Her name and face are easy to recognize. She played in Fandango, Miami Vice, Titanic, Blown Away, Where the Heart is, Twister, The Usual Suspects and Judgement Day. She also modeled for Ford Motor Company. But she’s much more than a pretty face and a talented actress. She’s an advocate too. Among her many passions are education, healthy diets and environmental sustainability. In fact, “let’s create the world we want to live in” are some of the first words greeting visitors on her website. “If we don’t do something for our environments now,” she told Racked Los Angele, a fashion and lifestyle publication, “our children will turn around at some point in their lives and wonder why we didn’t do anything.” Determined and full of passion, the former model retired from acting and is using her platform to affect environmental change. Despite the name she’s made for herself in Hollywood, today, Suzy Amis Cameron is revered as an advocate and environmentalist. Unashamed of using her platform to leverage her cause, Cameron’s particularly interested in sustainable fashion.
Perhaps it’s her Oklahoma City roots, but Cameron has always enjoyed classic and simple fashion. “My personal style has developed from growing up in Oklahoma, middle America, where I was wearing jeans and cowboy boots,” she said during an interview with Vogue. After visiting Paris in her teens, she started following trends, but still managed to incorporate her roots into her evolving style. “For example,” she continued, “I would couple a cut miniskirt or minidress with my cowboy boots and experiment a little.” Since then, she’s opted for comfort and quality, something she’s managed to do with good conscious until 2009, the year her husband, director James Cameron, started his press tour for Avatar. While looking for the perfect dress to attend the Oscars, a friend encouraged her to create a global contest, allowing designers from all over the world to sketch, create and submit dress designs worthy of the Red Carpet made out of sustainable materials. To her surprise and absolute amusement, the one year contest evolved into a full on campaign promoting sustainable high fashion. The mission of “Red Carpet Green Dress,” is to create Oscar worthy dresses and tuxedos that reduce textile waste and pollution. Issues such as the design’s total carbon footprint and the quality of renewable fabrics are all considered before deciding the winning garments.
“Through Red Carpet Green Dress we want to set the right trends and to provoke the right thoughts. We can use fashion to create positive impact through the way we design, what we make, what we throw away and how we reuse things,” Cameron explained. Over the last five years, winning designs have been composed with organic peace silk, dead-stock 100% wool, madder root, certified hemp and silk chiffon, and recycled polyester. Further emphasizing sustainability, most designs were either hand dyed or colored with minerals, chamomile and goldenrod seeds, logwood or hemp. Last year’s winner left the Red Carpet gaping as Gina Rodriguez graced the Red Carpet in a cobalt blue fitted dress designed by Manon Gabard. Made from 100% Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) peace silk, the design was dyed with low impact GOTS dye. While Hollywood is loving the intersection between high fashion and sustainability, Cameron hopes to see this kind of fashion in everyday wear as well. “Red Carpet Green Dress isn’t just about a beautiful dress,” she told Frockology, a modern century virtual couture studio. “It’s nice to have a pretty sustainable dress on the red carpet at the Oscars, but we all need clothes every single day. So we are looking at creating a line of clothes that is sustainable and that is in a price range for people to be able to afford because it’s so difficult to find them.” That’s right, Cameron is looking to create her own sustainable fashion line later this year.
It’s not everyday that fashion and environmentalism meet face to face, but Suzy Amis Cameron has made it happen. Using their platform to affect positive social change, both she and her husband have enlarged their platforms for the better. In fact, a large percent of the proceeds from Red Carpet Green Dress go to M– USE, Cameron’s Reggio-inspired, independent, not for profit school located in the Topanga area of Los Angeles. A year ago, the school, thanks to the campaign’s gracious funding, became the first school in the country to have a 100% plant-based diet lunch program. Just like the school’s mission statement, Cameron’s life philosophy is to live consciously for herself, for others and for the planet. Not only is she doing just that, she’s adorned in a classy Red Carpet gown while making it happen. It seems to safe to say, she’s established a platform worthy of praise.