Fashion Statements: No Silk Worms Were Harmed in the Making of this Gown

It’s no longer up for debate: award shows are as much about fashion ops as they are about recognizing talent. Rather than trying in vain to subvert the trend, a number of celebrities are co-opting the focus on fashion as an opportunity to bring attention to various causes and issues. At the 2010 Oscars, the female stars of Precious all wore blue gowns with white floral accents as a tribute to Hattie McDaniel, the first African American to win an Academy Award. Mad Men star Christina Hendricks invited the public to vote on her 2010 SAG Awards dress, which was later auctioned off to raise money for a children’s charity. The causes tend to run the gamut (last year Mickey Rourke wore a tribute to his recently deceased dog around his neck), but this year one activist-fashion trend was particularly evident on the red carpet: environmentally responsible dressing.

Suzy Amis, former model and wife of director James Cameron, held a contest asking designers around the world to come up with an eco-friendly creation for her Oscar gown. The contest also served as a fundraiser to support an environmentally responsible school in Los Angeles. The winning design, by Michigan State University senior Jillian Granz, was an ethereal blue number (a clear nod to the blue characters in Cameron’s Avatar) constructed from Ahimsa. Also called “peace silk”, Ahisma is processed from cocoons without killing or harming the silk worms inside.

Actor Colin Firth’s wife, Livia Giuggioli, utilized the entire red carpet season as an opportunity to advance sustainable fashion. She challenged herself to wear a different environmentally responsible design to every event she attended. Among her “green” ensembles were an upcycled wedding dress and a suit made of bamboo and wool. The grand finale, her Oscar dress by Orsola de Castro, was made entirely of waste material recovered from the trash bins of various prestigious fashion labels. Giuggioli stayed faithful to her cause right down to the accessories: her handbag, by Roger Vivier, was also made of discarded pieces of fabric, and her jewelry was made of “ethical” pink diamonds.

Also deserving of an eco-friendly pat on the back are those actresses who took advantage of the ever-present vintage trend, such as Sandra Bullock, whose Marchesa gown was made of vintage fabric. While vintage has always been attractive because it carries a certain cache in the fashion world, it’s rarely noted that it also provides an opportunity to “re-wear, reuse, and recycle”.

Nomi Network embraces this eco-friendly spirit by using sustainable or recycled materials in every Nomi product.

~By Claire Mazur


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