Because of the pandemic, the nonprofit postponed its 2020 celebrations to convene the winning looks from the past two contest seasons. Winning designers include Sanah Sharma and Jasmine Kelly Rutherford for 2020, and designers Benjamin Koh and Yuriko Fukuda for 2021.
The designers — hailing from New York, India, Japan and Singapore — shared some of the inspirations behind their winning looks.
“The visual spectacle of earth’s existence in the vast expanse of the universe merged with the infinite loop of a mobius strip inspired the design for the Gaia dress,” Sharma said. “The double helix shape of DNA molecules that represents life on earth was the inspiration for the Swarovski embellishments.”
For Rutherford, it was traditional men’s suiting: “A traditional suit amplifies a man’s statuesque build and broad shoulders. I wanted to highlight this aspect, so I reimagined these three pieces by incorporating a sense of femininity and modernity. I included seaming that accentuates an hourglass figure and will flatter any body type.
“The jacket sleeves feature hand-smocking details to give a more modern feeling. The suit’s blouse features a lapel that sits off the shoulder, with buttons cascading down the arms (reminiscent of the classic button-down). The pants and blouse alike both feature pleating which embodies a more feminine silhouette,” she said.
The designers also shared how they are incorporating sustainability into their everyday lives.
“Every — little — thing — possible,” said Koh. “Reducing waste by habit, recycling when possible, buying consciously for the environment and the people.”
For Rutherford and Fukuda, too, it’s a matter of living the brand. (Reusable coffee cups, flasks and tote bags are definitely a major part of it).
“When I go shopping for groceries, I make sure that I carry a grocery bag to reduce the waste of unnecessary plastic bags being used,” Fukuda said. “I often buy organic foods, which I believe are sustainable and better for health. Also, I am a big fan of coffee, so I have my reusable bottle to carry throughout the day.”
The looks incorporate sustainable design practices and fabrications and are being shown at the organization’s annual pre-Oscars event, dubbed the “Global Evening of Sustainable Innovation,” which takes place this Friday evening in Los Angeles at an undisclosed location.
RCGD’s founder Suzy Amis Cameron expressed excitement at bringing together the organization’s vast sustainable fashion community, including repeat partners like Tencel and CLO.
Emphasizing the shared mission, Samata Pattinson, chief executive officer of RCGD Global, said: “Times are indeed very uncertain but the journey towards a more sustainable future can’t stop. It is actually more crucial because uncertainty pushes disparity, whereas sustainability is about equity for people and the planet. Progress towards this better future is made by people who willingly undertake this path and I can’t imagine uncertainty slowing down this will.”
Harold Weghorst, global vice president of marketing and branding at Lenzing AG, called it a “transformative” time at the company (which is celebrating its 30-year-anniversary this year). “While we as manufacturers can innovate materials and production methods, like offering carbon-zero fiber options, it is through collaborating with consumer-facing stakeholders that will accelerate the fashion industry’s eco-journey.”