Fighting Global Warming One Dress at a Time.

by admin on December 11, 2009

As thousands of activists, and leaders descend on Copenhagen to discuss climate change, here in Hollywood Costume Designer Kresta Lins, has taken the discussion a little farther, and started a public campaign.

Her mission:  To Green Hollywood One Costume At a Time. recyclelargeposter

Kresta’s green crusade started when she was writing green articles for the Costume Designers Guild newsletter. Her research for an article about recyclable materials in the costume department made her realize how much waste was never recycled due to the lack of information and proper systems for disposal.   But she didn’t stop there, Kresta took her mission to the next level, and created a dress “The Costume Department” dress, that would start a campaign that aims to educate and inspire the members of the entertainment industry to use less, recycle more and make Hollywood a greener industry.

Meet Kresta Lins, a costume designer with a mission to help Hollywood become greener by telling a story of recycling and sustainability through the art Sustainable Sirens 11-18of costume design.

MM -  Kresta, What motivated you to start on your mission?
KL - It all started with a link to the “LA City Department of Sanitation”, where I learned about the proper way to recycle and saw first hand how miss-informed I was about what can and can’t be recycled.  I’ve been working in the entertainment industry for over 12 years and the amount of paper and plastics we go through on a daily basis is shocking.  So much of what we use can be recycled but almost never gets disposed of correctly.

MM -  I know what you mean. As a Costume Designer myself, it bothers me the amount of trash we produce and although we try to recycle, sometimes I never know what to do with a lot of the waste. Why do you think Hollywood is not green enough?
KL – I think there is a disconnection between the people that organize the recycling systems and the actual execution of these systems.  Sometimes is as simple as not knowing where the recycle bins are, or not having the right information of what goes into which bin.  I think Hollywood wants to be greener, but there is a need for a department that coordinates the recycling program – green jobs so to speak, that helps the recycling process in the film industry with more PR and communication with the crew and employees.

MM – I can see that happening at some point.  So is that part of your mission, to green Hollywood?
KL - My main mission is to create awareness of what we could be doing to reduce waste and hopefully inspire folks to take action wherever they can.  That is why I created the first costume – The Costume Department dress.lethemrecycle

MM -  I love the dress you created, how did you come up with the idea?


KL - A little after I wrote an article about recyclable materials in the costume department, as I was watching The Duchess for the 15th time, I realized that panniers look a lot like laundry baskets… “That’s it!” – The rest hit me like a bolt of lightning. My mind raced as I realized that my two greatest passions—costume design and recycling—could come together to make a difference.

So I started with what I know best, Costume Design, and the materials that we use in the costume department such as old scripts, shopping bags, and created the first dress after an 18th century, Marie Antoinette -style gown, entitled “Let them Recycle!”

Cover_BackCov CDG spr09.inddAll the items used for the construction of the gown are recyclable materials.I used shopping bags, scripts, fashion magazines, hangers, laundry baskets, ink cartridges and dry cleaning bags.


Each item was used to mimic the extravagance of the era, including a wig made of dry cleaning bags.recycle-detail3

recycledetail1Old script pages of different colors are used as decoration as well as rosettes of recycled paper packaging and manila tags. The undergarments are also designed true to the period and incorporate a recycled denim corset and laundry basket panniers.

Once finished it was photographed and used for the cover of The Costume Designer magazine.Sustainable Sirens 11-18

MM – I heard the dress has been getting a lot of attention. What happened next?
KL – Since then, I teamed up with Lauren Selman, the founder of Reel Green Media, an environmental consulting company for the entertainment industry, and together we put together “The Sustainable Sirens” campaign project.

The project is designed around 6 costumes, each of them inspired by a different department in the film industry.  The first one is The Costume Department Dress – “Let them Recycle!” which has been in display in several boutiques and events around Los Angeles, and will soon be available as a poster.  My hope is that the poster will serve as an inspiration to use less and recycle more.kresta-w-corset

MM – So from concept to creation, what is your approach when you design one of these costumes?  How do you get inspired?
KL - I start by interviewing each department and asking them “What kind of waste do you produce in your department?”  Each department has different needs and therefore they consume different products.
For example the second dress of the campaign started by interviewing the Casting Department.  When I asked what kind of waste they produced, the answer was quite interesting; it was all about information disposal.  For example, CD’s, DVD’s head shot pictures, tons of scripts.  There were actually 3 towers of DVD’s that they were going to throw off.   So the concept emerged for the second costume entitled “Cast a Change”. The concept is a mermaid and the subject is e-waste and information disposal.   I won’t go into details now, because it’s not ready yet.  The “Cast a Change” costume will be done by the end of 2009, and you will be able to see it here at Designed by Hollywood.

