Bespoke, Couture or Runway
The Green Carpet Challenge (GCC) Style Handbook is the ultimate dressing guide for
contemporary sustainable looks fit for the red carpet (real or virtual)
The Green Carpet Challenge (GCC) started in 2010 and has been credited as having changed the conversation around sustainable fashion for ever.
To date the GCC has involved some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Lupita Nyong’o, Cate Blanchett, Viola Davis, Emma Watson, Thandiwe Newton, Olivia Colman and many more.
Through the years, while millions have been inspired by the GCC, our style handbook and designer protocols have remained under wraps. Those protocols have remained the preserve of a small clutch of designers, stylists and Hollywood red carpet royalty. Today, for the first time, we publish a revised and updated version of the GCC Style Handbook for everyone.
‘I’m so excited to publish the GCC Style Handbook,’ says Livia Firth, founder of the GCC. ‘This revised version distils the learnings, methods and inspiration that we have gathered over the years. The GCC is about ideas, mindset, creativity and ingenuity. Those are our currency which we share with you today and I hope you enjoy it!”
We have tried to make your journey as simple as possible.
We have created four clear categories: Bespoke using our longstanding Eco-Age materials expertise. Artisanal, highlighting slow fashion – the regenerative, the reclaimed, and the recycled. Or champion existing materials and craftsmanship through Vintage and Re-Wear.
Once you have your outfit ready, whether for the red carpet or a special event, send us a picture to get the GCC accreditation of sustainable excellence and use the #greencarpetchallenge hashtag when promoting your look.
Several materials and components are used to create a look for the red carpet. Different styles of products require different ‘ingredients’, each one of them having varying impacts on people and planet. This is why, for a Green Carpet Challenge look, you use lower impact choices. Explore sustainable materials and embellishments that could be used. The following guide offers examples to achieve your sustainable look.
This category is about shining a light on the makers whose work is their passion by choosing artisanal created pieces rather than mass-produced items.
This can help to protect skills and traditions that are in danger of disappearing and buying from small businesses also helps to sustain those manufacturing locally and independently.
Today, pieces are considered ‘vintage’ as close as the 1990s. For us vintage should make you feel a connection, and not just tick a style box (though we accept it can do this too). The actress Chloe Sevigny, an icon of vintage fashion and a thrift-store devotee since childhood has said that for her, ‘vintage fashion wasn’t just about wearing something unique, it was about connecting with like-minded style aficionados’.
To qualify as vintage, a garment needs to fulfil a set of criteria: intrinsic quality (noble materials, impeccable cuts), a prestigious brand (haute couture, quality ready-to-wear), a style characteristic of an era (pop prints from the 1960s, jeans and wide pants from the 1970s.
Re-Wear addresses waste and over production in fashion head on. It is a strategy that we have used from the very start of the GCC. While the stigma is slowly evaporating, rewearing was considered a taboo until fairly recently on the red carpet and at other major events. In 2018 we worked with Cate Blanchett’s styling partner, Elizabeth Stewart for Cannes. Elizabeth Stewart told us wisely, ‘I think the stigma around re-wearing a dress is arbitrary and makes no sense. It’s a rule that will fade away like the “no white after Labour Day” rule. We don’t visit the Louvre expecting a new masterpiece each time. True beauty and art endures. I cannot support the waste of perpetuating a “one time only” rule for a beautiful gown and thought The Green Carpet Challenge has been a great forum to demonstrate that.’ Re-wearing a look from a previous event, celebrates timeless heritage fashion, and sends a strong message that garments need to be kept and reused for a lifetime. The exact opposite of today’s throw away fashion.
The latest ICPP report published in March is a really frightening read and, as it says, it “highlights that Human-induced climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption in nature and affecting the lives of billions of people around the world, despite efforts to reduce the risks. People and ecosystems least able to cope are being hardest hit”. Millions of people are displaced every year through climate change effects: “These weather extremes are occurring simultaneously, causing cascading impacts that are increasingly difficult to manage. They have exposed millions of people to acute food and water insecurity, especially in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, on Small Islands and in the Arctic.
