Oh dear.

One of my interests is in eco fashion. It’s one of the reasons I got into vintage and thrift or charity shopping in the first place. It always seemed so incredibly wasteful to buy so many clothes that then just get discarded when people are tired of them. I used to write about this far more, but I kind of ran out of steam really. I’m interested, but it’s not my every day life.

Then I saw this story. I saw it tweeted on Monday night by Vintage Secret. It’s the story of a Greenwich vintage store, 360 Vintage, who provided some of the ELEVEN DRESSES used by designer Gary Harvey to make Livia Firth’s “eco friendly” red carpet frock.

This picture is from her Twitter stream in order not to annoy Getty Images. You can see far nicer ones on her blog for Vogue.

My understanding is that most, if not all of the dresses used were already perfectly wearable. Livia proudly talks about how the dresses date from the era of the Kings Speech, thus making the dress super relevant to her husbands current Oscars triumph.

*Go back and read that again*

Yes, that’s right. 11 vintage dresses from the 1930s were hacked up and “upcycled” to make ONE frankly so-so gown for Livia to wear on the red carpet.

I have no particular problem with the word “upcycled”, it’s a bit stupid but it doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is the concept that turning 11 wearable dresses into 1 is suddenly green and eco friendly. It isn’t, it’s wasteful, and that is the antithesis of “green”.

I have great respect for Livia’s attempt to raise the profile of eco designers by wearing their gowns on the red carpet, but I just can’t support this.

Yes. If you buy a dress you can do whatever you damn well please with it. It would be nice if everyone had a bit of respect for particularly interesting pieces of fashion history. It would also be nice if they had the skill not to make a beautiful piece of workmanship into an unwearable mess. But at the end of the day it’s your dress and you do what you want with it.

It’s very, very, sad that 11 1930s gowns died to make this dress, but that’s not my real issue. My real issue is dressing it up as Eco Fashion.

Eco Fashion should be about making clothes for people to wear that suits their style, whatever that may be, without wasting resources or actively damaging the environment.

Whatever way you look at it turning 11 dresses into 1 is a waste of resources. Not as wasteful as making a new one from scratch, but hardly green. 11 people could have worn 11 dresses, now only 1 can, and it’ll probably never be worn again.

That’s not green, it’s tragic.