Jake Sully: [as he pleads for Eywa's help in attacking the Sky People] See the world where we come from: there's no green there. They've killed their mother, and they're going to do the same thing here.
While her husband James Cameron promotes understanding other cultures and saving the planet before it's too late in the mesmerizing "Avatar," Suzy Amis Cameron is advocating for global connections and ecology too. At MUSE Elementary School in Topanga, California that she founded with her sister Rebecca, kids get hands-on learning (following the Italian Reggio model, which respects children most of all) about many essential things - including respecting the earth. They do regular beach clean-up, raise and eat organic food, use non-toxic cleaning products, and in other ways model a sustainable lifestyle.
When "Avatar" was nominated for many awards including Best Picture, Suzy came up with a contest idea based on this theme: "Caring for the planet is always in fashion." Why not give designers a chance to design her dress for the red carpet at the Academy Awards and bring attention to the idea of designing a beautiful garment in a way that is kind to the earth, and be a fund raiser for kids to go to her school who wouldn't otherwise afford it? So she put the challenge out there to designers around the world for a dress created from organic or recycled materials, or raised in sustainable ways. Here is her video pitch. You might recognize her as a former Ford model and actress (in movies such as "Fandango" with Kevin Costner; postscript: thanks, Susie, for commenting that Suzy met Cameron on the set of "Titanic" in which she played Rose's granddaughter).
I wouldn't have known about this dress design contest if I hadn't noticed it when I opened my university's home page at work Thursday. It was there because the winner is Apparel & Textile Design senior Jillian Granz at Michigan State! This is from the press release:
When submitting her design, Granz recommended the dress be made from peace silk, which allows silk worms to complete their life cycle, rather than be boiled, as is the case with traditional silk. Granz also recommended a no-waste pattern, in which every part of the pattern is utilized and put into the final garment rather than being discarded.
She designed it in her special topics class: Innovative Approaches in Apparel Design, and submitted her entry along with 15 other classmates. Here is Jillian Granz on the phone when Suzy Amis Cameron called her with the news. They'll fly Jillian out for fittings with Suzy and the dressmaker, Academy Award-winning costume designer Deborah Scott (designed for "Avatar" but wasn't nominated for an Oscar this time), and then for a pre-Oscar party March 3 (the Academy Awards are March 7) where they'll unveil the dress. Imagine having your design career launched while you're still an undergraduate, wow. She must feel like the Queen of the World!