Fashion is an all spectrum industry and it touches millions of lives around the world, from farmers to rancheros, from garment workers to legislators. We all get dressed every single day, hence the fashion industry’s impact—both environmental and social—is of huge proportions.
By taking part in the Green Carpet Challenge you are using one of the world’s biggest communication platforms to change the narrative – there is a solution and we can change. Fashion can be a force for good.
Through the years, the GCC has also seen the conversation around sustainable fashion extend beyond the red carpet and into the everyday choices of individuals, as people worldwide become more conscious of what they wear. We publicly challenge celebrities, stylists and every citizen to walk in the footsteps of the Green Carpet Challenge and “make every step count” – whether on the red carpet or in your daily life, here are ten challenges designed to help everybody come together to lower the impact of what they wear:
1. Learn the story behind your look and wear it with pride
While the fast fashion cycle has made us feel ever more detached from our clothes, the first step towards being a more active citizen is revaluing our wardrobes and reconnecting to our clothes by learning about the stories, materials, processes and hands behind them.
2. Buy for life and re-wear forever
When shopping, prioritise pieces that you love and will wear for years to come. Try to avoid impulse buying in favour of carefully thought-out purchases and only buy something you know will go beyond #30wears – and if you do decide it no longer belongs in your wardrobe, it should be something you can gift or sell on.
3. Wear artisanal
Reconnect to the makers who created your clothes and choose artisanally created pieces rather than mass-produced items. This can help to protect skills and traditions that are in danger of disappearing, and buying from small businesses also helps to sustain those manufacturing locally and independently.
4. Discover second hand and vintage
By shopping second hand and vintage you are extending the lifecycle of existing garments, potentially diverting them from landfill, and most importantly properly valuing the resources that went into making them in the first place.
5. Embrace clothes swapping and borrowing
Sharing clothes with friends can reduce buying new, saving you money and giving a new life to otherwise unwanted items. Organise a swap shop with your friends ahead of your next big event and avoid the resource-intensive process of manufacturing a new garment at the same time.
6. Read the labels
Whether you’re shopping new or second hand, your first point of call should be the care label. This should tell you where the item was made, and exactly what it was made from, and of course how to care for it to keep it in great condition. If any information is not provided, contact the brand and ask.
7. Go natural with your fabric
We know that synthetic fabrics are fossil fuel fabrics, so always choose natural fibres over synthetic materials. They will biodegrade over time, and are less likely to release microplastic when washed. Not only this, but natural fibres can play an important role in regenerative farming systems which are integral to protecting our environment.
8. Go upcycled or recycled with your fabric
Reuse materials that are already in existence to avoid the resource-intensive process it takes to grow, extract and manufacture new fibres. Deadstock, recycled or upcycled fabrics give you the joy of wearing something new without the cost to the planet.
9. Find a seamstress or make your own
A more sustainable fashion industry is as much about innovative new technology as it is about slowing down and going back to traditions. Hand-making clothes helps us revalue the items that we are wearing, as we become more familiar with the time and skill taken to create our clothes, and we also end up with a garment that fits our body and personality perfectly.
10. Treasure the memory of each wear
Last but not least, building up our personal history of the items in our wardrobes is key to changing the mindset of overconsumption. Once you have special memories associated with items of clothing, they take on a much more personal significance and become infinitely more valuable.
“On that first GCC outing to the Golden Globes in 2010 we were really sending a lot of messages. We were saying to that first crop of designers and makers who were activists and sustainable designers that they also deserved a spot on this platform. The whole point of the Green Carpet Challenge initially was to work with them for a change. They are empowered people and had really influenced me and I found that when I wore clothes that had been made by these designers, a bit of that spirit rubbed off on me.
I wanted it to be the start of something.”