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February 22, 2013  | by: Rebecca Giampolo
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The queen of punk is, in fact, a hippie at heart. Vivienne Westwood was born and raised in the village of Tintwistle, which is located in the county of Derbyshire. “The world is run by psychopaths,” Westwood states. “That seed was planted by the hippies, and we [punks] took it up. Or I did.”

Unfortunately for Westwood, her acquired way of life did not continue down through generations. “Punk folded when the Sex Pistols folded and Sid Vicious died. I realized that the kids who were interested in it were interested because of the way it looked,” Westwood declared. Although ‘Johnny Rotten’ has earned his spot in the British hall of misdemeanor as ‘the token rebel,’ most self-declared punks went on to do other things.

More than just a style, the punks represented themselves in a way parallel to how they felt. Westwood was merely concerned with the politics, which was taught by hippies to her generation. As a result, the punks and the hippies came to many common understandings. In the eyes of the activists ‘the world was being corrupt and mismanaged, people suffering, wars, all these terrible things.’ Without these values and a certain interest in trying to understand the world, punks are unable to rebel against those who they perceive to be the cause of such global unhappiness. “I just think that the other people weren’t really political and never went on to become political in any way, but that’s always what motivated me and that’s why I haven’t really got any interest in punk now. But,” she adds, “it looks great.”

Westwood traded her hate for authority, rebellious ways, and demeaning thoughts for the chance to change the world. Part designer, part activist, she urges consumers to ‘buy less, choose well, make it last.’ As a guest speaker at last year’s Friends of the Earth annual conference in London, Westwood discussed her manifesto to help stop climate change by the 2016 Rio Olympics. Supporting the study of man-made climate change, the eco-conscious designer has begun the Climate Revolution – an operation to assert the connection between the climate crisis and the economic crisis.


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Referred to by Westwood as ‘the thing I did at the end of the Paralympics,’ she revealed a banner reading CLIMATE REVOLUTION at the closing ceremony, unexpectedly dressed as Queen Boudicca (the Celtic warrior queen who fought the Romans to protect England). Not only can the British designer ‘make a piece of straight fabric travel round a corner,’ but she also has the ability to perform attention-grabbing stunts.

The idea is to create a sound economy and in turn we will have a sound environment. Westwood’s campaign involves following simple steps for a climate revolution. She believes that once the masses are aware of the implication our economic system imposes on climate change, the revolution will continue to build.

Already supported by Lady Gaga, the quirky singer was photographed wearing Westwood’s Spring 2013 CLIMATE REVOLUTION T-shirt within hours of its runway debut. Westwood recognizes that she earned her credibility ‘from doing the fashion.’ She claims that as a propagandist, her integrity gives her a voice. “People will listen to you. That’s one reason I think it’s important to carry on.” And although punk is dead, punk’s eco-conscious queen lives on through her attempt to change the world.

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