We won The Responsible Disruptive award in Milan, Italy at The Green Carpet, an annual prestigious event that puts style into sustainable fashion.
For most of our artisans this was the first time they were boarding a plane. As they headed from India to Italy, they knew I was a Sari had been nominated for the 3rd annual Green Carpet Sustainable Fashion Awards ceremony. What they didn’t know was that they had actually won an award and would go on stage in front of a host of fashion world celebrities!
So, when Lou Doillon, the French singer and actress and daughter of Jane Birkin, announced that the winner in disruptive innovation is I was a Sari, we all jumped out of our seats cheering. Suddenly the artisans and our founder Stefano Funari were thrust under the spotlight on stage at Teatro alla Scala, the 18th century opera house in Milan.
Stefano made a short speech about the journey of I was a Sari from the Mumbai slums to La Scala. He spoke about how he believes it all depends on how you see the world. Where most people see waste, we see value – where most people see a pile of old saris, we see the potential to create contemporary fashion. Where most people see unemployed and uneducated women, we see potentially talented artisans who learn to design their future.
He thanked Gucci for their support and bringing visibility through their partnership that started in June 2018. Gucci Equilibrium features I was a Sari as it perfectly encapsulates Gucci’s drive toward social empowerment and commitment to the circular economy- such as transferring knowledge and left-over materials to be up-cycled to produce one-off handcrafted designs.
Lou Doillon was dressed in a black chiffon Gucci dress pictured above, embroidered by some of our I was a Sari artisans.
As the Guardian newspaper said (The Green Carpet awards) “It’s an Oscars-like production with 1,000 guests and A-list headliners.”
The evening was held in a stunning venue, our jaws dropped when we saw the red and gold interiors, lavish even by Indian standards. And again, at the outdoor pre-event cocktail in the Piazza La Scala as it was a seriously star studded event. The paparazzi were crowding around all the celebrities on the green carpet. This carpet was a little different to most celebrity red carpets, as it was made of Econyl – regenerated nylon created from discarded fishing nets and other nylon waste.
The green carpet made with Econyl at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards
Other notable moments:
The event kicked off with a video of British school kids talking about the environment and the fact that they won’t have a future like we’ve had. They won’t have parks and there will be less nature in parts of the world available for them to enjoy.
Livia Firth welcomed everyone to the event, organized by Firth’s PR consultancy Eco-Age and Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (CNMI).
The first award was given to Francois Pinault at Kering for promoting environmental profit and loss accounting. He spoke about the Fashion Pact signed at the recent G7 meeting by 32 global fashion and textile companies and his vision for the fashion industry to work together. Read more about it here.
The Winner of the Climate Change award was Econyl and the group of the divers who dive down into the oceans for fishing nets to upcycle, came up on stage. They spoke about how an environmental organization winning a fashion award doesn’t happen very often.
Next on stage were a group of gondoliers from Venice awarded for switching to natural fibres for their striped uniforms.
Amber Valletta, Stella McCartney, and Colin Firth
Stella McCartney won the Groundbreaker Award and said she’d share all her knowledge in sustainability with anyone who wanted to learn to make the planet better for our babies. The general consensus throughout the evening was around the responsibility we have for the next generations and that fashion needs to do more.
The grand finale was actress and fashion icon Sophia Loren (now aged 85) charming the audience with her beauty and sense of humor in Italian as she lamented that she would need to switch to English (the language in which the whole event was held) and then proceed to give a witty speech in perfect English. She awarded Valentino Garavani with the Legacy award. He however refused to speak in English, preferring his native Italian.
Following the awards, we celebrated the visibility of ethical fashion with an event that certainly married style with soul.
READ MORE ABOUT THE GREEN CARPET AWARDS 2019