Our Movement | May 25 2012
Samata is Global Campaign Director of Red Carpet Green Dress, a Hollywood-based sustainable dress design contest, of which she was the 2011 winner. An award- winning British fashion designer, author and speaker, listed as one of the top 20 women under 30 ‘to watch’ by Red Magazine, we met her recently to find out how she’s building a better future.
E2H: Of the many new ideas around building a better future, which ones are you most interested in and why?
SA: As a fashion designer but also someone who is a keen follower of developments within the apparel industry, I am interested in the future of fabric. I have read about self-cleaning, colour changing and 3D-printed fabric that I would love to play around with, as such innovations come to market. Seeing how fabric will be created, coloured and treated in the future is of interest to me, because it is such an important part of fashion. We need to find ways to use resources more sustainably and with more thought for impacts we make to the environment - from the dyes we use to how we use off-cuts and excess. Three-dimensional printing for example, is said to be an emerging technology that uses ultraviolet beams to fuse layers of powdered, recyclable thermoplastic into shape, leaving behind virtually no waste. This would involve production that is localised and that requires less labor, and compresses fabrication time to a matter of hours versus weeks or months.
E2H:Of the many individuals leading us to a brighter future, who inspires you most and why?
SA: I would say Suzy Amis Cameron (environmental advocate and wife of Director James Cameron) who founded the Red Carpet Green Dress contest that I run. Her vision through Red Carpet Green Dress is to promote sustainable fashion from the red carpet through to mainstream fashion. She wants to be part of creating a more sustainable fashion industry, one that causes less harm to the environment, is less wasteful and encourages re-use and customisation as the first stop before throwing anything away. It's not such a radical thought, but with these projects it’s about how it’s done. Her work in education is the backbone for the contest, as Red Carpet Green Dress fundraises for her non-profit schools MUSE Ca and MUSE Global. I work closely with her and it’s inspiring to see someone walk their talk and that inspires me to be more considerate in my fashion projects and focused with my educational ones.
Samata Angel with Suzy Amis Cameron
E2H:Tell us a little about your current projects?
SA: Red Carpet Green Dress presents the challenge to create an Oscar® worthy dress made entirely of sustainable materials. The winner gets his or her “green” design worn on the red carpet at the Academy Awards® celebration. This year I ran the contest and oversaw the creation of a beautiful sustainable gown that was worn by Missi Pyle (of Best Picture "The Artist"), whom I accompanied down the red carpet at the Oscars. Her dress reached the top of several best-dressed lists. I cannot wait for Red Carpet Green Dress 2013, as the coverage and feedback we received this year was fantastic.
I’m also working on my own collection of evening and cocktail dresses. A few of my favourite pieces from the collection are with Jessica Alba. I create dresses for women who both men and women love, women's women! This June I will be holding a talk in London, providing an overview of the fashion industry, discussing key useful organisations to be aware of, advice for designers that want to start up in the industry and other topics such as networking and building-up relationships in the industry. I will be talking about Red Carpet Green Dress and my Oscars experience, which I can't wait to share!
E2H:How do you re-connect with nature?
SA: I never feel out of touch with nature, I always feel connected to it. My advice for someone who feels out of touch is to simply get out into nature. You can spend a great deal of time sitting in front of your computer or in meetings when just the other side of a window there is a beautiful park. I get out and walk around. When I am in California I get into the habit of walking the neighbourhood for an hour or so in the morning and take photos of trees, flowers and plants. The most beautiful photo of the morning will be my wallpaper for the day. I don't think it needs to be very complex, the reality is nature is simply waiting for us to remember how beautiful it is and how much it has to offer us, once we step outside and just sit in it for a while.
E2H:If you could build a legacy what would it be?
SA: I would love to build a legacy for innovative fashion design that celebrates the female form. All of the dresses I design work to accentuate and flatter women’s feminine curves. Through my work with Red Carpet Green Dress I am part of building a movement towards more careful consideration when creating fashion. I love working on educational projects within fashion, such as my book and any opportunity to create a knowledge share platform I am open for. These three points really encompass the legacy I would like to build, for a healthier body image of women through the fashion I create, for the adoption of a more thoughtful design process and for creating useful knowledge share platforms for emerging creatives.