Dame Vivienne Westwood is an English fashion designer renowned for bringing the Punk movement mainstream. Westwood came to public notice when she made clothes for Malcolm McLaren's boutique in the King's Road, which became famous as "SEX". Throughout her career as a designer, she remains deeply inspired by the shock-value of punk and most of political causes she advocates are often voiced out in that manner.
Of the many political causes she ran for, she was most well known for her not-so-subtle, albeit tongue in cheek, stab at the political class in the 80s with her impersonation as Margaret Thatcher, with a suit that was allegedly custom-ordered by then the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Despite her impeccable sartorial skills, Dame Westwood rather let her voice be heard on social causes she cares for. Her most recent advocacy is on climate change, which she is contemplating leaving her work as a designer for. Dame Westwood does not like being called an environmental activist. Rather, she prefers the term “freedom fighter,” according to an interview with Metro, a UK publication distributed in the subways of London. “I’ve got a voice because I’ve got a lot of credibility as a fashion designer,” she says. “So I have been using my fashion for the last five or so years as a medium.”
How does a designer of luxury goods reconcile with her call for a more ecologically sustainable lifestyle? Dame Westwood says "it’s not a matter of “do as I say, not as I do.I ride a bicycle for convenience and I’m a person who doesn’t like to waste things.”
She further explained how sustainable living, through simple compromises now and then that eventually become fixed habits of our lives, is viable regardless of our passion for fashion or not.
THE WESTWOOD WAYBuy less: “Buy less, choose well and make it last. I really do think that people should exercise choice and not just consume without thought.” Go to art galleries: “The art lover is not consuming. He invests in the present world by engaging with the genius of the past. ‘You get out what you put in’ is my motto.” Read: “The best fashion accessory is a book.” Prepare your own food: “Buying and preparing your own food is to engage with the world. It gives you a sense of reality.” Do it yourself: “Wear a piece of beautiful fabric, borrow stuff from your friends, and style it in with your own clothes.”
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