Our most precious luxury, we are increasingly reminded, is the planet we live on and it is getting increasingly evident that safeguarding our environment is crucial not just for the survival of the world we live in our but for the survival of our progeny too. The Green Carpet Challenge was founded by film producer and eco-fashionista Livia Firth who has brought together her social consciousness and her love of beauty and fashion to great effect. She started with eco-age, a bricks and mortar green boutique in London for which she sought out not just objects, but ‘stories’ that would cater to a clientele with the same curiosity as its founder towards the impact of what they bought had on the environment, as well as feeling passionately about a “meaningful aesthetic” as Mrs. Firth puts it. As she says on her eco-age website, “Once you know and understand the story you are no longer consuming in a vacuum. And the pieces you acquire take on extra significance. They become part of your world. They aren’t just incidental. It’s precisely these types of pieces that can trace their heritage back to producers and place but are still beautiful and desirable that I have sourced for the [shop]…”
In 2010, Livia Firth, who is also Oscar winning actor Colin Firth’s wife and attends a good many red carpet events with her husband, launched the Green Carpet Challenge (GCC): to only wear sustainable and ethical dresses to red carpet ceremonies. For the Gold Globe ceremony that year she chose to wear not a customary big name designer brand, but an exquisite wedding gown, brilliantly ‘upcycled’, (as opposed to re-cycled) to stunning effect. Her taste in the selection of the dress placed her firmly on all the 'best dressed' lists the day after the event, but her message was not entirely understood. However she has persevered and in the intervening years has continued in her commitment to promoting a more sustainable and ethical lifestyle, and one step for an eco-fashionista has turned into an important leap for the world of luxe and fashion as well as the planet. This year GCC embarked on an extraordinary collaboration with one of the finest luxury brands in the world, Gucci, and the National Wildlife Federation and presented the world’s first Zero Deforestation Leather Handbag Collection.
That sounds like quite a tall order, but all the bags in the collection are traceable and an admirable chain of supply has been established: the hides that are used to craft the bags come from the Amazon region of Brazil, without cutting down a single tree (a widespread and alarming practice), and from cattle that has been ethically and sustainably raised by ranchers with ethical and sustainable working practices.
Designed by Gucci’s Creative Director, Frida Giannini, the bags, crafted in a warm and textured burnished wine hue and lined in organic cotton, are undeniably the embodiment of the perfect marriage between ethics and that unmistakable Gucci allure.ç”±The maison is celebrated the world over for the excellence of Italian craftsmanship at the firm’s core, but says Ms. Giannini, “…we would like Gucci to not just be synonymous with Made in Italy, but also Made with Integrity.”
Indeed, and hats off to all those who endeavour to make our planet a little healthier and glamorous at the same time!