For those of you that have not seen, Esther wrote a dedication post for Dame Vivienne Westwood after her passing over the Christmas holidays. Head over to our Instagram here to see this in full.
A note from Esther.
I couldn’t complete my first day back at work without saying thank you to one of the greats from my industry. Rest In Peace Dame Vivienne.
My personal fashion icon and a true inspiration in the fashion industry. Driving positive change and leading the way for sustainability, responsibility and accountability.
She was real, she spoke from the heart and her actions reflected her values. She was genuine, caring, a fighter for justice and always the eco warrior. She set trends and never followed and truly influenced the fashion industry for the better.
It was a privilege working for her. Not many people say that they got to work for their idol, but I did. I moved to her company when I was sick of how fashion companies were operating. I wanted to work for a company that reflected my values. She taught me what I needed to know, I learned from the best and I am proud to have worked for a company that made decisions based on planet and people first.
A true inspiration, thank you for all the opportunities.
Vivienne Westwood was one of the reasons Fanfare Label was started, I wanted to learn from a sustainable brand and create a company that made sustainable fashion more accessible. My journey started with her and with that I owe great thanks.
We can all learn a huge amount from the way she conducted her business, I have outlined just 5 below.
5 things I have learned from Vivienne Westwood related to sustainability:
Buy Less, Choose Well & Make it Last
A phrase she created and one that is used famously. This relates to our shopping habits and the way we consume fashion.
The term “Buy Less, Choose Well, Make it Last” was first coined by the iconic fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and has since come to represent a growing movement.
Considering what you buy and the story behind your purchase is just as important as the purchase itself.
Clothes should cost an awful lot more, and what Vivienne is saying here is we do not need the amount of clothes that we consume as a society. Actually, what we are better off doing is buying less but investing in quality, sustainability and ethics – which does come at a higher price tag. However, AS we are choosing to buy less, it allows for more budget and more cost per wear for that very special piece.
Choose well is re-examining our values, take the time to research our purchases and evaluate what we really need.
Make it last, care for your clothes, look after then and cherish them forever. We should never regard any fashion piece as disposable.
“Consumer demand can revolutionise the way fashion works as an industry. If everyone started to question the way we consume, we would see a radically different fashion paradigm.” —
Carry Somers and cofounder of Fashion Revolution
Fuel your creativity from things you love
Vivienne explained in an interview that she took all her ideas from history and culture. Her ideas came from the past, “learn from the people that went before you” and let culture fuel your creativity.
She is known for taking ideas from history and thinking about them in another way. By not following what others did and focusing on what inspired her she revolutionised fashion and she set the trends.
“Vivienne’s effect on other designers has been rather like a laxative,” English designer Jasper Conran once said. “Vivienne does, and others follow.”
Stay true to what you believe
Vivienne was a pioneer, she brought disruption from the heart of 70s into the 21st century. Her activism was part of her business and she was an advocate for human rights and climate change. Those values were at the heart of her business, and she has been talking about sustainability before anyone else.
She was motivated in changing the world for the better. “Make full use of your character and full use of your life on earth.” Dame Vivienne Westwood
Economy should mean sustainability
Vivienne used her business to spark conversations, generate awareness and educated through her collections. She used business to positively impact the world and business was part of her activism.
In a recent speech Vivienne explains that if economy doesn’t equal sustainability, we have no future. She organised protests, petitions and influenced the government. One petition called on the European commission “to adopt legislation to prohibit, prevent and pre-empt ecocide – the extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystems”. This was in an effort to make companies and individuals personally liable for environmental destruction.
Business’ have to start looking and at working towards the triple bottom line; profit, people and planet considered all in equal measure.
Business’ need to be responsible.
Help the next generation
Vivienne not only educated her customers, but she attracted people through her collections which then led us to learn from her. She informed via the brand and this will be her legacy.
Vivienne Plus Five map was part of many recent collections. It is a representation of the world at 5 degrees. “If you draw a line parallel to Paris, everything below that is uninhabitable. This means by the end of the century there will only be one billion people left”.
She travelled with Greenpeace to the Arctic to inspire young people to engage with the environment.
“I did feel I had to be like a knight to stop people doing terrible things to each other. And I think that that’s had something to do with my fashion as well. It’s always got to be that. You know you’ve got to cut a figure and be prepared for action and engagement with things.” Dame Vivienne Westwood
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