The red carpet at the Academy Awards is treated as the world’s most visible runaway where Hollywood’s elite try to dazzle the likes of Joan Rivers for a dose of media ego stroking. An ill-fitting or bizarre outfit can land your photo under an embarrassing caption such as “Oscar’s Fashion Losers or “Someone This Poorly Dressed is Probably a Horrible Human Being and a Lousy Lover“. While this type of pressure leaves many participants willing to sacrifice a basket of puppies to land on certain best dressed lists, people like Livia Firth, whose husband Collin Firth won this year’s Academy Award for Best Actor, choose to buck this trend of turning a blind eye towards ethics in the name of fashion and embraced the challenge of approaching high fashion with a dose of high compassion.

Livia’s lovely Oscar and ethical gown was designed by Gary Harvey who created the dress by “upcycling” 11 used dresses from the era of her husband’s movie “The King’s Speech.”  Livia explains the inspiration behind her Oscar look, “last year my friend Lucy Siegle (author of the forthcoming book, To Die For on the state of the fashion industry and its enormous footprint) challenged me to go through all the red carpets unfurled for the awards season dressed exclusively in sustainable style.” Livia recorded her experiences of approaching the movie award season with a consciousness towards the environment in blog for Vogue.

Currently, eco-friendly threads on the red carpet seem to be the exception, not the rule.  Although sporting an eco-conscious frock is a scarce practice by the rich and famous, some of Hollywood’s elite are slowly but surely dipping their toes into the surprisingly stylish waters of Eco-friendly designs, including Best Actress winner Natalie Portman. Portman, a vegan whose engagement ring has green features as the inclusion of recycled platinum and stones from a conflict-free mine, wore a cream, 100 percent recycled polyester shift with three-quarter lace sleeves from H&M’s Conscious Collection to a pre Oscar party. While this event does not bring as much attention to the eco-friendly fashion movement as a stroll down the Oscar’s widely watched and media dissected red carpet, the support of such a well-known actress of such an important movement for the environment  is not anything to snub our noses at regardless of our opinion of Black Swan or the Star Wars prequels.

Contrary to the *wildly popular belief that you have to be married to Academy Award winning actor in order to take an ethical approach towards fashion, many designers and stores are embracing eco-friendly styles for their 2011 lines. The New York city based eco-friendly label Jai is dying their organic materials for their Spring 2011 line with such green materials as Strawberries and turmeric pulp. The Fair Trade clothing line People Tree who utilizes ecological and ethical practices when making their adorable clothing have launched an ad campaign for Spring featuring Hermione Granger herself, aka Emma Watson.

Unlike Joan Rivers, Mother Nature does not give a flying hoot about whether or not our fashion sensibilities land us on anyone’s best dressed list. Eco-friendly choices in our day-to-day lives, from the clothes we wear on our backs and the food we put in our mouths are enough to get you on her list of “Coolest People of All Time in All of the Universe“– a special list that is released once a year in Cat Fancy magazine.

If ever there was a time to embrace environmentally friendly fashions, the time is meow…sorry, I could not help myself. This is a sentiment that Joan Rivers, Queen Amidala, Black Swans, Hogwart’s alumni and Mother nature would surely agree on.

*Wildly popular aka a belief I just made up that no rational person ever thought was true a second of their highly logical life.

-Meghan Hurley