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Top 3 Sustainable Design Competitions of 2012

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In just a decade, sustainable design has gone from obscurity to the international spotlight. This year, a series of sustainable design competitions across the globe are set to keep it front and center.

3. Red Carpet Green Dress
"What are you wearing?" may be the most asked question of celebrities on the red carpet, which is why it makes perfect sense to pair an A-list gal with a gorgeously designed "green" dress. This was part of the impetus behind Suzy Amis Cameron's Red Carpet Green Dress competition, which gives one lucky designer the opportunity to have his or her dress worn at the Oscars -- arguably one of the most highly anticipated events of the season. "In just three years, Red Carpet Green Dress has become an internationally recognized design contest that honors both environmental consciousness and glamour," says Suzy. "We're demonstrating that sustainability and great design can go hand in hand -- with a surprise actress wearing the gown on the single most anticipated red carpet." Tune in to the 84th Academy Awards this Feb. 26, 2012 to find out who it is.

2. Green Carpet Challenge

Not to be outdone on the walk down the red carpet is Livia Firth's Green Carpet Challenge, hosted on the vogue.co.uk blog. Now three years running, the competition kicked off the New Year with a new challenge: Get some of the world's biggest name designers, including Tom Ford, Chanel, Gucci, Stella McCartney, Yves St. Laurent, and others -- to design with eco-consciousness in mind. "The GCC has been... putting sustainable style in some of the biggest fashion arenas," says Livia. "The aim has always been to raise the profile of sustainable style and to prove ethics and a glamorous, aspirational aesthetic can absolutely co-exist."

"Last season we ended at the Met Ball and Stella McCartney made a bespoke GCC piece for me to wear," she recounts. "It was a natural springboard that this year we'd work with some of the biggest design names in the world. They work to our GCC criteria and it's been a fascinating and uplifting project. From Armani to Tom Ford to Lagerfeld, these guys are innovators so in a strange way working with ecological constraints and opportunities is a natural territory for them. They see this as the future and get very excited by it. Our goal is to get the GCC into as many areas of the fashion landscape as possible."

1. Source4Style's "DIY with IOU"

Designing in a more mindful way is hard to make a reality without the infrastructure to make sustainable design possible, which is the mission behind Source4Style. This Feb. 1, the B2B marketplace that connects designers directly to sustainable material suppliers teamed up with The IOU Project, an innovative fashion label connecting consumers directly to artisan-producers to announce DIY with IOU -- a sustainable design competition to find the next designer for The IOU Project "Made in NYC" Capsule Collection.

The competition ties together sustainable materials, transparency along the supply chain, and responsible B2B and B2C commerce. "IOWEYOU and Source4Style have a shared vision of opening up the transparency of fashion supply chains," says Kavita Parmar, co-founder of The IOU Project. "The question of where are your clothes made and under what conditions are increasingly relevant." The winning designer's piece gets sold at ABC Carpet & Home, www.theiouproject.com, and on Fab.com. The traceable madras material will also be sold exclusively on Source4Style for other designers to purchase. Click here to find out how to enter.