8 Times Vivienne Westwood Used The Catwalk To Talk About More Than Clothes |

8 Times Vivienne Westwood Used The Catwalk To Talk About More Than Clothes

The iconic designer often showcased her political views on the runway.

From climate change to Brexit, Vivienne Westwood was well-known for her political statements, both on and off the runway. Indeed, the outspoken veteran designer often used her catwalk collections to make her views clear, whether that be on an eye-catching slogan T-shirt or a sign held up by a model walking the runway. Westwood, whose death at the age of 81 was announced on 29 December, quite literally turned her catwalk show into a protest march for her spring/summer 2016 Red Label collection, with models carrying placards declaring “Austerity is a crime” and “Fracking is a crime”. Environmental issues were a longtime focus for the designer, from the “Climate Revolution” banner unfurled at the end of her spring/summer 2013 show, to the climate change zombies that walked the catwalk for spring/summer 2014. She also backed controversial figures in the past, donning an “I am Julian Assange” T-shirt at the end of her autumn/winter 2013 show, before visiting the WikiLeaks founder at the Ecuadorian embassy, where he sought asylum in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden following sexual assault allegations. Before that, her autumn/winter 2006 collection referenced the jailed Native American activist Leonard Peltier. When it came to British politics, Westwood never shied away from making her voice heard. As far back as spring/summer 2006 she used her Paris Fashion Week show to criticize controversial anti-terrorism laws, and she made her views on the Scottish independence referendum clear by wearing a “Yes” badge for her spring/summer 2015 show. Meanwhile, her autumn/winter 2018 menswear film (showcasing a unisex collection) featured a model waving the EU flag, in an apparent statement against Brexit.  Here, Vogue looks back at the late designer’s landmark political statements over the years. 

This article originally appeared in Vogue.co.uk

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