Vivienne Westwood born on April 8th, 1941 in Derbyshire, England, was a teacher who grew up in an area where she didn’t think she could do any of the things that she did. She claims it’s Malcolm McLaren, her second husband, who opened up her view of the world and introduced her to everything she knows now. She became a fashion designer and is credited with bringing the 70’s punk music influence into the fashion world.
It was in 1971, when her husband at the time, Malcolm McLaren, opened a boutique shop in London and began selling Westwood’s designs that were punk-inspired. This boutique became an important fashion Center for the punk movement. When Malcolm became the manager of the Sex Pistols, Westwood designed and dressed the band. Her designs are what helped shape the band’s identity.
As the punk movement began to fade away, Westwood decided to try something new and came out with her Pirate collection. She is known for being a rebel in the fashion industry. When other designers like Calvin Klein and Donna Karan began selling slip dresses and straight-leg jeans in the 90s, Westwood went in a different direction with 17th and 18th century inspired corsets and crinolines. She was even putting men in dresses before it was trendy.
Vivienne Westwood’s designs are often filled with slogans and political calls to action. She’s an activist for climate change, civil rights, freedom of speech, and much more. now that her current husband Andreas is now in charge of the brand, she is able to focus on her activism for climate change. Vivienne Westwood has created a website with a 12-page manifesto on climate change. She believes fighting for climate change is more important to her now than fashion.
In 2012 Vivienne Westwood inaugurated the climate revolution at the London Paralympics closing ceremony. She continues to rally to take action against disengaged political leaders and big businesses. She is a passionate sponsor of Cool Earth and its work to save the rainforest and stop climate change. Vivienne Westwood is also an ambassador for Greenpeace, and in 2013 together they designed their official ‘Save the Arctic’ logo. Vivienne Westwood is also a Trustee of the human rights organization Liberty and a patron of Reprieve.
In 2015 she partnered with Greenpeace again and they launched a global campaign to stop drilling and industrial fishing in the area.
For the past 20 years, Vivian has campaigned and fundraised for the Environmental Justice Foundation, Friends of the Earth, Amnesty International, War child, and many other charities and campaigns. Many shows and products were made to raise money and build awareness around these causes.
The Brand’s Sustainability Efforts
Now that Vivienne Westwood has left her current husband Andreas Kronthaler in charge, he has done a lot to make sure that the Westwood brand stays true to her beliefs. Vivienne Westwood wants to use every second she can to fight climate change, and Andreas took over the Westwood brand is the best way for her to shift her focus to fight for what she believes in.
Andreas Kronthaler says that with the Westwood line they try to source everything as near to them as possible, using up deadstock and reusing things that were done before. He believes that consumption is the issue; making too many clothes just for them to be thrown away. Collections, collaborations, and catwalk shows are used to promote innovative design and campaigns for protecting life on earth. The brand promotes arts and culture, using its voice to mobilize people around climate change and human rights. They focus on three areas of work quality versus quantity, Gaia, and arts and culture.
With quality versus quantity, the brand is raising awareness of the environmental impact on overconsumption. They are urging consumers to buy less but better quality clothes and they are committed to making collections that meet this standard as well. they are constantly enhancing their efforts in sourcing raw materials with minimal social and environmental impact. They’re also committed to using sustainable fibers and fabrics as much as they can with low impact dyeing and processing.
The brand is reimagining waste by aiming to make the most of the resources that go into their products’ carbon while reusing, recycling, and reimagining them as they go. They even have full waste and recycling and reclamation facilities at their Green Logistics Hub.
Fashion Switch to Green
The Vivienne Westwood brand has created a fashion switch to a green flagship campaign, to lead ambitious climate action for a greener safer future for everyone. They are working with the British Fashion Council, and the Mayor of London, to reach out to other fashion brands and businesses to commit to switching to green energy suppliers or to a green energy tariff.
Vivienne Westwood is a fashion icon and has been pushing the culture forward by refusing to conform to it. She has continuously pushed the boundaries of fashion by daring to be different and has done it very successfully. Vivienne Westwood’s rebellious nature is what has always set her apart. It’s her hard work, persistence, and boldness that led her and the brand to where it is today. She’s a huge force in the movement towards more sustainable fashion. Now she’s focused on her website, making sure that her campaigns for climate change are heard. From taking on the fashion world to taking on the world, she is an inspiration to many to fight for what they believe in, and what they love.