Livia Firth has been a tireless supporter of ethical fashion and a key figure in the UK fashion scene, her commitment (from her shop Eco Age, to her work with Lucy Siegle for the Observer’s Ethical Awards and her recent blog for Vogue.com, and lastly ‘The Green Carpet Challenge’) is unquestionable. Yet, she is also a beautiful woman, very much in the public eye, and not one to compromise on her appearance, making her an honest and reliable judge of how and who to wear in ethical fashion.
Livia’s comments on the Oscar dress and ‘Green Carpet Challenge’ : “When Lucy Siegle and I were discussing the options for the Oscar dress and the Green Carpet Challenge, the decision of going with Orsola was very natural as we have been working together for over a year with 12 Degrees of Fashion at Eco Age. Also, the ‘Green Carpet Challenge’ began in a way when I wore a ‘From Somewhere’ dress to the worldwide premiere of ‘A Single Man’, in Venice; it feels so natural to end the challenge with Orsola and From Somewhere. The Oscars will be, in a way, the end of the promotional trip for all of us with A Single Man – and the end of the Green Carpet Challenge.
With this dress, I wanted it to be “Old Hollywood Glamour” and a bit of “La Dolce Vita” – so even in this way Orsola, being Italian, perfectly understood that feeling and created the perfect representation for it. The dress will be incredibly simple and elegant – and the fact that we could re-create that elegance and simplicity using waste is wonderful!”
The main ingredients of the dress are: our trusted black thick viscose fluid – part of a few rolls of designer obsolete stock – some black organza off cuts and tiny end of rolls, and some unfinished black chiffon petty-coats which we literally rescued from the bin.
The From Somewhere studio in Portobello has never been more hectic and full on, working evenings and weekends, each to her own expertise: Nancy on the pattern, Carina and Erin sewing and Kate and Andrea on the organza/pettycoat shoulder structure. Overall, a really good team, which is remarkable when considering that most of the girls, are just out of college – it goes to show that enthusiasm and passion can really drive you forward.
Luckily, we did have had a little bit of help on the way, from Tom Ford’s right-hand man David Bamber who came with Livia to the first fitting and was just brilliant, to the moral support provided by Dilys Williams at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at LCF ready to mobilise her entire MA army of students just in case we should need them, to Anna Orsini giving advice from Paris on the phone (Anna’s magic words: Everything is possible and don’t be afraid).
This dress will close Livia and Lucy’s Green Carpet Challenge, and I am glad that the word “challenge” is omnipresent throughout. It is my safety net – making this dress has indeed been a challenge, as it will be a challenge for Livia to walk the red carpet covered in exquisite fashion waste – a provocative, audacious choice.
We have to take risks to get where we want to be and say the things we want to say, we have to be brave to be of influence, so in the same vain we have to put a pile of designer fashion rubbish on the red carpet and hope we can convince you that up-cycling is the way to go.