“It’s very difficult as a stylist to be fully sustainable,” says London-based Karen Clarkson, whose clients include Lashana Lynch, Samantha Morton and Joey Richardson. “You can’t save the world by styling fashion. It’s about trying to incorporate little things that we can do into our work.
For the premiere of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Behind the scenes, Clarkson recycles, uses reusable garment bags, reuses basic clothing when possible, and avoids disposable supplies like sticky lint rollers. Clarkson is also tapping into her own boutique and vintage archive, Found and Vision, as well as B-corp certified luxury resale site Vestiaire Collective – which, as of November 25, became the first global designer marketplace to ban the fast mode.
For more than a decade, Livia Firth’s Green Carpet Fashion Challenge and Suzy Amis’ Red Carpet Green Dress – now RCGD Global – have challenged stylists and Hollywood stars to incorporate eco-friendly efforts. environment and slow fashion in their headline-grabbing releases. Firth attended the 2010 Golden Globes in an upcycled Christiana Couture wedding dress – “Back then, everyone’s perception was that sustainable fashion equaled hemp, basically,” she recalls – and since then, stars have followed suit, from Viola Davis at the 2012 BAFTA in a Giorgio Armani dress made from recycled soda cans to Olivia Colman in 2019 accepting her BFI scholarship in a custom dress by sustainable designer Deborah Milner.
Along with the fashion industry, Hollywood has significantly stepped up its sustainability efforts this year. At the Met Gala in May, Louis Vuitton treated 14 ambassadors and friends of the house, including Gemma Chan and Cynthia Erivo, to stunning pre-worn looks from recent and archive collections. The momentum continued at the Oscars, with Kirsten Dunst, dressed by Nina & Clare, wearing a Christian Lacroix Haute Couture Fall 2002 ruffled dress from vintage boutique Lily et Cie in Beverly Hills. As part of RCGD Global’s ongoing collaboration with Tencel, Tati Gabrielle shone in a custom Hellessy blouse, ethically made from eco-friendly lyocell fibers. Billie Eilish wore an upcycled Gucci dress to the Met Gala and incorporated sustainability awareness into her summer tour. More recently, Cate Blanchett, who is dressed by Elizabeth Stewart, has re-worn her own looks on her Tar promotional rounds.
“As community leaders, we have a responsibility to work with celebrities and influencers to create a ripple effect,” says Kristen Stewart’s longtime stylist Tara Swennen, who often dresses the actress and Chanel ambassador in the house’s archives. “People look to us and these moments for inspiration and innovation.” Swennen regularly incorporates vintage and cruelty-free fashion into her clients’ looks, and offsets her business travel by donating to the 8 Billion Trees carbon offset group. Swennen also sits on the advisory board of the New Standard Institute, which introduced the Fashion Sustainability and Accountability Act, the first legislation setting standards for major brands in the industry.
As part of a mission to overturn the woman-shaming “Who wore it best” mentality, Swennen is encouraging clients to re-wear pieces previously photographed on other celebrities. “I hate the idea that once something is worn on the red carpet, the sample is basically locked and editorially loaded for the rest of its life — and it can’t be redone,” says Swennen. . Last year, she styled Andrea Savage in a silver-embellished Dolce & Gabbana LBD, which model Miranda Kerr wore a month earlier. American weekly In fact, the two clashed in her popular feature, which Savage bravely posted to her Instagram.
Swennen hopes Hollywood can make a dent in the rise of fast fashion’s damaging consumerism. Each year, the United States alone throws away up to 11.3 million tons of textile waste, or about 2,150 garments per second. “We need to change the way we shop,” says Swennen. “We need to change the way we take care of our clothes.”
Likewise, vintage moments on the red carpet can be a way to encourage people to wear second-hand clothes. “[It’s about] wearing something that was loved all those years ago and giving it new life,” says stylist Laura Sophie Cox, who recently styled I have never‘s Richa Moorjani in an acid yellow Prada dress from 2002 and dressed the bearof Ayo Edebiri in a fall 2003 Alexander McQueen “power suit”, both from Tab Vintage.
Stylists also say seamlessly produced stitching can be another eco-friendly option. Colman stylist Mary Fellowes – who is the creative director and founder of sustainable fashion consultancy GreenWith Studio – often collaborates with in-house design teams or provides advice on incorporating “cleaner” materials and techniques. for custom looks. During Elizabeth McGovern Downton Abbey: A New Era rounds, Fellowes also sourced from Varana. The international luxury brand uses 100% biodegradable and natural materials, sources from artisans and uses ethical small-batch production at its workshop in Bangalore, India. “You can’t separate sustainability from diversity, inclusion and equality,” Fellowes says.
Firth adds that stars who have worked with the Green Carpet Challenge and worn sustainable looks to events “say it has completely changed their red carpet experience. Suddenly they were walking with purpose and they were telling a story beyond their own. RCGD Global CEO Samata Pattinson agrees, noting that “Who are you wearing?” interviews can be a way to uplift sustainable designers, especially from underrepresented communities and the global majority. “There’s an opportunity to say, ‘I wear this brand because their values align with mine,'” she says. This is a conversation. It’s livelihood. It’s fairness.
Pattinson also encourages stars who are embracing vintage to use the moment as an opportunity to talk about the pre-fast fashion “history” of clothing design, when craftsmanship was valued and clothes were made from non-toxic dyes and natural materials.
She further suggests that sustainability conversations around pre-wear shine a light on how people are being affected in the communities most vulnerable to the climate catastrophe fueled by the fashion industry. Pattinson points to how discarded American clothing, under the guise of donations, is flooding markets and landfills in countries like Ghana and Chile. “This practice suppresses local design industries,” she says. “Because they have this burden, they are not able to showcase and elevate their own designers. Theirs sewing designers.
Of course, no one – from client A to stylist with a strong social following – wants to “green” and tout performative, misguided, or simply incorrect practices. Ongoing due diligence research is therefore essential; Clarkson and Cox recommend the Good on You app, which distributes notes on sustainable fashion. But ahead of awards season, more resources are readily available to broaden the industry discussion. With the endorsement of its longtime partner, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, RCGD Global has launched its free online Sustainable Style Guide (www.rcgdglobal.com). And Firth-based sustainability consultancy/design agency Eco-Age – creator of the Green Carpet Challenge – has just launched its own guide, the GCC Style Handbook.
Ultimately, “a red carpet stylist’s goal is to create every look with a story,” says Swennen. “That of craftsmanship. That of sustainability. That of inspiration. The one people can turn to. And encourage a new mindset as we do so.
A version of this story first appeared in the December 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.