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Festival News, Corporate Partnerships, Sustainability

Spotlight on Sustainable Fashion

Countess Ulrike Walderdorff winner of the EPA & Wexford Festival Opera Green Night fashion award 2023, with Andy Fanning (EPA), Ruth O'Connor (EPA) and Randall Shannon (WFO Executive Director). Photo Patrick Browne

Countess Ulrike Walderdorff winner of the EPA & Wexford Festival Opera Green Night fashion award 2023, with Andy Fanning (EPA), Ruth O'Connor (EPA) and Randall Shannon (WFO Executive Director). Photo Patrick Browne

Winner of the EPA & Wexford Festival Opera 2023 Green Night Fashion Award announced

This year, as part of the Festival's partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Wexford Festival Opera and the EPA encouraged opera goers to make sustainable fashion choices when choosing their evening outfits. This was to highlight the idea of a circular economy and to show that the way we shop and the choices we make daily can make a big difference to our environment.

Whether it's borrowing a bow-tie from a family member, raiding your wardrobe for that beautiful dress you wore many years ago, or finding the perfect pair of opera gloves in your local charity or vintage shop - every small change helps.

As part of the initiative, the Festival called on their audience across social media to share the sustainable outfit or outfit items they would wear to #EPAGreenNight to be in with a chance to win tickets to last night’s opera. After considering many entries, the EPA and Wexford Festival Opera selected an entry from Countess Ulrike Walderdorff, proprietor and the wonderful Artramon House in Castlebridge, Wexford, as the competition winner. Countess Ulrike is a regular opera-goer and shared her story of her sustainable item she would wear as part of her outfit.

In her entry, Countess Ulrike said “I would wear a green cape I have had since 1980. My late husband and I were married in 1980 and we took a four-week honeymoon to Artramon, combined with many nice trips, including to Donegal, where my husband bought me this cape. My initials were embroidered on the left side of the cape.”

Together with our competition winner, many members of the opera audience made sustainable choices in the outfits they wore and helped the Festival spread the message of sustainable fashion.

Warren Phelan, EPA Programme Manager, said ‘This year, by promoting sustainable fashion at Wexford Festival Opera, we hope to raise awareness of Ireland’s move towards a circular economy, and encourage everyone to play their part. A recent EPA survey showed that people in Ireland are happy to reuse and rewear clothes, with 70% of people saying they wear clothes until they wear out. Our purchasing habits are changing too with 23% of those surveyed saying they bought from a second hand or vintage shop in the past 12 months. These small changes add up, they support a circular economy and help protect our environment.’

Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA’s headquarters is based in Johnstown Castle Estate, Wexford and the Agency has been part of the local community for the last 25 years. It has worked with and supported Wexford Festival Opera for many years through various EPA-led initiatives to raise awareness on a variety of environmental issues.