Vivienne Westwood talks gift giving and climate change

PUBLISHED: 11:09 04 December 2013 | UPDATED: 11:09 04 December 2013

Vivienne Westwood - Camille Wesser Photography

Vivienne Westwood - Camille Wesser Photography

Camille Wesser Photography

Can fashion help in the fight against climate change? Dame Vivienne Westwood thinks it can

At 72 Dame Vivienne Westwood shows little sign of mellowing with age. If anything, she is as courageous and iconoclastic as she ever was.



And now with news of an autobiography are we not just that teeny weeny bit more excited than ever? Yes it has just been revealed that she has sold the rights to her life story and that it will be co-written by Ian Kelly, a writer and actor who played Hermione’s father in film versions of the children’s bestseller Harry Potter.



However, we should perhaps not expect it to be a bog-standard memoir. Westwood recently told The Guardian: “The living deserve respect. The dead deserve the truth; Ian and I are working together on this and I am excited that this will be my story, the story nobody ever did before.”



Put it simply, there’s nothing straightforward about our most colourful Dame. She’s mother, designer, political campaigner and national treasure all rolled into one and while most women of her generation would be content to slow down the pace of their lives she is now leading the battle against climate change.



At the very least the tragic recent events in the Philippines have made most of us even more acutely aware global warming and so once again Dame Vivienne is totally on the zeitgeist.



Her latest political involvement is with the Climate Revolution movement and the result of this - in a fashion sense - has been a limited edition scarf (or knot wrap)that is being sold in Lush cosmetic stores for a mere £15 (those who know their fashion will realise that £15 for a Westwood scarf is an outrageous bargain).



So- Why did she choose to support this particular cause?

‘I always thought we had an environmental problem but I hadn’t realised how urgent it was’, she reveals.

‘The amount of time we have to stabilise the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is coming unacceptably fast. Climate change has given us a choice - to create a future better than the human race has ever known. ‘



Westwood’s designs are recognised as combining unconformity with a sense of tradition so suiting for both men and women gently parody establishment styles, while her use of heritage British fabrics such as Harris Tweed and tartan and corset and crinoline shapes have become her trademarks.

For the scarf - or knot wrap, she has turned to traditions further afield.



‘It is inspired by the Japanese art of “feroshiki”- it can be a stylish alternative to gift wrap, worn as a head scarf or framed as a piece of art,’ she explains.



‘ If used as gift wrap it can help reduce the 227,000 miles of Christmas paper that the UK throws away each year - and the recipient of this fabric gift-wrap can pass it on - wrapping another gift, using it again.’



And the design inspiration?

Climate Revolution is an uprising - that places optimism in a future that we can survive and thrive in. The unsmiling face is the face of war - because it’s important to give what is happening a name: warpaint, revolution. And the colour of the design - the dark blue colour - is a blue dye called woad - which was Boudicca’s colour when she fought the Romans.’



There are only a limited number of the scarves up for sale across the world, even so they should make a substantial amount for the cause she reveals.

‘The money raised will be used to fund sustainable solutions to environmental problems, giving momentum to the innovation that already exists in sustainable design and funding charitable organisations that raise awareness about the threat of climate change.’



Visit for more information or follow them on twitter at @climate_rev

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