Fashion

The Oscars Red Carpet Is Back. Who’s Watching?

The Red Carpet Returns (For Real This Time)

  • The Academy Awards will be held on March 27
  • After a pared-back 2021 ceremony, this year is playing out more like pre-pandemic events, with plenty of parties, dinners and screenings
  • Luxury brands still see the Oscars red carpet as a top marketing moment, though its importance has waned along with the event’s ratings

The awards show publicity machine is running full-bore for the first time in two years, much to the relief of luxury brands, stylists, makeup artists and the rest of the celebrity-fashion industrial complex. The week leading up to the Oscars was packed with opportunities for celebrities to pose for the cameras, from events hosted by W, Vanity Fair and Essence to duelling pre-show parties thrown by Armani and Chanel on Saturday. Post-show, the Vanity Fair Oscar party is back after a one-year hiatus.

The big question is who will show up for the main event tonight. The stars will walk the red carpet (presumably including Rachel Zegler), and brands have no doubt spent months sparring over who gets to dress them. But how many will be watching from home, or rushing to Instagram to check out the best looks? Last year’s scaled-back Oscars were a dud, with a sharp drop in ratings and interest generally (Google searches for last year’s ceremony were down by two-thirds from 2019). Some live events, including the Super Bowl and the ongoing NCAA college basketball tournament, have seen viewership rise this year. But the Oscars may be more like the Winter Olympics, which was also appointment viewing in the monoculture but has struggled to resonate when people have more entertainment options.

The Bottom Line: From a fashion perspective, the most likely scenario is for the Oscars to continue their pre-pandemic transition from the year’s singular style moment to just another event.

A Roadmap for Regulation

  • The EU is expected to lay out its plans to create a more sustainable fashion and textile industry on March 30
  • The sustainable textile strategy will provide a roadmap for policy actions
  • Fashion is facing increased scrutiny from regulators globally, as governments seek to crack down on greenwashing and meet climate goals

The fashion industry is notoriously under-regulated, but governments are increasingly taking aim at the sector, targeting its environmental impact, labour rights abuses and overblown sustainable marketing claims.

The European Union has made textiles a key focus of the European Green Deal, which aims to shift the bloc to a climate-neutral and circular economy. Exactly what that means in practice for fashion is about to get a lot clearer. The EU is expected to publish its sustainable textile strategy on Wednesday, essentially laying out its plan of action to create a more sustainable industry. The plans form part of a suite of legislative proposals globally that could reshape the industry.

The Bottom Line: Stronger regulation is seen as a critical lever to shift the fashion industry to more sustainable and responsible business practices. Brands and retailers should be watching developments closely.

Sarah Kent contributed this item.

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