A large amount of the fashion industry’s sustainability dialogue is focused on how we can make new clothes less wastefully, through initiatives like lowering water use, innovating new materials or upcycling dead stock. Less is said about the simplest form of waste reduction: Re-wearing old clothes. Zendaya proved just how covetable vintage clothing can be last night, when she opted to wear an archive Versace gown to the (virtually hosted) Green Carpet Fashion Awards.
The recent Emmy winner, who took home the Visionary Award for her efforts to promote inclusivity in the film industry, wore a brown sequinned column dress from Gianni Versace’s autumn/winter ’96 collection. As her stylist Law Roach shared on Instagram later that evening, the year holds a special significance for the 24-year-old—it’s the year she was born.
Despite increased calls for sustainable red carpet fashion, the presence of vintage is still something of a rarity for major Hollywood events. Jennifer Aniston wore a vintage Galliano for Dior bias-cut gown to the SAG Awards in February, Kim Kardashian wore ’04 Alexander McQueen to the Vanity Fair Oscars After Party in January and Gwyneth Paltrow wore a couture Valentino gown from the ’60s at the 2019 Emmys. But these cases are the exception, not the rule.
Having women like Zendaya champion second-hand style only serves to make vintage more aspirational, especially for her legion of young followers, many of whom have grown up acclimatised to the environmentally disastrous ‘fast fashion’ industry. When you can look this good in 20-year-old clothes, why wouldn’t you?