Sustainable Designer: Vivienne Westwood

pic: vogue


I’m so excited to see a top-tier designer such as Vivienne Westwood becoming an environmentalist and taking a stand on sustainability.

In January Dame Westwood, as she is now known, launched the Ethical Fashion Africa Project in collaboration with the International Trade Center, the joint body of the United Nations and World Trade Organization. The launch consisted of three limited edition bags made from recycled materials. They sold out almost immediately.

The new Ethical Bag collection is handmade by men and women in Nairobi and made from recycled materials including electric wiring, tent canvas, aluminum, and plastic bags. Westwood says of the project “It gives people control over the lives.  Charity doesn’t give them control. It’s the opposite; it makes them dependent.” The project aims to create jobs in impoverished communities by teaching women in those communities real skills. You can buy the bags here.

As a climate-change campaigner, Westwood believes in creating options that don’t exploit the environment. “It’s quite incredible to think we might save the world through fashion,” she adds.

Westwood also believes in quality over quantity. In the June 2011 issue of British, she says “What I’m really saying is, buy less and choose well. I would like quality rather than quantity. I don’t believe growth is okay if it means one man’s advantage is another man’s disadvantage. I try to concentrate on quality clothing and accessories that are worth having, and to get my people to take less trips by air and stay longer each time they travel. It’s more human”

She is a supporter of The Prince’s Rainforest Project

You go Dame Westwood!

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