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The Red Carpet: Changing for Better or Worse?

The shared fantasy

When we were younger, we always dreamed of walking down The Red Carpet. Whether if it was for the premiere of your brand-new film or whether you were attending the hottest celebrity event in town, we all wanted to be there. But why is it so iconic? Why did we all share the same dream at one point in our lives? It’s simple!

Having an idol, or more than one idol is common in everybody’s upbringing. For some, it may be their favourite footballer. For others it may their favourite singer, but what do these have in common? Fame and making a statement in their job. Where better to make a statement for the world to see than the red carpet?

Nearly every person in the world has heard of the red carpet, but only a hand-full of people can say they have walked down it. What makes it so iconic is that only the ‘finest of the fine’ walk down the it. The Influencers, the global-icons, and superstars! The red carpet is their stage for the world to gaze upon. A-List celebrities with their feet placed firmly on that space, their space.

With media advancing, whether that is television, magazines, or social media, the red carpet is a bigger spectacle than ever. However, this raises the question, is this good or bad thing?

Then to now

Aeschylus, an ancient Greek author, is said to be the founder of the red carpet in his play Agamemnon. The wife of the title character offers him a red path to walk on. Agamemnon turns down this temptation by stating that only gods can walk on the red path. But what does this mean? How does that link to the red carpet of today?

Going off this play from 458 B.C., the red carpet is not what it once was. It seems as though, as time passes, more and more people are given access, taking some of that special feeling of what the red carpet once was, away.

In 1821, President James Monroe would receive the red carpet when returning back to the United States. Now, almost every single celebrity, or even just award shows in general use the red carpet to welcome all guests. This increases the number of people who walk upon the red carpet, decreasing the statement it was originally supposed to mean.

Very recently, we have seen adaptations of the red carpet. An orange carpet used for the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, a blue carpet for the MTV Music Video Awards, and even a yellow carpet for the premiere of the film Pokemon Detective Pikachu. People using the red carpet and making it something it is not and never was.

But, is there an advantage to more people walking down the red carpet? Is there an advantage to the red carpet being used in ways it never was originally?

Media and the 21st century

The advancement of media in the 21st century is just astonishing. It is estimated that 4.7 billion people have access to the internet and over 3.9 billion having access to social media. With this ever-increasing number of people joining social media and expressing their voice, it allows them to be heard. A voice that some people never had. It is becoming more common nowadays that celebrities are using their time on the red carpet for good.

The 1st January 2021 was the 3rd anniversary of the Time’s Up movement. This campaign calls attention to sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as demanding gender equality. This movement has been the inspiration for many fashion statements such as the 2018 Golden Globe unofficial all-black dress code. But it has not just here where fashion has been used to make a political or social statement.


The 2019 Emmys saw Laverne Cox show her support for the LGBTQ+ community by holding a rainbow-coloured clutch. The bag bore the date of Donald Trump’s efforts to legalize the ability for employers to fire workers based on their gender presentation or identity.

Singer, Lizzo, wore a dress designed by Christian Siriano that had the word ‘Vote’ printed several times at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards. The dress was worn to symbolise the need for voices to be heard in the US Presidential Election.

Although some of the outfits worn on the red carpet are seen as an inspiration for some, there have been outfits that have caused controversy. Joy Villa, caused a stir at the 61st annual Grammy Awards in 2019 by wearing a dress, Designed by Desi Designs Couture, in support of Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall on the US-Mexico border.

The dress was a spin-off of Pink Floyd’s 1979 album ‘The Wall’ as it included the word ‘Build’ above the album title. Along with the dress, the singer carried a red clutch which read “Make America Great Again” inspired by the famous slogan of Donald Trump.

What now?

Where does the red carpet go from here? Will things change or will they stay the same?

The answer is that we don’t really know. What we do know for now is that the red carpet has moved away slightly from what it was. It is no longer a stage for A-List celebrities and people of Government as more and more people are walking down that extravagant path. But that isn’t all bad.

With more people walking down that path, more statements are made. As social media advances, more people, who never thought they had a voice, are given one in front of the whole world. So although some of the people who walk the red carpet are not as influential as others when they step on to it, they have the ability to be just as important to millions worldwide by the time they step off it.


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