A Sustainable Star: Zendaya to Be Honored as a 'Visionary' at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards

Zendaya arrives at the GQ Men of The Year Awards 2019 on November 28, 2019, in Sydney, Australia.
Zendaya arrives at the GQ Men of The Year Awards 2019 on November 28, 2019, in Sydney, Australia.
Photo: Brendon Thorne (Getty Images)

She’s the youngest actress to win an Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Emmy—and as it turns out, she’s an ecological winner, too! Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) reports that actress and fashion icon Zendaya will be awarded the 2020 Visionary Award at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards (GCFAs), an Italian-based awards ceremony that will be produced virtually this year on October 10 on YouTube by brand consultancy Eco-Age and the Camera della Moda (the National Chamber of Italian Fashion), in partnership with the Italian government.


“Italy was one of the first countries to go through the pandemic and through so much pain,” Livia Firth, founder of Eco-Age told WWD of the revamped ceremony. “We can see this event as a sign of rebirth.”

The ceremony’s star honoree also reflects the energy of the moment. “Zendaya has long championed inclusivity and diversity, she is a real trailblazer,” Firth said in a virtual press conference announcing this year’s production, which may include the use of “holograms, augmented reality and special effects on the experience” in its pivot to a virtual format. This year’s event will be hosted by Robert Downey Jr., who is also the founder of the FootPrint Coalition, “an initiative to use AI technology against pollution, and which is mission-aligned with the awards,” reports WWD. Supermodel Iman is also among the scheduled celebrity appearances.

In addition to being a producer on her hit HBO series Euphoria and other projects, it’s worth remembering that Zendaya’s growing profile not only includes show-stopping red carpet appearances but her own capsule collection with Tommy Hilfiger. In addition to proudly employing an all-Black glam squad, “Daya,” as she’s fondly known in her crew, also booked an all-Black cast of models for her Hilfiger debut in the spring of 2019 in Paris, evoking the famed Battle of Versailles.

Given Zendaya’s always direct stance on race in America and our current global conversations, she was apparently an obvious choice of honoree this year. “Firth also said the event ‘could not transcend’ from the current events, the pandemic, the fires, the social movements, including Black Lives Matter.” Quoting Firth, WWD reports: “We wanted the awards to speak about values.”

It’s an admirable goal—but of course, the GCFAs are ultimately about sustainability, and as Andrew Morgan, director of the revealing 2015 fashion documentary The True Cost and co-author of a short film for this year’s GCFAs, said at the press conference, “we have gone from being bystanders to being actively engaged” in preserving our environment—or so we hope, since all our futures ultimately depend upon it.


“Creativity is the way out,” Morgan said of the GCFAs. “This is a platform to broadcast change, to create real lasting change.”

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?