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As I’m sure you’ve heard, this Sunday evening the 2015 Oscars will take place. As a number of high profile Hollywood celebrities – for example, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo and Cate Blanchett to name a few – have chosen to champion environmental issues and sustainability as their cause, I thought it would be interesting to look into whether their actions have had any impact on the industry’s biggest awards show of the year.
It appears , sustainability initiatives have been mostly that – quite literally. Suzy Amis Cameron, the wife of Titanic and Avatar director James Cameron, is the founder of Red Carpet Green Dress which each year sets a global challenge for creatives and designers to create a red-carpet worthy dress and tuxedo made out of environmentally and socially responsible fabrics. Amis Cameron holds a star-studded pre-Oscar bash to announce both the winners and the stars who will be wearing the eco-friendly styles to the Sunday event. This year’s stars are Gina Rodriguez (star of Jane the Virgin) and Jake McDorman (who recently co-starred with Bradley Cooper in American Sniper).This is a project that has substance behind the style, with the dual purpose of highlighting the importance of positive fashion and funding the non-profit MUSE school for low-income children.
The Red Carpet Green Dress initiative is similar to an initiative spearheaded by actor Colin Firth’s wife, Livia Firth, who is the owner of a consultancy business called Eco-Age. Eco-Age’s tagline is “Managing ethics and aesthetics” and several years ago the company launched their “Green Carpet Challenge” which, much like the U.S. version, challenged designers to produce ethically and sustainably-sound red carpet attire. It could be easy to dismiss these projects as superficial or at worst, simple vanity projects, but to my mind, that’s missing the point. Presenting green fashion in such a stylish and glamorous way on the world’s stage (2014’s Oscars garnered 43 million viewers in the US alone) helps fight the stereotype that still persists of the tie-dye adorned, scruffy and categorically non-stylish supporter of sustainability.
In the pre-Oscar build-up, you may also have heard about the $168,000 swag bag each of the Oscar nominees will receive. The ‘bag’ contains, among other things, a $1,200 value bicycle. This item particularly resonated with me since for a few years now, there has been a campaign led by www.commutebybike.com to encourage Oscar attendees to arrive at the event by bicycle. While the man behind the campaign, Ted Johnson, admits it’s a long shot, and is clearly heading the campaign with a smile, this is one idea I’d like to see at least a few celebrities embrace. The singer Solange Knowles and her husband eschewed Rolls Royces and limousines and instead rode bicycles to their New Orleans wedding ceremony, epitomizing a perfect balance of “ethics and aesthetics.” So while we enjoy another evening filled with all-out Hollywood glamour this Sunday, here’s hoping that the future will bring even more sustainable and yes, equally stylish events.
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