Kate Middleton and Prince William make green style choices at Earthshot Prize ceremony

The British royals repeated outfits they had previously worn, drawing attention to the environmental impact of fashion

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made eco-friendly style choices at the Earthshot Prize ceremony, held in London on Sunday night.

For the awards, in which five nominees won £1 million ($1.3m) in prize money and a global network of support for their environmental solutions to repair the planet, Prince William wore a green velvet jacket and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge opted to wear an Alexander McQueen Grecian-inspired gown.

Prince William, who launched the Earthshot Prize with Sir David Attenborough in 2020, went for a notably off-book look. Royal watchers are used to seeing him wear various combinations of shirts and jackets, be it tuxedos, sports jackets or blazers. However, for the event he wore a green velvet jacket paired with an autumn-appropriate black turtleneck. The velvet jacket was a repeat, first worn for Centrepoint charity's 50th-anniversary gala in November 2019.

Kate repeated a fan-favourite gown by Alexander McQueen. The Grecian-style piece was last worn publicly in 2011 at a Los Angeles Bafta gala during the couple's North American tour.

Ten years on, the dress was styled similarly by the royal. On both occasions, she wore sparkling drop earrings, but she has changed the belt. In 2011, she wore an entirely sequinned belt with a matching handbag; while in 2021, she wore a silver beaded belt, which resembles the one worn with her second wedding dress in April 2011. Both of her wedding dresses were designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen.

Environmental impact of fashion

The environmental toll of fashion, particularly fast fashion, is a global problem. According to Berlin environmental charity Sustain Your Style, the fashion industry is the "second largest polluter in the world just after the oil industry".

The single-use approach to fashion is the focus of many environmental organisations. Royals and celebrities are often the centre of conversation, as they seemingly wear new garments for every public engagement. However, in recent years, many have drawn attention to recycling looks or borrowing for red-carpet events.

"Clothing has clearly become disposable. As a result, we generate more and more textile waste," says Sustain Your Style. "A family in the western world throws away an average of 30 kilogrammes of clothing each year. Only 15 per cent is recycled or donated, and the rest goes directly to the landfill or is incinerated.

"Synthetic fibres, such as polyester, are plastic fibres, therefore non-biodegradable and can take up to 200 years to decompose. Synthetic fibres are used in 72 per cent of our clothing."


Take a look inside the Earthshot Prize ceremony in the gallery below:

Updated: October 18th 2021, 8:53 AM