For over 5 years, Livia Firth, founder of EcoAge, has been promoting the Green Carpet Challenge both in Hollywood and around the world. This challenge encourages brands and celebrities alike to bring sustainability to the red carpet in innovative ways. Brands and designers such as Chopard, Armani, Gucci, Marks & Spencer, Net-a-Porter, Prada, Sergio Rossi, Stella McCartney, Tom Ford, Valentino, and many more have collaborated with the Green Carpet Challenge to create collections that emphasize ethics and sustainability just as much as they do style. In response, many celebrities including Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, Emma Watson, and Michael Fassbender have taken part by wearing sustainable fashion on the red carpet at various award shows and galas.
I think the Green Carpet Challenge is a wonderful idea. Wealthy celebrities can no doubt afford buying designer-made gowns and dazzling, ethically-sourced jewelry, and their outfit will be talked about for weeks following the event, inspiring their fans to think a little more about sustainability in fashion. But let’s be honest – when most of us are attending a special event, we’re not going to be shopping in the same place as these celebrities. Luckily, there are numerous other ways to take part in the Green Carpet Challenge at your next big event, without emptying your whole wallet.
1. Re-wear dresses.
Celebrity inspiration: Kate Middleton.
If the Duchess of Cambridge can re-wear dresses and repeat outfits, you can too. By styling with different shoes, hats, jackets, jewelry and other accessories, the outfit becomes new again. Click here and here to see some examples and gain inspiration for your own outfit repeating.
If you’re still not convinced to re-wear your dresses, sell the ones you won’t be wearing again to give them a second life, and read on.
2. Swap or borrow dresses.
Celebrity inspiration: The Kardashians.
If you’re not ready to re-wear your dresses just yet, then this is definitely something you should take advantage of. Swap some of your dresses with a friend or family member and get some new-to-you dresses in return! Check out local clothing swaps to see if you can find something there. And if someone’s not too fond of giving you their dress for good, see if you can borrow it for the night.
3. Rent dresses.
Celebrity inspiration: All of them.
Okay, so celebrities don’t really rent dresses to wear, they get paid to wear them for the night and then return them to the designer (I actually didn’t know this until I started writing this post, but they do!) But we can still take a hint and rent a dress from websites like Rent the Runway or Girl Meets Dress, which often is cheaper than buying a dress and allows you to pick from a plethora of trendy designer dresses.
4. Find sustainable and ethically made dresses.
Celebrity inspiration: Amber Valletta, Margot Robbie, Lily Cole, Sophie Turner, Michael Fassbender, Julianne Moore, Lupita Nyong’o, Emma Watson…the list goes on!
This might be one of the pricier options on this list, depending on where you plan to shop. But if you’re going to be buying a dress, at least buy an ethically-made one, or one that is made with sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton, linen or Peace Silk. Another shopping tip: buy a dress that you can re-wear easily by switching up the accessories you pair it with.
5. Break the outfit down into components.
Celebrity inspiration: Emma Watson.
Perhaps not the most simple and easiest way to have a sustainable red-carpet-worthy outfit, but for the creative fashionista or budding fashion designer, this is an exciting challenge to take on! Find a skirt and top combo that you can mix up with other pieces to create multiple looks.