HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE WORLD’S FIRST DIGITAL GREEN CARPET

By Francine Heath

Yesterday played host to the first ever digital green carpet and a very special edition of #GCFAItalia, leaving the world in no doubt that sustainability is sexy.

The pioneering event highlighted that it’s so much more than that, too. When innovation, inclusivity, collaboration and empowerment are the driving forces, sustainable fashion symbolises hope and change. It presents possibilities for our planet.

Getting things underway on the day, icons from around the globe synced up as virtual attendees to showcase exactly how style and purpose work together. They stepped onto the digital green carpet in treasured, vintage or archival pieces, with some taking on the #GreenCarpetChallenge by working with luxury houses to marry aesthetics with ethics.

Then came the show. 

Milan’s iconic La Scala theatre was transformed into a virtual terrarium as The Green Carpet Fashion Awards celebrated exceptional individuals and companies who represent values that mark the beginning of a new era. Everything appeared directly on our screens through a fusion of cinematic footage, augmented reality and visual FX created using real-time game engines. Leading talent and opinion formers appeared as holograms, courtesy of ARHT Media.

This year, just five awards were up for grabs and each recipient received an iconic Chopard statuette – produced in ethical gold, of course. We’ve pulled together our fashion highlights from the day and detailed exactly what makes each look sustainable. At the end, you’ll discover all five of the evening’s winners.

ZENDAYA
Zendaya – who scooped The GCFA Visionary Award for driving change when it comes to increasing both inclusivity and diversity in fashion – chose a deep brown silk cady evening gown from Versace’s RTW Fall/Winter ‘96 collection. The top is beautifully embroidered with glistening paillettes and beads, while the straps are embellished with the house’s signature Medusa heads.


ANNA EWERS
German model Anna Ewers opted for some archival tailoring from Max Mara’s Fall Winter ‘89 runway show, which happened to be the first time the label explored the tuxedo world that’s now central to its collections. Made using wool and silk, the look is detailed with rows of soft tonal fringe, which soften the otherwise sharp silhouette.


IRIS LAW
“I feel amazing in it,” revealed Iris Law of her dress designed by Margherita Missoni, elaborating that she really relates to the family aspect of the Italian brand. Emblazoned with an illustrative print, her floor-length M Missoni gown is made from recycled polyester – including the thread used to sew it. The skinny straps lacing up the front are upcycled from deadstock, too. We love how the self-confessed lipstick addict completed her look with a signature berry lip that perfectly matched pops of the color in the pattern.


TOMI ADEYEMI
Best-selling author Tomi Adeyemi believes that the world is changing and it’s time for fashion to change with it. Demonstrating that dressing consciously doesn’t have to involve compromises, she wore a blazing orange wrap dress by Valentino. It’s crafted from GOTS-certified silk chiffon organza with components certified to be free from any harmful chemicals by OKEO-TEX® Standard 100. The coordinating gloves and sandals were plucked from Maison Valentino’s archives.


OLIVIA PALERMO
Fully on board with the idea of sharing and rewearing, Olivia Palermo plumped for another unmissable orange gown – this time from the Spring ‘19 TommyXZendaya collection. Open at the back, the hand-beaded design draws inspiration from iconic women of the ‘70s and was originally debuted by Priyanka Chopra Jonas at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2019.


ARIZONA MUSE
“Let’s make sure that the clothes we wear are actually having a positive impact on our beautiful planet earth,” implores model and climate activist, Arizona Muse. Her sustainable (and showstopping) Alberta Ferretti gown is made from swathes of GOTS-certified organic silk, rather than conventional silk that’s polluting the planet through poor agricultural practices. She also styled it with a matching red mask at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year, where the sculptural ruffles photographed so beautifully.


MATILDA DE ANGELIS
Italian actress Matilda De Angelis describes her black Re-Nylon cocktail dress as “a symbol of rebirth and reconstruction.” Designed with a voluminous skirt and embellished with the Prada’s logo badge, it’s made from Aquafil’s ECONYL® regenerated nylon yarn. Turning trash into treasure, the yarn is derived from a variety of plastic waste – including marine plastic debris like ghost fishing nets.


THE WINNERS

As we know, The GCFA Visionary Award went to Zendaya, praising both her perseverance when it comes to personally making a difference in the industry and how she uses her platform to open doors for others. 

Progetto Quid received The CNMI Responsible Disruption Award. Progetto Quid designs, produces and distributes collections made using first quality end-of-line fabric and offers career opportunities to those who would otherwise struggle on the job market. In just over seven years, they now employ 142 people, of which 70% are vulnerable women.

The GCFA Best Independent Designer Award went to Sindiso Khumalo, based on how she addresses the Eco-Age Principles of Sustainable Excellence and the CMNI sustainability principles in different ways through her work.

The GCFA North Star Award, which singles out organisations or individuals that show extraordinary leadership, was given to UN for the UN Global Goals.

Last but not least, The GCFA Art of Craftsmanship Award supported by S.Pellegrino went to Italian Artisans. Recognising the handprint of fashion and those continuously evolving to engage with the pivotal times in which we now find ourselves, this award applauds generations of craft and meticulous care.

Images kindly provided by Eco-Age.


Francine Heath is a contributor to THEFORWARDLAB. London-based product editor and sustainable fashion journalist who advocates conscious consumerism and loves discovering those who are determined to drive change and create a better fashion future. She’s previously written articles for British Vogue, Eco-Age, Refinery 29, Mr Porter and i-D.