Punk pioneer and Sustainable Fashion Queen launches sustainability initiative
The fashion outsider who rose to the top – Vivienne Westwood – has been at the peak of her game for more than 40 years. Starting as an out-and-out punk, the designer has become more mellow and sophisticated over time, but she’s always held onto the ethics she started out with. And she has always battled the establishment.
She may have been around for a while, but she is totally forward-looking. Her company is run highly sustainably, avoiding the use of anything that’s difficult to recycle, shunning the use of plastics and using recycled materials instead of polyester and acrylic. Sustainable leather holds a central part in so many of her creations.
And now the sprightly 79-year-old has partnered with not-for-profit organisation Canopy in an initiative to combat deforestation.
Westwood’s fashion label has released a video that celebrates the natural world while pointing out the huge impact the fashion industry has on the environment.
The video, entitled ‘Vivus,’ is produced by artist Aidan Zamiri and features a poem highlighting the beauty of the natural world, written and recited by model and activist Kai-Isaiah Jamal.
Vivienne Westwood’s Global Brand Director Christopher Di Pietro said: “Fashion has a disproportionate effect on the environment, and to remedy that we have for some time been changing the way we make clothes to reflect the need for the industry to change the way it operates.”
In keeping with the values of her company, Westwood uses leather sustainably sourced from Maasai tribespeople in Kenya.
She has supported projects in East Africa for more than ten years. Her ‘Handmade with Love’ bag collection has helped support thousands of people who were living in poverty. The unisex collection, which features totes, rucksacks and drawstring bags, was created from recycled materials found in Kibera, the largest slum area in Nairobi.
Working in collaboration with the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation, Vivienne Westwood’s production in Nairobi has stimulated the growth of ethical businesses and allowed locals to pursue an environmentally friendly way to make a living; and the initiative helped people learn artisan skills while providing them with a stable income.
Vivienne Westwood’s current collection includes stylish leather shoppers made from Maasai-sourced leather. The full grain leather is not buffed or sanded down, leaving it stronger and more durable. There is also more character because the hides are so unique!
Emblazoned with classic punk illustrations, they are a classic blend of the practical and the punky – all whilst being sustainable. A bit like Vivienne Westwood herself!
Vivienne Westwood’s sustainable shoppers featuring East African leather are available to purchase here.