This year's exhibition and Met Gala, entitled Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, is meant to make us think of how we moved from handmade to machine-made, and what these two processes mean to haute couture and avante garde ready-to-wear. However, for this ethical blogger it conjures up much more. How has technology affected the way in which we engage with clothes and the fashion industry? What emotions are conjured when we look at garments that have been handmade vs machine-made? And, most importantly,how can technology be used to drive the industry into a more conscious arena?

Fashion has been an important vehicle for communicating ideas to the world, whether we choose to hear them or not. One of the biggest platforms for fashion and design--the Met Gala--raises funds for the self-funded Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and marks the opening of the museum's spring exhibition whilst highlighting the creativity and advancement of fashion, challenging designers, artists, musicians, and others within the arts to push the boundaries. Calvin Klein was one such designer who challenged the theme bringing conscious fashion to the forefront with three outfits that made quite a huge impact ethically.

This year, Calvin Klein took the Green Carpet Challenge, using GCC Principles for Sustainable Excellence, to create three dresses for Emma Watson, Lupita Nyong’o and Margot Robbie. All three were made using differing approaches to sustainability within fashion construction. Lupita's jade sequin dress was entirely created within the CK's New York atelier, with a focus on in-house craftsmanship and artistry. While Margot Robbie wore a white strapless dress with zippers made from recycled materials and lined in organic silk. However, the most statement-making of the three was Emma Watson's dress made entirely from Newlife's recycled plastic bottle fabric--a fabric I first heard of in 2012 when Giorgio Armani used it to make Livia Firth's Golden Globe Award Dress.

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
"Plastic is one of the biggest pollutants on the planet. Being able to repurpose this waste and incorporate it into my gown for the ‪#MetGala‬ proves the power that creativity, technology and fashion can have by working together...I am proud to say it is truly sustainable and represents a connection between myself and all the people in the supply chain who played a role in creating it" - Emma Watson on Facebook

Emma Watson was the most vocal of the actresses when it came to her choice to wear one of Calvin Klein's sustainable outfits, afterall she was the one who set Calvin Klein with the challenge to begin with. The majority of her dress was made from Newlife, a polyester yarn made from 100 percent post-consumer plastic bottles; and the detailing on the bustier was made with organic silk and cotton. Newlife also sources and produces exclusively in Italy, and is developed and produced to stand out for design, high performance, high quality and total respect for the environment. The Newlife fabric highlights how technology can take fashion, not only to new heights aesthetically, but how machines, and not chemicals, can be used to recycle one of the world's largest pollutants and repurpose them into something practical, conscious and wearable. 

It was Emma who challenged Calvin Klein to make her dress and to incorporate sustainable elements into the dresses of her two fellow Met Gala attendees, and it is safe to say that she has definitely made a statement. With her dress creating much buzz on the blogs and fashion sites for its significance and not look, it is safe to say that Watson, our dear Watson, has brought new life to how fashion consumers view clothing, which I hope will propel a rippling effect...even a tiny one.

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  1. I am not a fan of her outfit, but I can appreciate the message that she is trying to send.