The Duchess of Cambridge attended the Tusk Conservation Awards in London on Thursday wearing a teal chiffon and lace Jenny Packham gown that she had worn six years ago to a concert marking the countdown to the London Olympics. As headlines praising “thrifty Kate” for also recycling her accessories – a matching Jenny Packham clutch, Jimmy Choo Vamp sandals and chandelier earrings on loan from the Queen’s collection – began to circulate, one might ask why rewearing a dress is still something to be commended for.
The Duchess originally commissioned Packham to make a bespoke version of her Aspen wedding gown for the May 2012 Olympic celebration. The Swarovski crystal-embellished bodice and belted pleated skirt with crystal and flower adornment were all reworked in brilliant blue-green for impact – a feature that would obviously make the dress easily identifiable should she wear it again.
But, as sustainability slowly starts to become an inescapable conversation, why does red-carpet wear not fit into the forum of rewearing fashion? The Duchess is often photographed sporting the slim-fit Zara jeans and Penelope Chilvers boots that have become her staples, but if she “recycles” a gown, it generates numerous column inches. When red-carpet wear is the most labour-intensive and least cost-effective category, keeping it within the fashion system should be the norm. We need to retrace our footsteps to make it so – and a high profile figure, like the Duchess, is a welcome step in the right direction.
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This article first appeared on Vogue.com