Monday, January 11, 2010

Red Carpet Green Dress

The Red Carpet Green Dress only came to my attention today; moving continents tends to make one not notice stuff. If any aspiring fashion designer out there wants to enter, as long as you're 18 and have $50 to spare, you can. I love that you don't need to be enrolled in a course to enter, so often a condition in competitions, but I do not love the fee. Of course I am completely clueless as to the the financial arrangement between The King of the World and Mrs Cameron (and prefer to remain that way) but let's assume both are comfortable. Millionaire if not billionaire comfortable, at least. Of course most fashion design competitions of this kind incur a fee, part of which goes into the jurying process - convening and reimbursing the panel, that sort of thing. There is only one person on this particular jury, so I am having trouble seeing how one person choosing one dress (as opposed to an extensive panel picking over whole collections, as the case might be with Mittelmoda) requires such a sum. A more cynical person might suggest it goes towards paying for the dress itself, to be realized by Deb Scott. I would urge the organizers to perhaps explain this more on the website.

Amendment: I've just read the rules. The money will go towards MUSE Elementary. Nevertheless, I feel that this sum might deny the next Madeleine Vionnet from entering the competition merely for financial reasons. In an otherwise refreshingly democratic competition, it's the one thing that makes it not so.

When it comes to sustainability, I have no doubt the intent is 100% well-meaning but could be thought through better. After all, this is a dress that will get worn for a few hours only. It's a fair chunk of cash, time, effort and flights for one dress. (And yet I can't help hoping someone from Sri Lanka wins, as unlikely as that may be.) The more sustainable option would be to wear something one already has, or if that won't do, have something one already has altered. By Deb Scott or even a non-Academy-Award-winning designer. To most celebrities, it would seem, there is hardly anything more disposable than a red carpet dress, although I acknowledge the very well meant intent here: wider exposure of sustainable fashion design. It's just that materials choice alone doesn't make something automatically a sustainable design. What I'd love to see afterwards is an eBay auction of the dress, and using the proceeds to reimburse all the entrants their fifty bucks. The first choice of material, as reminiscent of Lizzy Gardiner's efforts as it may sound, would of course be broken Titanic DVDs. Remember Titanic? The only time I ever came out of a cinema and the seasons had changed. Thankfully modern technology can provide us with a summary version:

I realize the above comes across quite negative but I do believe lots of room for improvement in the project exists, and I hope the project runs again with some aspects considered in more depth. Most importantly, none of what I've written should take away from MUSE Elementary, a project initiated by Suzy Amis Cameron and her sister Rebecca Amis. The goodwill is definitely there. Best of luck to those entering the comp!

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