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ESMOD is always a fan of any company or group that not only promotes sustainability and highlights the talents of our students. That is why we are especially proud to be associated with the wonderful organization Red Carpet Green Dress, founded by Suzy Amis Cameron.

After speaking with Red Carpet Green Dress’ CEO Samata, here is what she told us about the organization and unique contest:

Tell us about your organization Red Carpet Green Dress?

Red Carpet Green Dress™ (RCGD) is a women-led global change-making organization working from ‘moment’ to movement, bringing sustainability to the forefront of conversation and action within the fashion industry. Since its inception, the campaign has grown to include brand collaborations, internships, knowledge-share platforms and educational experiences for students, and our remit continues to grow.

Why is an organization like this so important, especially right now?

The way that fashion is being made around the world is not sustainable. We already know that due to a collection of environmental problems, the fashion industry is responsible for chemical pollution associated with textile processing. Across the world, only the housing, transport and food sectors outweigh the scale of the fashion industry’s impact on land, with the amount of land it uses projected to increase by 35% by 2030. If the fashion industry continues on its current path, by 2050 it could use more than 26% of the carbon budget associated with a 2°C global warming limit. RCGD was created to bring attention to these issues and show solutions and ways for the fashion industry to combat these challenges.”

With this in mind, RCGD, in collaboration with TENCEL Luxe, is running their annual design contest.

How can one enter the contest and what is required?

There is a nominal entry fee of $30. The specific creative challenge and design criteria for the contest focuses on two key areas, eco textiles and waste. Entrants are asked to virtually select one, or more, of three RCGD X TENCEL™ Luxe sustainable textiles to make their design from, if selected as a winner. As we can’t get textile swatches to all the entrants, we animated the textiles with videos on the contest homepage as a solution. They must then submit a sketch of a gown or a suit digitally with that textile in mind. We want them to show how they would minimize waste in the description about their design. There will be two winning designers - one gown and one suit designer who can take home the following amazing prizes:

*$1000 cash prize

*Dress contest ambassadors for the red carpet

*Attend RCGD Gala in LA as VIP Guest with travel, accommodation and living expenses covered

*Exhibition of winning designs at RCGD Gala and presentation to audience

*Meet Red Carpet Green Dress founder Suzy Amis Cameron

*Internship experience with couture designer Laura Basci in her LA-based atelier

*Business mentorship with RCGD CEO Samata”

Samata also elaborated on the positive efforts RCGD and its partners will be doing in addition to the typical prizes: “Also, RCGD and our partner are committing funds to both organizations, on top of an entries-based donation to help both organizations raise funds for the work outlined. This is very much a collaboration with allies to create relief.

The Fifth Pillar will be providing cash to pregnant workers who are terminated or laid off, are temporarily suspended from their workplace, who received less than the minimum wage due to Covid-19 health restrictions and for women workers who need emergency health care after being terminated or laid off.

With the funds attributed Awaj Foundation will provide the following crucial support to garment workers and their children during the Covid-19 pandemic for 3 months, by way of medicine, tests, access to nurses and doctors, transportation and financial support.”

What is TENCEL™ Luxe?

Textile giant Lenzing’s new luxury brand TENCEL™ Luxe was created to provide eco-couture textile solutions, there is a focus on red carpet fashion, which we have seen really lacks a comprehensive range of natural material solutions.

Any hints or advice for contestants?

To anyone considering entering I would just say, think about the story behind your design. Think about how you can really tell a story, express your own distinct creative style and make an effort to understand why sustainable design is so important. The criteria is really simple, they submit a sketch and a description of their design, and they will also let us know why they made certain textile selections (there are up to 3 selections possible). Personally, I think what stands out is when you can get a very strong sense of somebody and their vision from their submission. You don’t have to be the most incredible sketch artist, when I entered my sketching was not exceptional I’ll be the 1st to admit! It’s about your passion and it’s about connecting with an idea, even if you’re not from the sustainable fashion area, and creating something beautiful for a gown or suit.

This contest is an especially exciting opportunity for ESMOD students, many of whom have been named winners in the past. We spoke with one ESMOD alumna, Alice Elia, who told us about her experience after winning the prestigious RCGD contest.

Can you tell us about yourself and your career path since ESMOD?

I am originally from Bordeaux, where I began my studies at ESMOD, which I later finished in Paris. During my studies, I was able to do an internship at Elie Saab's Haute Couture workshop in Beirut, as well as at Chanel. I was also lucky enough to win the Red Carpet Green Dress competition, founded by Suzy Amis Cameron. Following my studies, I was able to join the Maison Saint Laurent, where I have been working for 5 years as a designer.

How did you first hear about RCDD and the contest?

I was not aware of this project until ESMOD told us about it in 2014 when I was still a student. The school told us about the contest that was used to raise money for the Muse School, and allowed the winner to draw and make a dress that would be worn by an actress at the Oscars.

Can you describe your experience with RCGD?

The most appropriate word would be magical. I was able to live a daydream thanks to Suzy, Samata, and all the incredible people I was able to meet following my victory at the 2014 RCGD contest. I was able, at 20 years old, to design and make a dress that was worn at the Oscars by Olga Kurylenko. The dress was made in Paris, and then I went to Los Angeles.

What impact did this experience have on your career path?

It was a very formative experience from a technical, interpersonal and creative point of view. It only confirmed my desire to become a designer, to be able to manage a project, and I'm sure that it helped me when I left school to start working in beautiful ‘maisons.’ As for the fashion industry on the whole, this is the only possible future for our industry if we want to survive and preserve our planet. Eco-ethical fashion is our duty as designers as well as consumers. Traceability, transparency, and respect for our environment as well as for human beings is essential. It is not only a question of making collections in eco-friendly materials, but also of rethinking our entire production process and human management system.

Do you have any advice for current students who will be submitting a design?

I think the important thing is to stay as true to yourself in the design proposal you submit. They will be all the more proud if they win the competition and see the design that reflects their own style come to life and be worn.

Samata, Alice, Suzy and Chen Chen during the RCGD ceremony in 2015

We hope many ESMOD students, past and present, will submit a design to this contest while there is still time! What a wonderful way to gain a once in a lifetime experience while also thinking and learning about sustainable and ethical fashion.

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