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Saturday, 06 March 2010

‘Don’t buy clothes! Stop all consumerism! Why not protect this gift of life while we have it? Maybe surprisingly, it was Vivienne Westwood saying this after presenting her last collection during London Fashion Week in February.

It’s not the first time Dame Vivienne campaigns against climate change. In a 2007 interview she spoke out against what she perceives as the ‘drug of consumerism’. She created a manifesto of Active Resistance to Propaganda which deals with the pursuit of art in relation to the human predicament and climate change. In 2009, she arrived by bike at the première of The Age of Stupid, a film aiming to motivate the public to act against climate change. Against the claim that anti-consumerism and fashion contradict each other, she said in 2007 that ‘I don't feel comfortable defending my clothes. But if you've got the money to afford them, then buy something from me. Just don't buy too much’.

She went on to say she wants to try other challenges, including a television series on art and science. Or what about the surprising collaboration with SIGG, the makers of the original Swiss reusable aluminium bottles? To build awareness around the unnecessary waste and harm that is caused to the environment by purchasing and throwing away plastic, Westwood and SIGG have partnered to create a limited series of design bottles. The bottles will be exclusively available to invited guests and backstage at the Westwood shows in Milan, Paris and London, with only a limited number available in the corporate SIGG web shop following the catwalk shows.

Westwood’s attitude might seem strange for a fashion designer who produces several collections a year and is part of an industry that is nothing if not about consumers. To this she says: ‘I'm not here to defend [being a fashion designer], it's something I do. I didn't want to do it in the first place, I wanted to read books, but I knew I was good at it. But don't consume crap, make a choice’. And if you can’t afford the Dame’s costly designs, you could always hunt for one of her SIGG bottles.

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