Usually, the most noteworthy element of a fashion show is the reveal of a few new trends, even if the clothes are presented in an unusual or interesting setting, be it an 18th century French chateau or a high school gymnasium. But something powerful and poignant happened in the latter yesterday at Vivienne Westwood’s fall 2017 show during London Fashion Week Men’s (which was actually a coed showing).
Westwood’s show was inspired by her yearn for climate revolution, and her decision to show a unisex collection of men and women’s together (as opposed to separate runway shows) was a demonstration of using less resources to get the same result. The collection is basically a wardrobe of unisex pieces intended to be kept and worn for the long haul.
“She and he are having fun with Unisex and swapping clothes. ‘Buy less, choose well, make it last’ limits the exploitation of the planet’s natural resources,” according to a press release about the show.
“He and she have joined Intellectuals Unite (IOU) and are becoming ever more scared of Climate Change.” The description goes on to call for democratic rule (or “people power”) and a “responsible government responsible to people, not only responsible to banks and conglomerate monopolies.”And, in typical Westwood fashion, she didn’t hold back in showing consumers exactly what she means.
Some of the gender-bending pieces read “Ecotricity” and “IOU,” and there’s a colorful, vintage-tinged feel throughout the collection. Ecotricity is a British energy firm based in Gloucestershire, that specializes in green energy emissions. And IOU stands for Investor-Owned Utility, meaning a business that provides a utility product that is privately managed, not owned or used as a function by the government. Essentially, Westwood believes what’s good for the planet is good for the economy, and what’s bad for the planet, well, isn’t.
The designer is known for bridging the gap between fashion and politics, because she believes the two can work together for positive change. And she’s really good at it, too. As far back as the ’70s, Westwood stood up to dictators torturing people across the globe with a simple T-shirt. And for her fall 2015 show for her Vivienne Westwood Red Label, the message of voting green was emblazoned across the entire collection.
However, this concept of investing in and preserving one’s wardrobe for as long as possible would seem ironic given her son’s burning of his $7 million collection of punk memorabilia last year. (Westwood was a key player in the early days of punk fashion, and is famous for dressing the Sex Pistols.) Ahead, check out Westwood’s latest, eco-tinged, politically-charged take on punk.