2020 Baftas - The Not So Sustainable Red Carpet

Posted by Hayley Barraclough on

This year BAFTA asked guests to make sustainable choices on the red carpet as part of its to be a carbon neutral awards ceremony.

The British award body gave all those attending last Sunday’s event a sustainable fashion guide created by the London College of Fashion.

The guide encourages attendees to either re-wear something they already own, hire an ensemble or wear something vintage as opposed to buying something new.

It also urged guests to make the most of rental fashion sites, such as Hurr Collective, By Rotation and My Wardrobe HQ, or source clothing from resale outlets like Vestiare Collective and Depop.

Additionally, the guide lists several sustainable fashion brands, such as Stella McCartney, Mother of Pearl and Reformation, which are renowned for using innovative eco-friendly materials.

This was an exciting move: how powerful it would be to see stars on the red carpet proudly wearing a dress they wore last year, or even a few months earlier or an amazing vintage dress (believe me there are some fantastic ones out there)

A handful of A list, influential frock-wearers could start a real ripple effect to help relieve the collective consumerist pressure on us all. Someone re-wears a dress on a fancy red-carpet event and gets in all the papers, social media pages and magazines and a few months later we all find ourselves happy standing in front of our wardrobe thinking ‘You know what? I’m just going to wear that dress again but with different shoes.’

And we are proud of that. We won’t all rush onto the ASOS  website as soon as there is a sniff of a night out in the air.

Finally, I was excited about red carpet dressing. I was sat refreshing Instagram waiting to see our favourite A listers in re-worn dresses and vintage wonders. Would small, sustainable designers get an invaluable boost as some glamorous icon chose to wear their deadstock fabric creation, instead of another new season Chanel? Would this be the green carpet event that accelerated sustainable fashion into the mainstream public consciousness? Would it?

Not quite.


When the stars rolled up to the Bafta red carpet, hardly anyone appeared to have got the memo.

Here was Rooney Mara in a gown from Givenchy’s most recent couture show. Here was Olivia Colman in an embroidered Alexander McQueen dress from the label’s most recent resort collection (although apparently, her diamonds were made in a sustainable lab grown way, I love Olivia so don’t want to mock her but come on!)

There were Chanel ambassadors Margot Robbie and Lily-Rose Depp in a laser-cut black Chanel spring/summer 20 couture peplum dress and a pre-fall 20 sheer black lace-on-lace jumpsuit, respectively.

Many of the gowns were custom-made, Naomie Harris’s Michael Kors spaghetti-strapped shimmering column. And Scarlett Johansson’s shimmering custom Atelier Versace gown that ruffled out, from sleekness to froth at the bottom.

So, who did get the memo?

It fell to the Duchess of Cambridge –to choose a gold and cream Alexander McQueen dress she had previously worn on a 2012 tour of Malaysia. And she looked amazing! No one turned their nose up at her because she had worn it before! We all agreed she looked fabulous.

Joaquin Phoenix was virtuous too, again wearing the Stella McCartney tux he has pledged to wear all awards season, for the sake of the climate – (a well-meant intention that didn’t go down brilliantly when it was announced on social media)

For such a build-up, it was such a let-down. I’m sure there were many there that stuck to the dress code, but they were not on the red carpet and were not in the eye of the media.

Sustainability and climate change are such important subjects and they want to lecture us on making changes to our lives to help save the world we live in. I 100% agree with this but please don’t lecture us and then back out when it “doesn’t look good”

Maybe next year. 

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