Vivienne Westwood at 80: The Designer on Saving the World

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Self-portrait by Vivienne Westwood

Today, as Dame Vivienne Westwood celebrates her 80th birthday – and her 50th year in fashion – we publish an article from AnOther Magazine Spring/Summer 2021, in which the designer speaks on saving our planet

This article is taken from the Spring/Summer 2021 issue of AnOther Magazine. To celebrate our 20th anniversary, we are making the issue free and available digitally for a limited time only to all our readers wherever you are in the world. Sign up here.

“The Big Picture – Save the World. We are heading for a world crash. Financial crash, climate crash. Time flies. We have about five years to fix it. My plan of operation to save the world: save the rainforest, save the ocean, stop war. The rainforest gives us a quarter of our breath. Be specific. Work with the people who live there – the Indigenous people and the farmers – to make sure they become the legal custodians of the forest. The ocean gives us a quarter of our breath. Be specific. Stop the subsidy for industrial fishing. Or no fish left. Now. Get the fish back. The fish get the oxygen into the ocean and it goes back up into the air. Stop war. Be specific. Stop arms production. War is the biggest polluter, the greatest killer. War production makes war. I am working with the NGOs – this has to be done. It will save us. Time flies. Be specific.”

By the time she showed her first collection on the catwalk in 1981, the work of Dame Vivienne Westwood had already had an impact few fashion designers could dream of. Alongside Malcolm McLaren, she was the key aesthetic architect of the punk movement; their shop at 430 King’s Road – still standing today – was a mecca for disenfranchised youth. Westwood’s clothes were continually revolutionary, and her stance, defined by a quote from Bertrand Russell – “orthodoxy is the grave of intelligence” – remains anarchic. Today, she fights for the environment and against corporate hegemony, her standpoints an extension of the original punk ethos. Continuing to work on her label alongside its creative director, her husband Andreas Kronthaler, she will mark her 80th birthday in 2021 and her 50th year in fashion.

This article originally featured in the Spring/Summer 2021 issue of AnOther Magazine which will be on sale from 8 April, 2021. Pre-order a copy here and sign up for free access to the issue here.