In the Miss Universe pageant in 2022, Miss Thailand, Anna Sueangam-iam, wore a wholly upcycled dress made purely out of soda cans and Swarovski crystals, complimenting Sueangam-iam and the designer house, Manirat, causing an uproar in the fashion and beauty industry. With their shared ideals for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Responsible Consumption and Production, this dress reflected Sueangam-iam’s and Manirat’s brands and advocations of sustainability and putting an end to fast fashion, whether through personal practices or company apparel production. This moment sparked interest and a learning opportunity for everyone around the world and left people questioning, are Hollywood icons and brands helping the fashion industry get on its way to becoming sustainable?
Walking the Miss Universe pageant, hundreds of women make their way across the stage, but the Manirat-designed dress that Sueangam-iam donned was the most influential by far with completely upcycled soda can tabs and touches of Swarovski crystals. This dress, as well as Sueangam-iam’s presence and promotion of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Responsible Consumption and Production in the fashion industry, shared with the world why mindfulness of consumption and production of fast fashion clothing is harmful. According to Earth.org, 92 million tons of clothes-related waste are discarded each year, producing half a million microplastics. When the soda can tab dress was unveiled, it became an instant thought provoker and helped the realization of the SDGs become more of a reality, pushing other Hollywood icons and influencers to promote sustainable fashion alongside Sueangam-iam.
According to Sueangam-iam’s Instagram, not only was this dress an advocation for sustainable fashion but it was also an ode and tribute to her garbage collector father and street-sweeper mother who taught Sueangam-iam from a young age how to consume and produce daily life items sustainably. This carried on into her run in the Miss Universe 2022 pageant, and from sentiment to mindfulness, this dress spoke wonders in familial and sustainable terms and continues to do so to this day.
After this marvellous event took place, many Hollywood icons and influencers around the world started taking more initiative to push for sustainable fashion. Even beforehand, they began shifting the industry for the better. For example, singer Billie Eilish created two lines with Nike for vegan Air Force One’s and Air Jordan’s which don’t contain leather. As well, singer Rihanna release a clothing line under her brand, Fenty Beauty, that was purely faux-leather.
It is easier than most think to help promote Responsible Consumption and Production; even things as simple as skipping one in six washing loads, washing half loads at below 30 degrees and substituting every sixth dryer usage with open-air drying can reduce consumer emissions by more than half.
“She has that transformational leadership quality that the new organization has been looking for in its next winner,” pageant expert Adam Genato told CNN Philippines as Sueangam-iam won the Transformational Leadership Award at the Miss Universe pageant for her qualities in being the ideal candidate for Miss Universe and the sustainable world. The up-cycled soda can tab dress worn in front of millions was one of the biggest talks of the year, and even to this day, it still shows progress and movement with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Responsible Consumption and Production in the fashion industry.
For more information about the statistic used in this article, please visit Earth.org