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Viva la Vivenne! Westwood sticks it to high fashion again


Early last week, Dazed Digital released a micro-documentary of Dame Vivienne Westwood, the queen of punk fashion, who returned to London’s Fashion Week after nine years away with her ready-to-wear Red Label line. In the video, she reiterates her decidedly against-the-fashion-grain message that people can be fashionable without having to keep buying, buying, buying. 

“I think that fashion is like sustainable clothes. My message is don’t buy a lot, but really choose something. I think to see someone wearing something over and over again, rather than buying clothes that spend more time in the washing machine than on your back and end up as landfill and what the f*&k are they, they’re just awful stamped-up clothing. And I just think it’s a way of trying to show people that you’re engaged in things.”

The London Telegraph reported that the ever-opinionated designer politicized her runway show by dressing a male model in “Guantanamo Orange” skivvies that read “Fair Trial My Arse,” and had another model holding a sign defending the rights of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

"We need a whole change in ethic, otherwise we really are heading for disaster," said the iconic designer, who often peppers her shows with political messages, Reuters reported her saying. Reuters also mentioned that the Red Label show goody bags, which would normally be filled with swag, held petitions and donation forms for charities.

The flame-haired Ms. Westwood also claims to want to practically give her clothes to people, so she makes them quite affordable. Unfortunately, sweatshop-made clothes are still much cheaper and more readily available than Vivienne’s creations, but hopefully her progressive message will spread more through the fashion industry.

So far it has worked at least with Westwood’s former intern, the Vancouver-based designer Nicole Bridge, who produces the sustainable line Oqoqo.

“Hanging out with [Westwood], I realized you could still be who you are and be successful. That you didn’t have to sell out and get caught up in the hype of everything…she really showed me that you can use your talent or your drive as a sort of venue for something that’s meaningful for you. And for her, it was definitely the anarchist movement, and for myself, the environmental movement.”