Vivienne Westwood has never hidden her social and environmental activist tendencies, and that freedom fighter side has been out in full force lately. The 70-year-old designer has been seen at multiple Occupy demonstrations in London, launched a £7m fundraising campaign with the debut of her spring 2012 Red Label collection and recently announced a £1m donation to a rain forest charity called Cool Earth, on top of several other smaller projects.
Her extreme viewpoints on human rights, the financial crisis and the environment ended up being the focus of a Guardian profile from this weekend. She's even reluctant to encourage people to buy her clothes.
On the inevitability of human extinction:
I will say something that sounds terrible. We're all going into the gas chamber, and what I'm saying is that it's not a bathroom. We're going to be killed. The human race faces mass extinction.
On the contradiction between selling expensive clothes while fighting to save the planet from the harm that consumerism is supposedly doing to it:
'My message is: choose well and buy less,' she said then – as if to suggest you should buy one Westwood dress rather than filling Primark trolleys regularly.
'I don't feel comfortable defending my clothes. For 15 years I hated fashion.' Why? 'It's not very intellectual, and I wanted to read, not make fashion. It was something I was good at; it wasn't all of me.'
While she finds it difficult to tell people to buy her designs (doing so would sound a little hypocritical), she insists that everyone should go enjoy art because doing so fights consumption and propaganda:
It's to do with consumption – if you go to an art gallery you're putting in, not just sucking up. Propaganda can be resisted by loving art.
So, if you, like us, can only afford to look at Westwood's designs and appreciate them as art, you're apparently doing it right!