Charity Meets: Vivienne Westwood Spring 2014
Vivienne Westwood likes to make a statement with her fashion. In 2010 she showcased DIY fashion with re-purposed fabrics and table cloths. Last month, she led her team on a march from Battersea bridge to Knightsbridge. Her voice stands shoulders above the rest. Never silenced. Roaring on.
” I spend my time trying to understand the world we live in. You have to understand the past to know anything about where we are now, and you do that through culture. You gonna get out what you put in.”
Westwood studied fashion and silversmithing at the Harrow School of Art, University of Westminster but made the decision to leave after just one term .
“I took as my main subject dress design. So I was interested in it. But it was more because I wanted to make myself clothes and make better clothes. So I left after a term because they didn’t teach you any of that. They just wanted you to sit there and do drawings and that didn’t interest me. ”
So she put her dreams on hold and took a job in a factory. Following this she attended a teacher-training college and successfully became a primary school teacher. During this time, her creative passion was still there and she designed her own jewellery, which she sold at a stall on Portobello Road.
The three time British Designer of The Year has a heart towards creating fashion that brings attention towards many causes.
“I use it as a vehicle because I’m well known and I have a credibility in this fashion world after all this time. It’s got to a point where a collection is not at all about ‘Save the Arctic,’ but we superimposed this idea on what was, in fact, this season a medieval inspiration. “I talk to fashion designers and say I want some money to save the rainforest and they say, ‘Oh, I agree with you completely Vivienne. Yes, climate change, it’s definitely happening,’ but they don’t feel that they can do anything about it, they don’t even think ‘Well let’s stop it!’”
The Vivienne Westwood Ethical Fashion Initiative Bags are created in Nairobi and are “Handmade with love”. They are created in collaboration with the Ethical Fashion Initiative of the International Trade Centre which supports the work of so many women micro-producers in marginalized African communities. They help to empower and put confidence into informal manufacturers and craftspeople so that they will be confident enough to go into the international value chain. Consequently this ensures that there is an income for the poorest people in the world.
Many designers are champions in evoking change through fashion and philanthropy. But Westwood’s voice rings the loudest of them all. “Buy less, choose well. Don’t keep buying things for the sake of it.” Only buy what you need.