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Putting your name to good use – Vivienne Westwood

July 23, 2009

When I heard that Vivienne Westwood was appearing on Jonathan Ross, I thought it was going to be your bog standard “my publicist wants me to do an interview to keep my profile alive” interview. It was completely polar to that, and an extremely refreshing interview. It did seem quite apt that her opening VT was accompanied by Dizzee Rascal’s -Bonkers though.

I’m not sure wether her dress of seven metres of fabric tied up with a belt that you wear with boxers was an attention attracting fashion statement, or something that she genuinely liked. 

She says that “it comes from a concept of do it yourself, take the table cloth even if it’s beautiful…put things together yourself. Don’t spend money, take what you can find, get your old things and keep on wearing them, don’t buy much fashion anymore, but if you do buy it, choose really well, wear it for a long time, til it drops off your back, it’ll get even more wonderful maybe”.

Vivienne Westwood Jonathan Ross

Surely she is doing herself out of business by proclaiming this? “Buy less, choose well. Don’t buy things for the sake of it because then everyone looks alike”

After informing Jonathan that she is not one to critique people’s sense of style that she see’s on the street, and that she isn’t one for reading Fashion magazines, she addresses her specific reason for asking to come onto the show.

Climate change.

The turning point for Vivienne was about a year ago when she read an interview with James Lovelock, who is 90 years old this year. He has been warning about this situation since the 70’s. He said that unless we stop it, reverse it, then by the end of the century their will only be one billion people left and by the middle of the century their is going to be 10 billion.

She was so shocked and so upset – “you can’t imagine the suffering because its unimaginable.”

What traumatizes Vivienne the most is that we can stop it, it doesn’t have to happen.

Jonathan probes her for a way to stop; obviously most people are aware of climate change, is the answer with the individual?

Vivienne Westwood Jonathan Ross 3

The reason she asked to come on the show is because it gets alot of viewers, she thinks that we can only be saved by public opinion.

“The scientists are giving us all the information, but it isn’t getting through to people.”

Westwood thinks it’s not getting through because politicians are treating it as one thing on a list of things to do. And actually it is the first problem and the last problem, everything in between, the financial crisis, etc are all sypmtoms of this problem. The human race; you can say it is a little blip on the story of evolution and we are not going to last forever.  But “the suffering is not acceptable, we can’t have that.”

Vivienne Westwood

She presents the facts;

The amount of greenhouse gas in the air: up until the industrial revolution, between 180 and 300 parts per million, and this was the case for 65’000 years. Since then it has been going up and it’s nearly 400 parts per million. And 400 parts per million, is this famous two degrees of heat that we keep hearing about. If it goes beyond that, you get this chain reaction which gets so fast and so powerful, one things affects another but then everything affects everything else, and it accelerates and accelerates. So you’ve got runaway global warming and you can’t stop it, and by the times it gets to three degrees, but even probably before that you say goodbye to the rainforest. And no money can buy the worth that that gives us.

“If you are going to reverse it, the speed at which you do it, is most important. What you do today is better than what you do tomorrow.”

“We need government policy and we need these issues really talked about.”

Vivienne on her adoration for Prince Charles:

“He’s not elected – but he’s doing more than any politcian I’ve ever heard of in my lifetime. He’s got a structure in place to save the rain forest.”

Vivienne Westwood Jonathan Ross 2

What she pleads more than anything is to log onto his website  He is trying to gather names. “That is one thing you can do, you’ve got to get involved.”

You can see it in her eyes, this woman is fervent about this cause.

” The human race. Are we going to survive? You should get passionate about that.”

Her personal connection to the world is of great importance to her, when she goes to a city for business or a fitting she makes sure she takes advantage of the culture; museums, galleries.

“You have to understand the world you live in. You need to go deep. If you don’t have depth then you don’t understand the world we live in. Our age, if we tackle global warming, could be so fun, we could start to do things. Get a life, instead of being a cipher in the consumer world, you get out what you put in.”

“My duty is to understand the world I live in. Understanding it; you help the world. It’s all you can do. What can I do. This gift of life.”


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