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Vivienne Westwood, eco pioneer: interview, Marie Claire

Vivienne Westwood, eco pioneer: interview, Marie Claire

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More than a fashion designer extraordinaire, V. Westwood is an eco pioneer on a mission to save the world.
More than a fashion designer extraordinaire, V. Westwood is an eco pioneer on a mission to save the world.

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Published by: allure_ch on Apr 08, 2013
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More than a fashion designer extraordinaire, Vivienne Westwood is an eco pioneer on a mission to save the world

‘buy less & choose well’


ueen of punk, creator of some of the world’s most beautiful couture, grande dame of British eccentricity and, now, an eco-pioneer. Dame Vivienne Westwood is a lady of serious convictions, using her profile and her brand as a platform to spark debate over the issues she cares about. Here, she tells Marie Claire why climate change matters, what it means to live a ‘greener’ life, and how we can all make that happen.

What first made you aware of climate change? For many years, I’ve been upset about the fact that logging companies have been chopping down the Brazilian jungle and the rainforests of the world. Then, about four years ago, I read an interview with the British scientist, environmentalist and futurologist James Lovelock, whose Gaia theory is, in my opinion, as important as that of Darwin’s. James chose the name so that we would think of the earth as a person: Gaia, the earth mother. According to him, it’s going to get so hot within one or two generations that nearly all the earth will be uninhabitable for human beings. Consider a simple fact: I am a tree, and what do I give out? I give out oxygen, which humans need to breathe. And what do I feed on? I feed on CO2 (carbon dioxide). And through light, I make something solid – carbohydrates, which humans live on. So why are we, humans, so intent on destroying the thing that gives us life?

As a fashion designer, what changes would you make in your business? 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! What you’re saying is in conflict with the whole of the fashion industry, which exists to make us consume more and more. What I’m really saying is, buy less and choose well. I would like quality rather than quantity. I don’t believe growth is OK 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, especially if they take time to visit an art gallery while there. For every design I do, my people work to develop it for other lines. Although I hate all that stuff, to stay healthy, all companies must expand. Nearly everyone in fashion is on a train, producing too much stuff, but that’s the way business works. But you are a part of that fashion train. Don’t you have the power to stop it? 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. I’m lucky to be able to borrow lots of clothes from my own {continued}

Let’s leave on an up note: individuals can make a difference. while meat consumption has increased five-fold. We could fly less.5 million hectares in the Brazilian Amazon. Campaigns by Greenpeace and Cool Earth have helped tribes like the Deni Indians secure their territory – 3. your advice is to consume differently? Yes. According to the US National Cancer Institute. My motto is. seriously. The history of the human race is punctuated by our cleverness: we create one invention after the other.uk/fashion . Compiled by Katie Breen.org) with the Yves Rocher Foundation. There was a fantastic programme with the British Museum on BBC Radio 4 recently called A History of the World in 100 Objects. So. One of the first programmes in the series was about the stone hand axe. So. according to a ten-year study by the Max Planck Institute.000 plant species used in anti-cancer medication. Secondly. McDonald’s and Nestlé have all cancelled contracts with rainforestdestroying suppliers as a result of pressure from Greenpeace campaigns.co. the world’s forests are home to about 2. you do something that develops your world view. it would be about making sure we have a world that’s habitable for future generations. to fight global warming.uk/getalife to read blogs. I get a real sense of satisfaction at learning something. Paul McCartney has started a Meat Free Monday campaign and this could make an amazing difference. Germany. what can we do? I’d like to do a TV series called Get a Life! Firstly. one last word from you… Your time is precious.Rainforest Special collections. chopping wood. last February. For more icons of style. ‘You get out what you put in. Corporate giants including Unilever.’ s Visit activeresistance. Why preserving rainforests is essential One quarter of all Western medicines contain ingredients derived from rainforests. When I find something I adore. so don’t just sit around and suck things up. The human species is not just a little blip in the history of evolution. It was screened at the UN Headquarters in New York to launch the International Year of Forests. people should go to galleries. This means an area of forest the size of three football pitches is destroyed every minute to raise cattle and grow their feed. see marieclaire. I wear it over and over again. fight for something. Our planet’s vegetation absorbs 123 billion tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere every year. but I still wear clothes from ten years ago. what do you think he’d say? Lovelock hoped humans would evolve into something more wonderful. Forests Save Lives Rainforests play a major role in absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2). So. Culture gives you this incredible anchor to life as well as pleasure. Every time I look up a word in the dictionary. Those axes are 2 million years old. I’d ask: ‘How do we make the most of our lives right now?’ To get a life. use less petrol. More than 300 million people live in forest areas. Apparently one of the most efficient ways [to save energy] would be to change our diet. listen to music. If James Lovelock was in the room with us now. a beautiful free short film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand (goodplanet. So there were people like us 2 million years ago. Invest in things. Photograph by Getty Images/National Geographic Do hamburgers destroy trees? Global population has tripled in the past 60 years. go to the theatre… Every time you read a book. which people used for cutting meat.co. Download Of Forests and Men. digging or defending themselves against animals. keep up to date with Vivienne’s latest news and watch videos produced to inspire young people to invest in culture.

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