“..human beings have a choice. We can cultivate the human genius and build a great civilization on earth. Through art we see the future. It holds up a mirror of our human potential. Or, as victims of our mere cleverness we will remain the destructive animal. Our innovations can contribute to progress, but our humanity is a scientific fact, and must be taken into account for advance to happen, otherwise we have partial science which will kill us.”
The header quote is take from Vivienne Westwood’s ‘Active Resistance to Propaganda’ manifesto:
Like much of her work, you often have to muddle through to get her point, but once you do, it reveals a real depth of consideration and view of fashion as artistry – the every day artistry of the self – which is at the heart of what I am trying to do with Kecks.
This clip shows Viv on Wogan many years ago – she gets a response that we would be shocked at now…
…rude isn’t it? But then look at how the media receive avant-garde artists like Lady Gaga. It seems ok still to mock ideas we don’t understand. This includes approaches to consumerism – and in focus here – fashion.
I would suggest that fashion does not have to be mutually exclusive of frugal approaches to our worlds resources. Inspired by my own experiences, and Viv’s approach, i really believe we can keep a thriving fashion industry alive in the UK – all we ned to do is change our approach as the buying public.
Viv suggests we take in art and culture and the we are ‘dissatisfied’ with the mass-produced bilge we are fed every day as the all important, self expressive artistry of our clothes. We realise as teenagers that our apparel, music, emotions and sense of self are closely linked – and this is something we should never grow out of. By creatively recycling what you own, choosing well, buying les and keeping to your own style, you can save money and the planet while wearing what you feel comfortable in, and more importantly, what you like. Style has very little to do with wearing what everyone else is wearing – as the larger ‘straight off the catwalk’ stores ould have you believe. Its about remaining it in your own way. A well trained store assistant will never guide you mindlessly towards a trend, but towards what is good for your shape. besides, the supermarket version of Prada will never look Prada, so don’t try. Be your own Prada…or save the £10 you spend here and there on cheaper clothes and buy Prada one day if that’s what you long for! Dont be sold short people!
Personally I have NEVER had the ready funds to buy designer, or even close, but i have found vintage gems I use tailors to get the better fit, I swap with friends, I layer and improvise. I’m no Grazia fashionista, but by making a little effort with hair and make up and buying key pieces, my wardrobe remains an expression of me. I also know that i am not throwing my money away on what may end up in a skip – any purchases of folly go to charity / clothes banks / my up cycling box.
What is killing the planet is laziness – apathy of the mind. We are happy to comply, and it’s pretty tragic. By sourcing overseas, mass producing and ignoring our own textiles manufacturers and artisans, we comply to a wasteful, bland, cookie cutter sense of fashion. Viv shows us we can be so much more.
Here she is on a chat show, not only wearing a wonderfully imagined piece, but talking about topics usually ignored on light entertainment in a non tv friendly way. What a daring woman, even in her 70s…
I don’t think i can say it better than that. Even if you don’t like her clothes or find her hypocritical, i don’t think it can be argued that Viv isn’t using her status to spread an important message where others don’t bother: her punk sensibilities have never really faded, and she refuses to view the world though an assigned lens.
She doesn’t watch tv.
Her designers are asked to read books and not listen to music while working to avoid any trends.
Well, as a toast to my inspiration, here is a nice vid of one of her collections – easily translated into up cycled fashions of you own i reckon – so feast your eyes. She also uses great music (including Vangelis who I bloody love).
What a top lass.