. This marks the ninth year that environmental activist Suzy Amis Cameron will bring Hollywood's attention to sustainable fashion with her Red Carpet Green Dress initiative.

The global design competition to create eco-friendly Oscars dresses and tuxes was born in 2009, when Amis Cameron was attending the awards with her filmmaker husband, James Cameron.

"When they stuck the microphone in my face, I wanted to have a story around my dress," Amis Cameron explains on a call to mbg. She didn't anticipate that tracking down a sustainable ensemble would be easier said than done. "I assumed it would be so easy to find some sort of sustainable materials, but my designer called me in a panic saying that she couldn't track any down."

The fashion industry is a notorious polluter that cycles through massive amounts of chemicals, water, and other natural resources and has long been known to exploit workers to drive a profit. After spending nearly a decade promoting less damaging ways of getting dressed, Amis Cameron has recruited other celebrities the likes of Emma Roberts, Gina Rodriguez, and Sophie Turner to model vintage or sustainably and ethically sourced gowns at the biggest night in Hollywood.

In recent years, more formal wear has emerged to fit the bill. According to Samata Pattinson, the global campaign director for Red Carpet Green Dress and the award-winning designer behind Fashion Designer's Resource Book: Fashioning Your Life, brands are slowly starting to respond to increased consumer demand for dressy clothes that tell a good story. "People are starting to ask questions like 'Who is making the clothes I'm wearing? How were they made? Why are they so cheap?' Sustainable fashion is blowing up right now, and that's really exciting because it means it's becoming accessible to more people."

Amis Cameron believes that the demand mimics a larger societal shift. "More and more people are now aware of their carbon footprint, and they want to take care of the health of their bodies and the environment. It's awareness on so many levels. It's not only what you're wearing; it's what you're driving, what you're eating, and how that's affecting the planet," she says.

Keep an eye on the red carpet this year to see which celebs call attention to the planet, and check out some of Pattinson's pro tips for finding fashionable, sustainable formal wear of your own here:

1. Expand your definition of "sustainable."

Pattinson recommends giving clothes a second life by shopping at vintage stores, thrift markets, and charity markets. She says that there's something a little magic about buying pre-loved apparel, plus it means that it's unlikely someone will show up in the same dress as you.

2. Check out online aggregators.

"It's so much easier to find sustainable fashion than people realize," she says, recommending Gather & Seed and Rokit as online resources that sell upcycled, recycled, organic, and vintage pieces from popular designers and let you filter by style, occasion, designer, and price point.

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3. See if brands you already love have sustainable lines.

Pattinson notes that sustainable fashion used to scream priciness and exclusivity, but these days many affordable brands are taking steps in a greener direction. "When I was in my 20s, I couldn't afford expensive sustainable clothes. When it comes to accessibility, you've got to meet people where they are." She points to the Asos Marketplace, a collection of independent brands working on smaller collections within Asos, as a great example. Reformation and Urban Renewal also have sustainable collections of their own.

Check out the sustainable fabrics that are the future of fashion here.

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