Red Carpet Green Dress drives fashion industry toward C2C design.

By Lewis Perkins

There is no doubt of the media and entertainment industry’s impact on fashion.  The designs worn onscreen and in real life by leading personalities can inspire the choices of millions.  One of the best examples in recent pop culture is in the film The Devil Wears Prada.  Meryl Streep’s character, Miranda Priestly, reminded us of the impact of leaders in the fashion industry, stating that the exact color of our lumpy blue sweaters is directly influenced by the pantone choices of the couture fashion houses in previous seasons.

With design, it is often the most aspirational creativity that drives the look of our cellphones or the color of our socks.  Today, consumers are increasingly aware of the “story” of their fashion - wearing clothing that reflects a personal belief or philosophy about where fabrics come from and how people and the planet are affected along the supply chain.

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute believes that consumers have a choice in the health, safety and social responsibility of the clothing they wear.  The problem today is that very few affordable choices exist in “eco-fashion” and consumers are not well informed about what exactly “eco-fashion” means.   In fact, many consumers may avoid engaging in sustainable fashion purchasing decisions because the landscape has been too complicated for self-education.

As the Institute moves forward with implementation of the new public version of the Cradle to Cradle certification standard, our mission is to build capacity for certifying products and to drive the demand.  This will happen when leading designers demand it, large retailers make a commitment to continuous improvement of their products, AND when consumers ask for those kinds of products. 

One way in which the Institute plans to change the fashion industry is by partnering with Suzy Amis Cameron and the Red Carpet Green Dress design contest, which places a “sustainable gown” on an actress who walks the red carpet for the 85th Annual Academy Awards on February 24, 2013.

Last year, actress Missi Pyle, whose film The Artist won the Oscar for Best Picture, wore the winning design.  The dress was made with many materials that reflect a lower impact on our planet and human health.  This year, our goal is to have the winning design be a Cradle to Cradle Certified dress.  It isn’t enough to say that a product is sustainable.   We need to specify what we mean by “sustainable.”  Cradle to Cradle product certification achieves this goal by providing a continuous improvement, multi-attribute standard.   Now consumers will have a more transparent view into the material health, material reutilization, energy consumption, water stewardship, and social fairness imbedded in the product’s manufacturing process.

Our team is actively seeking sustainable textile companies who develop materials that embrace Cradle to Cradle design principles (learn more here) and also are beautiful and appropriate for a red carpet gown.  The end result will be newly certified materials for use in apparel design and an increase in demand for more certified materials.

2013 entries are due November 5, 2012.

Get full contest details at

Stay tuned over the coming months as our teams share more information about the companies coming onboard with preferred materials to contribute to our finished Cradle to Cradle Certified dress.  And if you or your company is interested in certification, textiles or other information, please contact me at

Missi Pyle photo courtesy of AMPAS.

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