Zendaya Wins The 2020 Visionary Award At The Green Carpet Fashion Awards- A Night For Diversity, Inclusivity And Sustainability In Fashion

Last night marked the 4th edition Green Carpet Fashion Awards (GCFA), which was filmed virtually at the Teatro alla Scala Opera House in Milan, Italy- and turned into a terrarium as the venue backdrop. A star-studded event hosted by the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, done in collaboration with Eco-Age, supported by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and the Italian Trade Agency- all under the patronage of the Municipality of Milan.

Themed ‘togetherness and rebirth,’ the night focused on society and the guiding principles of social and environmental justice that is spearheaded in Italy. The evening was harnessed by the power of augmented reality, celebrity holograms, and various visual effects that were all made possible by Pulse Films, NorthHouse and ARHT Media. The event’s sponsors carried the night forward from San Pellegrino, Aquafil, and Chopard, who designed the GFCA ethical gold statuette.

“This is the first event in history to utilize augmented reality, film, digital, and holograms within its presentation,” stated actor Robert Downey, Jr, as he opened and closed the YouTube broadcast of the evening. With humor he charged viewers by stating, “If any part of this evening’s proceedings seems frivolous, including the current avalanche of global crises that seems to be permeating our existence, I respectfully challenge you to imagine a world where no one is doing their part to make sure big business is a force for good. In my opinion, fashion is a fine place to start. Why? Because change can be stylish, elegant and fun. Why can fashion be a leader? Because it’s as artistic as poetry and influential as politics. We know this. What we wear speaks to who we are and what we believe in.”

Downey founded the FootPrint Coalition, an organization that invests in technologies, provides grant funding and creates content that mobilizes a global audience.

Academy Award winning actor Colin Firth, spoke after Downey, narrating how the GCFA all began. Then British actress Sophie Okendo, captured the attention of viewers by painting a picture of a grim year that springs forth hope by mentioning the various wildfires around the world, the ongoing pandemic, systemic racism- all which she says has the “potential to bring change.” Including fashion, an industry where slave labor, pollution, and waste are a problem, Okendo mentioned the disruptors in the industry who desire to bring change to these areas.

Leaders and influencers from Nomzamo Mbatha, Cate Blanchett, Lewis Hamilton, Julianne Moore, and Roy Wang, who are bringing a shift to fashion in the areas of sustainability, diversity and inclusivity filled the evening. Olivia Firth, the Creative Director and Co-Founder of Eco-Age gave a stellar and passionate opening beside Carlo Capasa, President of Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana.

The first ever Green Carpet Awards was held in 2017 in Milan, and it continues to celebrate fashion houses and their commitment to sustainability. “This year’s edition of the GCFA is very symbolic of the historical period we are in – we could not have produced a fashion awards ceremony completely detached by what is going on around the world, as we have always used fashion as a lens through which to look at our geopolitical landscape, with environmental and social justice at its heart,” said Livia Firth, of the evening.

Bethann Hardison presented the GCFA Visionary Award to American actress Zendaya. The prestigious award recognizes fashion trailblazers who have a shared mission for sustainability, equality and diversity in the industry. Zendaya has made it her personal mission to make a difference in fashion, to bring change where it is needed, as she has used her platform to open doors for those who would not be able to showcase their talent.

Speaking of her honor, the actress and fashion icon noted, “it’s an incredible honor and means the world to me. Throughout my career I have had the privilege of being able to showcase different types of beauties. Through the work that I get to do, I hope that I get to continue to create more positions of power, until this industry really does reflect the beauty that I see every day.”

Livia Firth noted how Zendaya has always made sure that fashion is more inclusive and diverse. “We admire and celebrate her aim to create a more accurate reflection of the world in which she lives in- from including the first plus-sized model in the 2019 Tommy Hilfiger show, to more recently using an all- Black team to create the September InStyle cover. By working with and championing trailblazing within the Black community, she is a leading example for younger generations and beyond, and this is why we are honoring Zendaya with The GCFA Visionary Award.”

Sovrintendente Meyer from the Teatro alla Scala Opera House and Beppe Sala, Mayor of Milan also spoke. Maisie Williams presented the GCFA Best Independent Designer Award to Sindiso Khumalo; model Iman went onto present the GCFA Responsible Disruption Award to Progetto Quid; and Nomzano Mbatha presented the GCFA North Star Award to the UN for the UN Global Goals, and Tatiana Valovaya received it on their behalf.

Italy has a been a country hit hard during the pandemic, with over 36,000 deaths. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte made a special appearance and stated in a heartfelt message that “the pandemic has tested every single human being on the planet. Our global recovery will test us further.” He went onto say that “I’m proud that this ceremony is broadcasted from Italy, a center of artisan skills and handcrafting traditions. Combined with design, manufacturing and production leadership, these are founding qualities of brands made in Italy. These are also the qualities that give us resilience in the face of extreme challenges. Embedded in the phrase ‘Made in Italy,’ is our country’s artisan pedigree.”

Colin Firth presented the GFCA Art of Craftsmanship Award – Italian Artisans given to the thousands of deserving artisans around Italy.

A theme that ran through the SS21 fashion week runway shows that recently ended in Paris is hope and to keep on fighting. Livia Firth notes in a statement, “This is the strong message that will emerge from this year’s GCFA- to be ready to fight for fashion.”

Because of the pandemic and Italy’s rising spike in numbers, the night wouldn’t have been possible without the digital medium and top-notch production. The show was directed by Grammy-nominated Giorgio Testi, produced by Emmy Award winner Pulse films, and broadcasted on Sky network and on the Fashion Channel’s YouTube Channel. The evening was also broadcasted in China, in conjunction with Shanghai Fashion Week, as it marked the fiftieth anniversary of the diplomatic ties between Italy and China.

“Sustainability and digitalization are two of the main pillars of our operating strategy,” shared Carlo Capasa. “We are happy to present this project in these difficult times when it is more important than ever to send a positive message of change to work together with the entire fashion industry and our supply chains, the government and the designated institutions to help our planet for generations and to build a better future for everyone.”

It’s no secret that top luxury fashion houses from the US, the UK, Italy, France, the Far East and beyond have taken a hit through sales. Fashion as a whole is reeling with magazines cutting back, and downsizing of staff. But, consumers are buying bespoke and Couture pieces, items that will last long, as they distance themselves from fast fashion. This buying pattering is a plus for luxury brands who can cater to this trend, and move more in a sustainable direction. 

The Italian Trade Agency President Carlo Ferro, knows this all too well and shared in a statement, “The 2020 Green Carpet Fashion Awards, showed how our businesses are able at such a difficult time and in an increasingly complex scenario, to rapidly adapt to foreign markets. Spending behavior, especially that of the new generations, is tending more and more towards quality and sustainability, the strengths of our fashion industry. And demarcation between online and offline is continually blurring, which is why ITA is heavily committed to supporting the digitalization of trade fairs and events like this, as well as helping our enterprises access e-commerce platforms to sell their products”

The Green Carpet Awards challenges the world on is consummation of fashion, it’s inclusivity, and its diversity. In the words of Livia Firth, “we use fashion also as a metaphor – and we ask ourselves to imagine the clothes we want to wear, now that we are stepping into a new era. What will they be? Who will have made them? And what values will we be?” This year has forced the world to reset, and fashion has been asked to do the same. Firth walked away from the evening feeling that the fourth Green Carpet Awards “is stronger, and, in a sense a political edition- and immersed in hope!”

Watch the 4th edition Green Carpet Fashion Awards

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