At this year’s Paris Couture Week, ten designers were invited to the French capital to take part in the Green Carpet Talent Competition, hosted by the National Chamber for Italian Fashion (CNMI) in collaboration with Eco-Age. Asked to create a ‘red carpet look’ using a transparent Italian supply chain, their entries placed an emphasis on recycled and upcycled materials and included organic silk, sequins made from bottles found on Italian beaches and coffee bags bought in Milan.
A glittering panel of judges, including Vogue editor Edward Enniful and Eco-Age creative director Livia Firth, picked the following five finalists to take part in a 12-month mentorship program with Bicester Village Shopping Collection. They will also attend September’s Green Carpet Fashion Awards during Milan Fashion Week.
Wrad started life as an Instagram page but the brand’s credibility as a label was confirmed by its stand-out Green Carpet entry. Designer Silvia Giovanardi’s orange, graphic-print dress was a riot of retro colour combinations, proving that sustainable fashion does not need to compromise on style. With an asymmetric hem, the dress was testament to Giovanardi’s expertise in natural dyes; its vivid print was a result of recycled graphite powder instead of conventional chemical dyes. Lotus flowers and Buddha-style figures had been painted onto Tuscan-produced ‘mint fabric’, made from 50% mint bamboo viscose and 50% GOTS certified organic cotton.
Nobody has ever used Brazilian coffee bags quite like Gilberto Calzolari. The designer’s plunge neckline dress was crafted using coffee bags bought from a street market in Milan. Despite the rustic raw materials, the look was elegant – the coffee bags had been transformed with fabric-lining and lead-free Swarovski crystals. With a cinched waste and pleated skirt, this entry was a strong statement against waste. Why manufacture new textiles when the old ones look so good?
Davide Grillo’s ethereal entry was a mermaid-style maxi dress paired with a ‘feather’ cape, in naturally dyed, pale green silk. The former Pinko designer’s look was very underwater-femme. The halterneck bodice came in wet-look sequins, laser-cut from plastic bottles and the floor-length skirt featured algae-like designs, painted using onion skin and walnut shell.
While Shivan Punjya’s sheer black shirt dress was low-key in style, it was innovative in substance. Featuring subtle, painterly stripes, the Behno founder’s entry was classy but relaxed. Its unique selling point was not its statement design but the concoction of fabrics used in its creation. The dress was made from un-used fabric that had been deconstructed then reconstructed, GOTS certified organic silk and ECONYL® regenerated nylon, made by recycling discarded fishing nets and carpets.
London-based duo Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones entered a dress and coat combo imbued with classic British eccentricity. The oversized silhouette came in clashing, vibrant prints. While the dress was made from recycled polyester and responsibly sourced wool, the coat was lined with re-used fabric sample swatches. Sequins made from discarded plastic bottles also made a re-appearance.