Samata Pattinson is a cultural sustainability pioneer and CEO of RCGD Global – a women-led initiative spearheading sustainable fashion on the red carpet at big Hollywood events (such as the Oscars). Here, she shares her best fashion advice, the one piece she’d save in a fire and why no other city can beat LA’s second hand stores and flea markets.
Deciding what to wear each morning is… a conscious process of deciding what message I want to convey.
I choose my look each day depending on…what I have going on that day. My looks vary depending on if I’m in a full day of Zoom meetings, in-person meetings, or if I have an event.
It takes me anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour to get ready because… I have a daily routine that allows me to look fresh while getting out the door quickly. When I have events though I do enjoy taking my time getting ready to savour the moment.
My biggest weakness is… perfectionism. Everything is about compromises and my wardrobe isn’t full of natural fibres or second-hand buys. Sometimes I am torn about messaging versus efficiency but at the end of the day, we can only do the best we can and be kind to ourselves.
The one fashion piece I would save in a fire is… my archive-certified burnt orange silk dress from Vivienne Westwood, which I’ve worn on several occasions. It’s become even more special to me over the years.
My style in three words: conscious, fun, comfortable.
My relationship with fashion is… evergreen. I have loved fashion since I was a kid. However, my perception of the fashion industry has changed over the years in the sense that I am more critical now and I am not afraid of wanting to change it for the better.
Heels or flats?
Depends on where I’m going …but for the Oscars? Heels!
My style icon is… the late Dame Vivienne Westwood because there truly was no one like her. To me, she was not just a style icon, but a true role model and forever inspiration because she made no apologies for being who she was.
My favourite time of year to dress for is… summer! I find the warmer weather makes getting dressed in the morning almost effortless. Feeling good and looking good can be as simple as a putting on a dress and a few accessories. Living in Los Angeles makes it very easy!
Best style advice I’ve ever gotten… wear what you feel comfortable in. Fashion is an important form of self expression and it allows for creativity to blossom. Going through my wardrobe and styling pieces that I haven’t worn in a while makes me more conscious of my purchase habits and forces me to think outside the box.
The 3 ingredients of a good outfit are… comfort, confidence and personality.
My current favourite piece of clothing is… my Fear of God sweats.
Three wardrobe staples everyone should invest in: a sewing kit, a transformational piece that can be worn in multiple ways (dressed up or down, day to night) and a gift from someone you love (a family member or friend) as it’s something you’ll probably never want to get rid of.
If I could raid one person’s wardrobe it would be… Lisa Bonet.
My favourite fashion era is… right now. Mainly for the improvements and the conversation on sustainability that we can all witness in our time!
I feel most confident when… wearing my clothes, as opposed to my clothes wearing me.
Outfit with the most sentimental meaning: A Ghanaian kaftan my mum made for me.
My best vintage find… anything from Beyond Retro in London or on East Street or Portobello Road.
Fashion is about… expressing yourself. It’s important to ask yourself how your clothes make you feel. I want my clothes to make me feel enhanced, protected, seen and understood, comforted, dignified, beautiful and cultured.
The most worn item in my wardrobe is probably… my favourite pair of Levi 501 jeans that I have had for years now.
The last thing I bought was… embellished fabric from downtown LA to make some headwraps!
On weekends I tend to wear… a pair of jeans, an oversized t-shirt or a maxi dress.
The piece I have my eye on right now is… a beautiful House of Amma piece – anything from their collection Bloodroot: Into the Archives FW22 or anything Kasia Kulenty.
The second-hand/vintage platforms I shop on are… I’m a fan of the app ByRotation, which is a rental service. I think it’s such a fantastic idea especially for event dressing.
Best city for second-hand shopping
Definitely Los Angeles. No other city can beat their second-hand stores and flea markets!
Biggest misconception about shopping second hand/thrifting?
That pre-loved, vintage or legacy fashion items don’t have as much fresh appeal as store-bought new fashion. That’s so far from the truth.
Best sustainable fashion tips?
Interpret sustainability through your own lens. The conversation is often dominated by people telling others what sustainability looks like, but you can’t do that as we all have different starting points. Telling someone to buy the best quality out there doesn’t make sense if they don’t have the funds to do that for themselves. Some forms of sustainability are aspirational. Remember that sustainability is nuanced so do what you love, don’t let anyone shame you out of the conversation because your sustainability looks different to theirs. Vintage, artisan, handmade, plant-based, there is so much out there.
I got into second hand fashion because… I love being able to find unique pieces. I love hunting through everything to find something truly special. It also makes me feel good to buy something second-hand rather than brand new.
Tell us about this year’s Oscars sustainable dress code
Our Sustainable Style Guide provides an extensive collection of tips and recommendations to help readers build a more sustainable wardrobe, whether it be for the Oscars red carpet or everyday life. This guide was distributed to the attendees of this year’s Oscars ceremony with the aim being to prompt them to consciously choose their looks. The guide was designed to make the journey towards a sustainable lifestyle easier and we do this through the use of common language rather than industry jargon, easy tips, practical solutions and equipping readers with information on what to look for, inline with a focus they are genuinely interested in.