Fashion Revolutionaries: Vivienne Westwood

I wanted to find out more about the infamous fashion revolutionary Vivienne Westwood, I was able to interview Félicie Pythoud, an intern designer at Vivienne Westwood. Félicie explains that she mainly modifies and copies pattern.

Concerning her thoughts about the current situation of the fashion system and if she experiences the negative impact of the system inside the company, she comments[1]:

“I think today more and more people are aware about how terrible the situation is but not that many are really trying to change something.”

She says that, as a young designer, you have to be “sustainability-oriented” to be trendy, but the main actors are not ready to look at this reality. Unfortunately, as soon as money comes into play, the rest loses its importance. Some people are also afraid, because going against the system could be dangerous for their image and their career. She thinks that it is a lost battle in a way. Westwood makes a point of being an eco-friendly company.

To the question how Vivienne Westwood treats the production process and supply chains, she answers:

“What I can say is that most of the Westwood products are made in Italy and in England. But certain details where specific manufacturing processes are required are produced abroad.”

When asked about what they are doing to improve the fashion system, and what is their main focus:

“the most important is the sustainability.” Most of the materials used in the office and production are recycled or reused. The VW packages are recycled. Furthermore, she points out that at the beginning of the Westwood, the pattern-cutters found easy patterns to place on the fabric in order to save material. That is the reason why one of the most famous Westwood piece is the “square t-shirt” simply made up of two fabric squares! “

When asked if Félicie feels empowered by the company to drive change in the fashion system, she replies:

“No, but I think Westwood has important influence on the fashion world but acts as if it wasn’t aware of it. Vivienne herself is very politically engaged, however it is more about climate change and protecting animals than changes in the fashion system.”

These changes are complex and require collaborative solutions to transform old ways of doing business. Even Vivienne Westwood who claims to be sustainable, seems not to be really committed to sustainability in the fashion system and its supply chain. The Guardian newspaper: “a more sustainable supply chain is needed, but will only emerge when the breakdown in trust between suppliers and buyers is resolved”.

Author: Ayrton Peron de Castro, Master in International and Sustainable Finance, class of 2015-16

[1] These are Felicie’s opinions and do not reflect those of the company she works for.

 

 

Fashion Revolution: Call to Action!

Since the Fashion Revolution Collaboratory on 7th October, we’ve been working away on different ideas. We’ve decided to kick-start the social media campaign next Friday 13th November. The aim of this is to:

  • Increase the number of followers of Fashion Revolution Suisse on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook in order to get more critical mass for the big campaign next spring.
  • To increase our self-awareness and that of others when it comes to our clothing choices
  • To have fun!

What you have to do:

  • Take a selfie or a photo of an item of clothing
  • Post it on Twitter, Instagram or FB and use the following tags:
  • #fashfriday, #fashrev, #whomademyclothes and @Fash_Rev_Suisse for Instagram and @fash_RevSuisse for Twitter and @fashionrevolutionsuisse for Facebook
  • Comment on your photo – is it second hand, vintage, borrowed, upcycled. If you wear it a lot – #30wears  or comment on what it’s made from e.g. organic cotton, fair trade, wool, alpaca etc.

Feel free to encourage your friends to join in and let’s see if we can get Fashion Revolution Suisse around the world!

Fashion Revolution

Facebook.com/FashionRevolutionSuisse
Instagram: Fash_Rev_Suisse
Twitter @Fash_RevSuisse

Prof. Marina CurranAuthor: Marina Martin Curran PhD,
Professor at BSL

Fashion Revolution Collaboratory – Student Perspective

On October 7th, I had the pleasure of attending a collaboratory organized by BSL and Fashion Revolution Suisse. The conversation was led by Alke Boessiger from UNI Global Union, Angela Paulillo from Kering and Corinne Schmidt for the Green Party. Local fashion designers, students and leaders from Fashion Revolution Suisse were also present, which made for an enriching evening of conversations.

Fashion Revolution Collaboratory

The session began by recalling the Rana Plaza incident in Bangladesh and the involvement of UNI Global Union in ensuring human rights and worker safety is respected. The Bangladesh Accord is a legally binding agreement signed by over 190 apparel companies around the world. Retailers commit to ensure safety in garment factories, proper work conditions and adequate salaries for workers. There are 1531 factories under the accord that need to be inspected and remediated. To date, 1288 factories have been inspected and the majority are still in progress with their remediation plan.
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