The Queen of Punk Endorses Upcycling…

19 May

I have just finished reading this article in the June issue of Marie Claire about Vivienne Westwood‘s mission to save the world!

Renowned as the ‘Queen of Punk’, Viv is now developing a reputation as an eco-pioneer, and using her status and influential character to promote her thoughts and hopes for the future.

In the article she talks about how she has always been concerned about climate change and is inspired by James Lovelock‘s Gaia theory. The name Gaia was chosen so people would think of the earth of a human being. His theory revolves around the idea that it’s going to get so hot within one or two generations that nearly all the earth will be uninhabitable for human beings.

“Lovelock hoped humans would evolve into something more wonderful. The history of the human race is punctuated by our cleverness: we create one invention after the other.”

Westwood questions why humans cut down trees when they provide us with oxygen and food…

“So why are we, humans, so intent on destroying the thing that gives us life?”

Marie Claire Vivienne Westwood

Westwood is also promoting more sustainable ideas for the fashion industry and its’ consumers…

“The first thing I’ve been doing is promoting the idea of ‘do it yourself’. Make your own T-shirt by putting a picture in a plastic sleeve and pinning it on. Whatever!”

She is also hot on the idea of encouraging consumers to buy less but choose well, opting for investment pieces that will last longer…

“Nearly everyone in the fashion industry is on a train, producing too much stuff. I would like quality, not quantity. I don’t believe in growth if it means one man’s advantage is another man’s disadvantage.”

Marie Claire

As someone who also supports the idea of ethical and sustainable fashion I agree with Westwood’s views very strongly.

I believe my fondness for vintage fashion has a lot to do with this. To me, vintage is the most sustainable form of fashion as nothing new is being produced. Plus the methods of making clothing used to be a lot more energy-efficient, especially back in the 1940s and 50s when everything was made by hand! The styles have already remained desirable for this long and will continue to look timeless and cool no matter how many trends come and go, or last season’s garments are tossed out to make room for next season!

However, how can someone whose business is producing new clothing have conflicting views on the subject?

“The only thing I have the power to do is to close my business down, but I’ve never seriously considered it. If people bought fewer clothes and made better choices they would start to understand value for money.”

Vivienne Westwood

An extreme example of upcycling!

The article continues to dig deeper into ways of consuming differently to help fight global warming, e.g. apparantly one of the most efficient ways to save energy woudl be to change our diets. Paul McCartney has started a ‘Meat-Free Monday’ campaign, which could make an amazing difference.

Westwood goes on to say she’d like to make a TV series called ‘Get a Life!’ about making the world more habitable for humans. She also wants to encourage people to ‘get a life’ in more mind-opening ways such as visiting galleries or listening to different types of music…

“Every time I look up a word in the dictionary I get a real sense of satisfaction at learning something.”

Ending on a good note, Viv’ concludes the interview with a few words of wisdom…

“Your time is precious, so don’t just sit around and suck things up. Invest in things, fight for something.
My motto is, ‘You get out what you put in‘.”

To voice her views further, Vivienne Westwood has collaborated with ethical fashion label People Tree to produce this limited edition dress. Made from 100% fair-trade organic cotton, £7 of every sale will also be donated to the Society for Human Development, which supports the women of the Garo tribe who love in the Madhupur forest region of Bangladesh.

90% of their native forest land has been destroyed by logging- placing them and their livelihood, at risk.

The cotton used to produce these dresses is made in Gujarat, India so sales will also help the workers there earn a fair wage.

I love a good deed or two!

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