MM – It seems that each dress has a story behind it doesn’t it?
KL - Yes, each dress has a story to tell about what choices we can make that are better for the environment.
When I became aware of what I could recycle, I reduced my trash to 50%, and I took those best practices to a show I just finished.  Yes it’s work, but it pays off at the end.


"Recycle This" Poster Photography by © Jason Holmes, Model Mather Louthe.

MM – What did you do exactly? I know a lot of us want to do something and don’t know what or how.
KL - We eliminated the use of tons of plastics and kept our paper use to a minimum.  When shopping, we used reusable shopping bags made of fabric.  We also used fabric garment bags to send clothes to the cleaners, and got them back in those bags as well, so we eliminated dozens of plastic bags, a day. Which translated to hundreds at the end of the show. We printed on the back of old scripts.  We also each had our own re-usable water bottles and coffee mugs – eliminating the need for single serving water bottles. We brought silver ware from home and used that instead of the plastic ones you get at the take-outs.  By implementing these changes we reduced our waste a lot.

MM -  What are the plans for the future?
KL - We are currently building an interactive website where site users
will be able to find information about the proper disposal of materials and alternative products in each costume.krestawindow
Once the 6 costumes are finished, they will be on public display in a variety of venues, and then will travel as an art exhibition to museums, award ceremonies and
events to educate the general public about waste reduction and sustainability.  Posters will be made and distributed to prop houses, costume rental shops, guilds, studios, high traffic production areas as well as production trailers.

MM -  Kresta in the eve of the Holidays, there is always so much waste of paper wrapping, Christmas decorations etc. Do you have any suggestions that will help us keep our waste to the minimum?
KL – Yes I have a lot; here are a few of my suggestions for a green Christmas.

  • Wrapping gifts in interesting newsprint, magazine pages or fabric scraps is a great way to reuse items that would otherwise get thrown away.  You can get super creative and decorate with items like bottle caps and the plastic netting from produce–look at your trash in a different way and get creative!
  • Items that make sustainability easier and fun make great gifts–especially for kids–there is some fun stuff out there like zero waste lunch kits and cool reusable bags.
  • What I like to do for holiday gifts is donate to a charity in the name of my family members.  I also request that in lieu of gifts that they do the same for me.  I have so much; I don’t need anymore “things.”  Giving to a cause you or your loved one believes in is the best gift–and it doesn’t require any boxes or gift-wrapping!!!

MM – Thank you so much Kresta.  I look forward to your next costume in “The Sustainable Sirens” campaign, and hope that each one of them helps our world last longer.

KL - My Pleasure!

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The Sustainable Sirens is a creative public service project designed to promote the most effective ways that the entertainment industry can reduce their waste and become more sustainable, through the design and promotion of six unique costumes made from the waste found in various departments of film, television and theater production.
Kresta Lins has been working in the film industry for over twelve years. She has worked on hit shows like Greyʼs Anatomy, Criminal Minds, Power Rangers and Hank. A graduate of Otis College of Art Design, in Fashion Design, Illustration, Costume History and Textile, Kresta is a member of Costume Designers Guild 892 and Motion Picture Costumers 705.

Lauren Selman, is the Founder of Reel Green Media, LLC, an environmental consulting company dedicated to environmental responsibility in the entertainment
industry. She is also an actress and producer. Lauren draws on her entertainment experience and environmental knowledge to frame decisive sustainability initiatives and goals for her clients.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

marie rim June 14, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Wow! This dress is beautiful ~ Thanks for sharing an important message and cool design! I went to the Sustainable Siren site to see more designs but had no luck. Are there images of the other dresses online? Thanks Kresta and Michelle for a great dialogue.

fabio December 13, 2009 at 10:47 am

Great article!!

moviestar couture December 12, 2009 at 3:03 pm

I’m also waiting for the poster to come out, so I can get a few and distribute them to my friends and co-workers.

valerie laven-cooper December 12, 2009 at 2:04 pm

As a board member at the cdg, I congratulate you on your honorable passion for costume design AND recycling.
I look forward to buying your poster and having it up on every project I do to inspire crews to be green.
And bravo for “The Sustainable Sirens” project. It will be so powerful when completed. the impact of your hard work will be far reaching.
LOVE what you are doing!

The cotton bags December 12, 2009 at 3:19 am

NIce blog . Reusable bag can also be recycle and 100% eco-friendly.

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