Why Oscar red carpet fashion might be more sustainable this year

  • The 95th annual Academy Awards are being held in Los Angeles, California on Sunday.
  • All attendees received guides to dress sustainably from environmental group RCGD Global.
  • Samata Pattinson, the group’s author and CEO, told Insider what she thinks the stars will be wearing.

At the Oscars this year, expect red carpet fashion to be green — not in terms of color.

Ahead of the 95th Academy Awards – which will take place at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, California on Sunday – environmental group RCGD Global has distributed a written guide to all attendees to dress ethically and sustainably at the event.

The guide, which serves as a non-required dress code, was customized for the Oscars by the organization’s CEO, Samata Pattinson, who previously penned a 23-page version.

Insider spoke with Pattinson about the guide’s implementation at the Oscars, what we can expect the stars to wear this year, and the impact of red carpet fashion.

The Oscars are THE sustainable fashion venue

When actress Suzy Amis Cameron launched RCGD Global – formerly called Red Carpet Green Dress – as a design competition in 2010, she had two goals: to create opportunities for emerging fashion designers and to start a conversation about sustainability on the red carpets.

So when Pattinson won the contest, she and Cameron decided to do it.

“We went to introduce the Academy saying, ‘Look, this is a conversation you should be in. It’s a great opportunity to show that there is a more meaningful way to present sustainable fashion. We bring the elements together. need you to give us a platform and endorse it. And they did,” she said.

Since that meeting, according to Pattinson, RCGD Global has “never ceded that space.”

In years past, they’ve worked with stars like Tati Gabrielle, Marlee Matlin and Sophie Turner to show sustainable and ethical clothing on the red carpet.

In 2016, Turner – in partnership with RCGD Global – wore an ethically made Galvan for Opening Ceremony dress.

Sophie Turner wears an ethical dress at the 2016 Oscars.

Sophie Turner wears an ethical dress at the 2016 Oscars.

Todd Williamson/Getty Images

Then in 2022, Billie Eilish supported the organization by choosing a vintage Gucci dress and a deconstructed tiara worn as jewelry for the event.

His mother, Maggie Baird, was also an RCGD Global Ambassador that year.

Billie Eilish at the 2022 Oscars.

Billie Eilish at the 2022 Oscars.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

This year, RCGD Global has taken its initiatives and guide to another level by creating a bespoke version for Oscar attendees.

The guide, which can be viewed online, recommends attendees consider wearing vintage clothing or clothing made from natural textiles, among other ideas.

And as Pattinson noted, the sustainable dress code is a suggestion — not a requirement.

But with so many ways to be sustainable, Pattinson thinks “over 70%” of attendees will participate in some way, “whether they identify with sustainability or not.”

“They’re going to rent, they’re going to adapt existing pieces that they wear,” she said. “Some will DIY or borrow looks from the archives.”

joaquin phoenix oscars 2020

Joaquin Phoenix at the 2020 Oscars wearing a suit he’s worn five times that year.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Even the “most cynical” attendee can be reached by RCGD Global’s initiative, Pattinson said.

“We say, OK, here are a few ways to get involved. Do you consider yourself a technical person? You can find out about certifications and technology that traces the origin of your garments,” she said. “Do you consider yourself to be someone passionate about biodiversity? You can look for natural or organic textiles.”

“We just tried to give them so many options that there was no way out,” she added.

2023 Red Carpet Predictions: Vintage Dresses and One-of-a-Kind Textiles

So what will your favorite celebs actually wear on Sunday? Pattinson envisions three main themes: upcycled outfits, natural textiles and vegan materials.

“Repurposed fashion is important because it’s a very obvious thing,” she said. “Visually you can see what they were wearing before, but they did it differently this time.”

“The other big issue for me is probably textiles – there are lots of new ways to show color,” Pattinson continued. “Textiles can be innovative, and some of them really exist, you know? There are seaweed-based products, bio-based options, and pieces made from reclaimed ocean plastic. There’s a plethora of them. “

But most importantly, according to Pattinson, it’s what happens on the Oscars red carpet that matters most.

“All of these things are awesome: the textiles, the dyes, the vintage clothes,” she said. “But if we still don’t go back to ‘everyone has to do less’ then that’s worrying.”

“Fashion is a commercial industry. It has to sell, it has to trade, it has to buy,” she continued. “But I think what we have the ability to do is dictate the terms on which we will buy and the terms on which we will be sold.”

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