Dame Vivienne Westwood

Activist and Designer

About Speaker

Vivienne Westwood began designing in 1971 along with her then partner, Malcolm McLaren, when London was at the forefront of cultural trends. In 1984 she launched her own fashion line and in 2004 the V&A hosted a Vivienne Westwood retrospective exhibition to celebrate her 34 years in fashion – the largest exhibition ever devoted to a living British fashion designer. In 2006, her contribution to British Fashion was officially recognised when she was appointed Dame of the British Empire by her majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In 2012 Vivienne inaugurated the 'Climate Revolution' at the London Paralympics closing ceremony and continues to rally charities, NGO’s and individuals to join forces and to take action against disengaged political leaders and big business.

For a number of years, along with husband and design partner Andreas Kronthaler, Vivienne actively supports the charity, Cool Earth in their efforts to save the rainforest and stop climate change. Cool Earth works with local communities to halt rainforest destruction. This ground-up approach has been proven to be the most effective way to mitigate the effects of global carbon emissions on climate change. By putting local people first, Cool Earth can safeguard the future of the world's rainforests. Vivienne and Andreas have donated more than £1 million to Cool Earth. They’ve galvanised industry friends to join the cause and have dedicated two fashion shows to Cool Earth. In 2013, Vivienne and Andreas travelled with The Times to visit the Asháninka rainforest project that they have funded, and following a week spent living with a tribe in the Peruvian Amazon, Vivienne lobbied the Peruvian government on their Forestry Programme. Their zeal for rainforest protection is incomparable, they were made patrons of Cool Earth in 2015. Over the last 20 years Vivienne has also campaigned and fundraised for the Environmental Justice Foundation and Friends of the Earth- amongst hundreds of other grass roots charities and campaigners.

Vivienne is an ambassador for Greenpeace and in 2013 designed their official ‘Save the Artic’ logo and in 2015 launched a global campaign to stop drilling and industrial fishing in the area. Since 2011 Vivienne Westwood has worked with the United Nations, Environmental Protection Agency to re-establish the fragmented forests of Europe,and has also joined forces with the International Trade Centre- a joint body of the UN, to produce bags through their Ethical Fashion Initiative. The programme currently supports the work of thousands of women from marginalized African communities and empowers informal manufacturers and craftspeople to enter the international value chain - providing an income for some of the poorest people in the world. The collections are created using recycled materials from slums and land fill and the income helps to stop the need to continue deforestation in the area.