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How the Red Carpet is a Platform for Change

The red carpet has been known over the years to be the epitome of glitz and glamour, especially in Hollywood. From Rihanna wowing us at the Met Gala every year, to that meat dress worn by Lady Gaga, the red carpet is where statements are made.

Besides stunning people with the latest haute couture from well-established designers, what other statements can be made on the red carpet?

Well, celebrities can (and have) used this platform to raise awareness. Therefore, with the increasing accessibility to red carpets via social media, there has never been a better time to increase this.

The red carpet has acted as a platform for change for various movements. We will be looking closely at environmental movements to do with sustainability, as well as looking at the #AskHerMore campaign.

Red carpet green dress (RCGD)

Firstly, our red carpets are finally starting to turn green. Not the carpet itself, but the outfits worn by those standing on it. And if you saw our last campaign on Fashion + The Circular Economy, you will remember that brands are spear-heading this movement to a more sustainable environment (and that it is okay to wear something more than once).

Founder and environmental leader, Suzy Amis Cameron, launched RCGD back in 2009. Over the years, the company have worked alongside designers such as Elie Saab and Louis Vuitton. Besides this, they are also in partnership with The Oscars.

“RCGD was conceived in response to the growing need for a new, better, normal.” RCGD Design Criteria, Why is sustainable fashion even needed?

Most recently, RCGD have teamed up with TENCEL™ as part of the RCGD X TENCEL™ Luxe collaboration.

Two gowns in particular were produced. One of which was worn by James Bond actor Léa Seydoux at the 2020 Oscars. Her look was purely organic (even her sandals were). The dress was made from wood based TENCEL™ Luxe filament yarn.

Léa Seydoux in Louis Vuitton at the 2020 Oscars. Image courtesy of Getty Images

Whilst Kaitlyn Denver (known for Booksmart and Unbelievable) wore a RCGD certified silk satin dress. And what best to go with such an eco-friendly dress? Her shoes, of course! Denver’s platform shoes – which were custom – were made by a certified climate-neutral brand, Aldo. You could not get better than that.

Kaitlyn Denver. Image courtesy of Getty Images

Moreover, stars have used their own initiative and environmentally friendly mindset to collaborate with designers. Here are three looks from over the years that have used the red carpet to display an eco-friendly outlook.

Emma Watson

Emma Watson, notably known for playing Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series, is an activist outside of her acting career. At the 2016 Met Gala, under the theme “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology”, Watson wore a 100% recycled plastic dress from Calvin Klein. Even her zips were made of recycled metals!

Emma Watson at the 2016 Met Gala. Image courtesy of Getty Images

The star has been known to be as sustainable as possible. Especially with her wardrobe. Below, Watson discusses with a CNN (Cable News Network) reporter why she made the decision to only wear sustainable gowns to red carpet events.

Saoirse Ronan

Little Women star Saoirse Ronan was one of few to follow the BAFTAs eco-friendly dress code during the 2020 awards season. Not only did Ronan wear a custom Gucci gown at the BAFTAs (made of re-used satin), the team at Gucci re-used some of her original gown to create her Oscars dress.

Saoirse Ronan @ 2020 BAFTAs. Image courtesy of Getty Images

Saoirse Ronan @ 2020 Oscars. Image courtesy of Getty Images

Joaquin Phoenix

Lastly, star of Joker, Joaquin Phoenix, proved that you can wear an outfit more than once.

Throughout the 2020 awards season, Phoenix donned a Stella McCartney suit with style. Why get a new suit for every event, when you could just re-wear what you’ve already got?

Image courtesy of Steve Granitz

#AskHerMore & the Me Too movement

Many of you will remember that at the beginning of 2018, the faces of Hollywood stood together as one at the Golden Globes. This was part of the #AskHerMore campaign. Collectively, stars of the red carpet chose to wear black at the 75th Golden Globes.

Over the years, the likes of Reese Witherspoon and Shonda Rhimes have been some of the leading faces of the campaign in Hollywood.

The campaign was launched in 2014, because well, women on the red carpet were being disregarded. Disregarded not in what they were wearing, but in their work. For instance, in a typical interview, a woman would be asked “Who are you wearing?” and NEVER anything to do with their work … the entire reason they attend these award shows.

In fact, this happens both on and off the red carpet, as stars such as Scarlett Johansson (known for her work in Marvel) is often asked “Can you wear underwear under the Black Widow costume?” Ridiculous, isn’t it?

Watch below how Cosmopolitan flipped the typical sexist comments to Johansson’s male colleague Mark Ruffalo.

The media has continued to sexualise women at any chance they can get. And enough is enough.

Alongside the #AskHerMore campaign, the me too. Movement was “thrust into the mainstream consciousness, when millions of survivors came forward in less that 24 hours.” This was when the first of many allegations of sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein began to be made.

“me too. isn’t a trend; it’s a movement to address sexual violence as a public health crisis, a human rights issue, and a pervasive form of systemic violence” me too. Movement media page

Actors like Susan Sarandon and Emma Watson stood beside activists and campaigners on the red carpet. Including, Michelle Williams, who stood alongside founder of the me too. Movement, Tarana Burke.

We have compiled a brief list of just some of the looks that helped to make a difference at the 2018 Golden Globes.

Tarana Burke & Michelle Williams

me too. founder Tarana Burke with actor Michelle Williams. Image courtesy of Rex/Shutterstock

Octavia Spencer & Jessica Chastain

Actors Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain. Image courtesy of Rex/Shutterstock

Rosa Clemente & Susan Sarandon

Journalist Rosa Clemente with actor Susan Sarandon. Image courtesy of Rex/Shutterstock


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