Vivienne Westwood Is Stepping Up Her Sustainability Agenda For SS20
You never know what you're going to get at a Vivienne Westwood show. Last season the British designer – who effectively invented punk fashion with her late partner Malcolm McLaren – staged a climate protest in a church, a few seasons before she put on a carnival-style dance-off in a public leisure centre. This season? She’s not done a show at all.
For SS20, the original disruptor – who is as famous for her environmental agenda as she is for her freewheeling fashions – showed her collection in a private, appointment-only salon environment, with no models present and no mad bow to close.
The quietness of the presentation, however, did nothing to minimise the impressive effect of the clothes on show. In fact, without the distraction of dancers and protesters et al, the patchwork shirts, impeccably cut steampunk suits and beautifully made stack-heeled loafers were given an opportunity to shine.
There were a series of loose-cut two-pieces finished in what Westwood herself describes as a “drunken tartan” – an undulating, kaleidoscopic, imperfect check created specifically for Westwood by one weaver. There were also classic Westwood shirts created, each of which came finished with patchwork collars, sleeves and pockets.
It was really, however, Westwood’s reinvigorated dedication to sustainability that made this collection stand out. Trousers, hoodies and sweaters were cut from organic cotton and naturally sourced flax (meaning they were entirely biodegradable), while excellently abstract shirts were stitched in sustainable viscose, made from trees sourced from well-managed forests.
Perhaps most impressive, however, is the fact that for SS20 Westwood has cut the number of pieces in her menswear collection by 32 per cent since SS17 – because, in the Dame’s own words, “The future is quality, not quantity. Less is more sustainable.”